64-bit or 32-bit?

  Mekanos 12:48 18 Feb 2008


At first the only thing i thought this would influence was how much RAM windows would recognise. so if i was tog et 4GB of RAM, i should go for the 64-bit edition.

But i just read a post saying that having the 64-bit edition would cause problems when it comes to drivers for vista.

Can anyone elaborate for me please? and also advise on which one i should go for even if i want 4gb of RAM?


  Kemistri 14:30 18 Feb 2008

A lot of software only functions in a 32bit environment, even when updated for Vista, and a lot of drivers seems to be just the same from what I hear. It is one of the best reasons for sticking with XP, but of course, I know that you're getting a new PC, so you might not even have the option even if you wanted it. If it was me, I would play safe for compatibility and opt for the 32bit edition. With your choice of graphics cards in the other thread, you will want to be careful about compatibility with your favourite games as well - I'm not familiar with the situation in the games market.

  Totally-braindead 16:35 18 Feb 2008

The way it was explained to me with 64 bit drivers, and bear in mind every bit of hardware needs a driver. If you did choose 64 bit windows and there is no driver for a particular item then it won't work end of story, and to add to this if there is a 64 bit driver it must be certified by Microsoft for windows or it will refuse to install. Not sure exactly how this works but my understanding is if a driver has to be certified they must send it to Microsoft and let them test it and if they say its ok it gets certified, no idea if they charge the companies for this or not. If they do charge it might explain why some items do not have 64 bit drivers.

Apart from the RAM issue I see no real advantage as in order to make programs run faster/better the programs you use would have to be optimised for 64 bit, if they are not they will run in 32 bit mode and not be any faster.

I have no idea if there is any issue with normal 32 bit programs running under 64 bit windows, my understanding of it, and I might be wrong here, is that 32 bit programs work perfectly with it but at 32 bit speeds and again as far as I know windows does this automatically.

Don't take my word for this as I have never had a copy of 64 bit windows either XP or Vista and as such I have no real knowledge as to whether theres any real problems or not. If its only the drivers then if you buy a PC with 64 bit windows preinstalled then the drivers exist and will be already installed and the only real problem you should have is making sure there are drivers for any hardware you might already have such as your printer and scanner, router etc. This of course you checkout before buying it. And its worth noting that if you are upgrading to Vista 32 bit from XP its worth check that there are drivers for that anyway.

My understanding about the 4 gig RAM limit on 32 bit systems is that 4 gig is more than sufficient anyway and the advantages to be gained by going above this is small. Bit like going from 2 gig to 4 gig on XP, there will be a difference but it might be so slight you would not notice.

  Mekanos 16:55 18 Feb 2008

Thanks again guys.

I think i'll stick to 32-bit. Dont think the extra bit of RAM recognition is worth the risk.

  davidw1977 09:44 19 Feb 2008

32-bit Vista can use up to 3GB of phisical memory.

Now many software are not working perfectly on x64 version of Vista, so I also think sticking to 32-bit Vista is better currently.

  mantis1 16:41 25 Feb 2008

i have just installed vista 64 a couple of months ago and so far no problems with drivers.most of them are found by vista.the only driver which as failed upto now is for core temp cause like you say t/b its not certified by ms but you can still load the drivers by hitting f8 on start up and selecting (Disable Driver Signature Enforcement) and that allows you to load it in.like i say after 2 months that is the only issue i have had with v64 but most times there's a work around :]

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