64bit OS


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#1 Azrael Strife

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 02:16 AM

I'm planning on changing to Windows7 soon, question is whether or not I should finally get a 64bit edition. My concern is that I'm completely clueless as to the negative effects it could have  ;) AFAIK all that it would require special attention would be just 64bit-version drivers for my hardware, but aside from that, am I facing compatibility issues with "regular" software?
Do you consider worth the trouble using 64bit windows?
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#2 Kret

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 09:07 AM

I you haven't, you might want to check the wikipedia on the matter at hand. Can't help you any further tho as I have no experience with 64 bit OSes
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#3 Slaughter

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 09:38 AM

I have two systems that I use now.

Notebook: Dell XPS 1330 (triple boot)
- Windows XP (32 bit)
- Windows 7 (64 bit)
- Ubuntu (64 bit)

Media Centre: Dell Studio Slim (triple boot)
- Windows Vista (32 bit)
- Windows 7 (64 bit, installing now)
- Mythbuntu (64 bit, will be installed later)

I have only tested the 64 bit version a little on the notebook so far, but had no problems. It ran VERY fast (as you can see from the topic I started on it), and I had no problem with standard applications (AVG antivirus, Opera etc.). That being said, I've only tested it a little so far, so a little early to make final judgement. I believe however that since 64bit has been around for so long now, most applications and games are compatible. Some older ones however, may not take well with the 64bit architecture, and it's therefore smart to have a dual boot or virtual drive with a 32bit alternative (Windows Virtual PC is a free alternative that works well enough) in my opinion.

I can report back after testing it a little further if you wish.


#4 Matri

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:09 PM

This is just my own personal opinion, but waiting until next year should minimize your potential headaches. Unfortunately, your old games will still choke regardless.
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#5 Azrael Strife

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:59 PM

Kret: Yeah, I did too, been trying to hunt for information on various sites :) from what I gathered the drivers *must* be 64bit, that's reasonable, but I wasn't aware that I could have problems with older software like games, hmm... I don't really play old games anymore like I used to, but I like to have the chance when I want to, maybe dual booting like Slaughter suggested.
Slaughter, could you test if, say, Master of Orion 2 (quite an old game), runs in 64bit Windows, please? if you have it around and have the time ;)
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#6 FullAuto

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 09:57 PM

Can't you run a silly amount of RAM on a 64-bit OS?

Watch out for the puddle of drool, everyone.

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#7 Azrael Strife

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:16 PM

View PostFullAuto, on 2nd August 2009, 10:57pm, said:

Can't you run a silly amount of RAM on a 64-bit OS?

Watch out for the puddle of drool, everyone.
Yup, in a 32-bit system you are limited to 2^32 bytes = 4GB of RAM, of which a 32-bit Windows can effectively recognise about 3GB RAM. In a 64-bit system the RAM ceiling goes up to 2^64 = 8 exibytes of RAM (1 exibyte is 1 million GB). Of course that is only a theoretical ceiling, you are still limited to motherboard RAM support, which nowadays goes up to 24 GB, iirc ;)
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#8 Slaughter

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 08:31 PM

View PostAzrael Strife, on 3rd August 2009, 10:16pm, said:

Yup, in a 32-bit system you are limited to 2^32 bytes = 4GB of RAM, of which a 32-bit Windows can effectively recognise about 3GB RAM. In a 64-bit system the RAM ceiling goes up to 2^64 = 8 exibytes of RAM (1 exibyte is 1 million GB). Of course that is only a theoretical ceiling, you are still limited to motherboard RAM support, which nowadays goes up to 24 GB, iirc :)
Are you familiar with Workstations? They are basically servers made for desktop use (cad, 3d rendering etc.), and they're not as uncommon as you'd believe. Typically Volvo would have them for their car designers, Statoil would use them for geo survey etc. I had support for one with 64GB RAM once, and trust me when I say it's no fun to troubleshoot "memory errors" over the phone for such a system ;)

As for how it works, they use so called memory risers. These are boards with lots of RAM modules on that are placed into the original memory slots, and then covered in a cooling unit (so much RAM produces quite a bit of heat).

Regarding old games and 64bit,  I had a quick try yesterday. It didn't work, but I'm not completely sure if it was 64bit or Windows 7 that was the problem. I'll try more games and  let you know.


#9 Azrael Strife

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 09:51 PM

View PostSlaughter, on 3rd August 2009, 8:31pm, said:

Are you familiar with Workstations? They are basically servers made for desktop use (cad, 3d rendering etc.), and they're not as uncommon as you'd believe. Typically Volvo would have them for their car designers, Statoil would use them for geo survey etc. I had support for one with 64GB RAM once, and trust me when I say it's no fun to troubleshoot "memory errors" over the phone for such a system :)

As for how it works, they use so called memory risers. These are boards with lots of RAM modules on that are placed into the original memory slots, and then covered in a cooling unit (so much RAM produces quite a bit of heat).

Regarding old games and 64bit,  I had a quick try yesterday. It didn't work, but I'm not completely sure if it was 64bit or Windows 7 that was the problem. I'll try more games and  let you know.
Yup, but I was referring to RAM ceiling in "regular" desktop computers rather than workstations :)

Much appreciated mate ;) I'm completely convinced about going W7 64 bits anyway, so I'll be able to do some of my own testing later :)
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#10 Kret

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:21 PM

Just learned something today about XP 32 bit, it does address up to 4GB of memory BUT, this is divided between all components with memory, resulting in less address space being used for actual RAM as we know it and hence the range of reported memory by windows for those that have +3 GB varies from 3 to 3.5 GB depeding on how much memory the video cards and other components have.

