New PC: XP or Vista 64-bit?

  guarro 13:56 29 Oct 2008

Hi again,

I am about to buy a new PC, but am confused about which operating system to go for.

The main spec of my new machine is probably going to be as follows:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
Motherboard: Asus P5QL
RAM: 4GB Corsair Dominator

I have read that nothing but the 64-bit Vista will run properly with the 4GB of RAM (e.g: "Installing 4GB onto PCs with 32-bit operating systems is not advised since 32-bit operating systems do not support 4GB of system memory" - DinoPC website).

However I have also read that the 64-bit Vista is incompatible with a great deal of software and hardware.

How many 'bits' is XP? Could I successfully run XP (or even 32-bit Vista) with the above spec, or do I really need the 64-bit Vista?

If the latter, what compatibility problems am I likely to experience?

Many thanks in advance for your advice.


  Pine Man 14:46 29 Oct 2008

XP comes as 32bit or 64bit the same as Vista.

You can run either 32bit o/s with 4GB of RAM but that is the maximum and it has to include system RAM and Graphics RAM so the most you are likely to use is about 3GB.

Vista 64bit is VERY particular about the software it runs but it can handle in excess of 4GB RAM.

  guarro 14:56 29 Oct 2008

Thanks Pine Man.

So should I infer from what you're saying that I would do best to get the 64bit XP?

  Pine Man 15:07 29 Oct 2008

If you think you need more RAM than 32bit systems can handle then XP is probably the safest bet.Vista 64bit has, historically, had problems with some software.

  guarro 15:10 29 Oct 2008

Ah, I've just done soem quick research on the 64-bit XP and see that it is notorious for the same sort of compatibility issues as the 64-bit Vista.

Am I right to think that I just shouldn't bother with any 64-bit OS?

Should I therefore just get 2GB RAM and a 32-bit OS? Or does it make sense to get the 4GB RAM with a 32-bit OS if, as you say, I'm going to get some but not all of the benefit of the extra 2GB?

Still a bit confused! Thanks!

  Pine Man 15:22 29 Oct 2008

It is very confusing, I agree.

Some set ups require matching pairs of RAM and I suspect yours, like mine, does.

I have Vista 32bit and when I first had the PC I wanted to speed it up a bit and as I already had 2GB the obvious solution seemed to me to put an additional 2GB of matching RAM in it. My PC now goes a lot faster but only utilises 3GB of the available RAM.

Vista needs more RAM than XP so XP would be ok with 2GB. If you decide on Vista I would aim to get 3GB in your PC as a minimum but check first of all how it would need to be configured (matched pairs etc)

  Kevscar1 15:23 31 Oct 2008

Iv'e got 64bit Vista. The only problems are no driver for my scanner but it was 10yrs old and one of the 3 Splinter Cell games won't run. I am using Office 2003 and PSP 7 without any problems and many old games

  RobCharles1981 18:20 31 Oct 2008

I tried out vista home premium 64it for a month - outcome I hated it to much "bling" so If I wanted to use more ram now that I got XP x64 edition.

  Kevscar1 21:45 31 Oct 2008

If you don't like the bling you turn it off.
Got mine running in classic views. Looks just like XP

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