By the way, do you know which edition you're going for yet?

EDIT: Seems that this addresing space issue is not exclusive to the OS in question but the motherboard itself too plays a great part. Well, at least I know where those 768 MB went.

NOTE ON EDIT: Did not consider it worthy enough to add a reply as it isn't on topic.
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#11 Azrael Strife

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 10:49 PM

Ultimate, most likely, I like to try all the toys ;)
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#12 Matri

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 12:17 AM

View PostSlaughter, on 4th August 2009, 4:31am, said:

Regarding old games and 64bit,  I had a quick try yesterday. It didn't work, but I'm not completely sure if it was 64bit or Windows 7 that was the problem. I'll try more games and  let you know.
Probably a combination of both. DOSBox is a good example of emulation, someone (i.e. not me) might come up with a 32-bit emulator for 64-bit OSes. ;)
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#13 Slaughter

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 08:39 AM

Couldn't make my TV card work with the 64bit version of Windows 7, so switched back to 32bit for the media center. Still run 64bit on my notebook though.


#14 Matri

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 05:34 AM

It all comes down to Vista Drivers! ;)
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#15 Pete

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 09:41 AM

I installed Windows7 Pro 32-bit. The largest files I work with are severl-hundred-MB Photoshop files but the rest of the time I handle small files in Dreamweaver and play games.

Should I consider 64-bit?

The beauty of Widows7 is that you buy your Windows version and they give you both 32-bit and 64-bit DVD's. From memory, that's far more generous than MS have been before ;)
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#16 Knan

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 04:52 PM

View PostAzrael Strife, on 2nd August 2009, 5:59pm, said:

Slaughter, could you test if, say, Master of Orion 2 (quite an old game), runs in 64bit Windows, please? if you have it around and have the time ;)

Orion 2? Use dosbox. Works fine on Linux. :)


View PostPete, on 8th November 2009, 10:41am, said:

Should I consider 64-bit?

As soon as you get, say, 3 GB or more RAM you should consider 64-bit seriously. With 2GB I'd stay 32-bit (and have) for games.

#17 Pete

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 06:22 PM

I sopent all day reinstalling and using 64-bit this time.

X-COM (bought from Steam and running on the DOSBOX it was packaged with) works fine in Win7 32 and 64 bit versions, so I'm happy.

There are more and more apps with 64-bit versions nowadays, so iTunes, SmartFTP and Photoshop should make use of it. The one that really surprised me during install was Firefox. It literally took 2 seconds to install in n64-bit windows whereas it usually takes 5-10 to unpack the files etc. If this is a sign of things to come with 64-bit then I'm happy I wasted a day undoing all the work I did setting up in 32 bit and switching to 64 :)

It really is tedious, but I have a nice bit of software called Acronis so that when I get the basics installed I can make an image of my drive in it's current state for when I want to do a fresh install without all the tedious bits in future ;)
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#18 Space Voyager

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 08:21 AM

There is a nice thread at TWC about increasing FPS and, if you read second post, 2GB RAM workaround 32bit.

EDIT; there is another FPS booster posted down the thread that you install and don't need to run every time. It works exactly the same as the one posted in first post otherwise. I have it and I THINK it does help. Didn't measure FPS before and after though.

#19 Thorondor

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 11:47 AM

The thing with M$'s "generosity" is, when they throw in an extra version for "free", you're bound to infer just how much of a profit that means they're actually making off the sale in the first place... ;)

On a more practical note, just a minor word of caution, Pete: though most everything will run just fine on 64-bit (from my Vista experience) I've had bits of software refuse to run on it once or twice (even resorting to compatibility modes, Admin privileges, etc).

One such time, though, this nuisance happened with software that was required to interface with an external hard drive, effectively rendering it useless as far as my newly acquired 64-bit OS machine was concerned.

I had bought the drive only a few months prior, and it works without a hitch on my older XP Pro PC.

::

Comments from the well-known drive manufacturer? "Sorry, software use as is, no 'official' 64-bit support..."

#20 Pete

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 06:37 PM

I think MS have been better with drivers this time around - there was no Windows 7 driver for my fancy 300+ colour printer (for business stuff before you ask) and I was anout to get peed off when I read on HP's website something along the lines of "we've not yet released a driver/program suite compatible with Windows 7 yet for this printer, so just use the drivers MS have made on the Windows 7 disc".

Worked like a charm - I literally justentered the IP address in the wizard (it's a network printer) and it found it. Since it's not exactly a mainstream printer and it's a few years old now I was very impressed.

I did rad an article a while ago about them taking pains to get more and more drivers ready for Windows 7 so that it just works.

Not to sound too enthusiastic, but I did love the 3 step install process for Win7 as well - enter your license key, chooose your country and it gets your locale and keyboard settings right first time, then wait a while and enter your network key (it automatically found my wireless router) and then it activated itself and did the rest for me, including finding drivers for everything.

I know it's early days, but I think they may have just got it right this time.
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