32 or 64 bit replacement pc

Discussion in 'hardware' started by LenC, Jan 19, 2009.

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  1. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    My son is off at school and needs a replacement for an aging laptop. As we consider alternatives, it occurs to me - should we be thinking about a 64 bit machine? I don't know much about this topic - in fact, don't even know if there is any such thing as a 64 bit laptop. He does fairly standard things on the computer - microsoft office etc.

    Any insight or thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Len
     
  2. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    There are 64 "capable" laptops. Do not know of any off of the shelf that are pre-loaded with Win 64.

    To avoid any potential software conflicts and to insure the broadest compatibility I would stay with 32.
     
  3. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    Thanks ThunderZ -

    Laptop doesn't have to last forever (and probably won't knowing my son:cautious: ), but I wouldn't want it to be out of date in a year or so.

    That won't happn with the 32 bit machine, will it?

    Thanks,
    Len
     
  4. philby

    philby Registered Member

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    This might help sway it either way...

    Hope it helps

    philby
     
  5. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    Whoa! I was really mixed up on this issueo_O . I thought this was a hardware issue. According to your write-up, the 32/64 decision is an OS decision and not a hardware decision. So I can buy a computer and then decide whether to run a 32 or 64 bit version of windows - assuming computer has sufficient resources for the 64 bit version.

    Seems pretty clear to me, my son should go with 32 bit / he'd always have option to convert to 64 bit windows at a later date.

    Philby - can't thank you enough for your excellent article!
     
  6. philby

    philby Registered Member

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    I think you're right to go 32, for what it's worth, if your son isn't going to be designing rockets on the machine.

    Incidentally - I didn't write the piece, I just thought it would be useful and pointed you towards it.

    Thanks for your thanks though!

    Hope you make the right buy...

    philby
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  7. guest

    guest Guest

    A LOT of laptops are able to run a 64 bit os. But a lot are shipped with the 32 bit version windows.

    I assume that you want a laptop with windows.

    Most of the 32 bit programs will work on 64 bit windows. But the drivers aren't. The drivers need to be 64 bit and they also need to be signed in order to work with the 64bit vista.

    The kernel is impossible to patch (that's why a lot of security software don't work on 64bit, they need to patch the kernel).

    The 64 bit version of vista is more safe but won't run all the old things that you might have.

    But this is the os... You can have a 64 bit capable laptop with a 32 bit os and install a new operating system later..

    Alex
     
  8. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    Alex -

    Reassuring to hear your comments - because that is what I've done.

    Thank you.
     
  9. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    This article in PCMAG seems to contradict your quoted article - this article says you need a 64 bit processor to run any 64 bit software including an OS. I'm satisfied my recent purchase of a 32 bit machine was correct for now - given the computer's inteneded usage. But I am confused on this topic.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339745,00.asp?kc=PCRSS03129TX1K0000625
     
  10. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    You need a 64 bit processor to run a 64 OS which is needed to run 64 software.
    Actually only the processors are labled as 64 currently since other hardware is compatible. Software\drivers can be an issue.

    At least WinXP 64 (can not speak for 64 Vista) provided a 32 bit folder. Meaning many 32 bit programs could be run on XP 64 bit. Exceptions were programs that had to operate at the kernel level. Many security apps. for examole.

    As of the present time, 64 bit hardware (processors) are capable of running 32 bit OS`s which then of course makes them able to run 32 bit programs.

    Clear as mud? o_O
     
  11. midway40

    midway40 Registered Member

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    Vista has it but it is referred to as the "Programs(x86)" folder.
     
  12. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    Same as on 64 XP.
    Thanks for the clarification.
     
  13. midway40

    midway40 Registered Member

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    And thanks to you, too. I didn't know what XP64's was called either :D
     
  14. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    Thanks everyone. I think I understand - but don't ask me to explain it.:argh:
     
  15. midway40

    midway40 Registered Member

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    I read an interesting Softpedia article today about 32bit will be an option in the very near future. Also the page has a link to the Windows Server 2008 R2 (Win7 Server) beta if anyone is interested.

    I have been using Vista 64bit since last May and nowadays I don't even hardly think about it since very few software I have run across won't run in 64bit (even in 32bit emulation). I would love to put it on my laptop but it is only a 32bit machine.
     
  16. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    The only big advantage for the home user, is the ability to utilize more than 4 gigs of RAM. Will your sons computer have more than 4 gigs of RAM? If not...if he'll just be using it for traditional things like web surfing, e-mail, MS Office stuff, light gaming, and will have just 2 or 4 gigs of RAM in it...there's really no reason to go 64 bit.

    And with the 64 bit OS..comes the slight chance of difficulty in installing some peripherals....ensuring you get the 64 bit drivers, etc. Once in a while (although less and less these days)..you'll come across something that does not support a 64 bit OS. Some lesser grade home printers, or some cameras, etc.
     
  17. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    It is not that clear cut. The hardware MUST still support 64-bit. But, most hardware has been able to do that for years - so that is why it is less of an issue. As mentioned, the problem is, and always has been, getting the hardware makers to write stable 64-bit drivers for 64-bit operating systems to communicate with the hardware.

    No, it is not contradicting. You would have to look hard to find a 32-bit only CPU and PC Mag article says,
    And since 64-bit Windows can run 32-bit applications with no problems, the issue returns to 64-bit drivers to run any hardware you may attach to the motherboard - not normally a big deal with notebooks - and generally, if you stick with popular brands and models, 64-bit drivers for PC hardware is not hard to find.

    So getting the computer (PC or notebook) with 64-bit Windows up and running is generally no problem. So then the question is what is the advantage? As mentioned, you can use more RAM - great for PCs, not so great for notebooks where heat removal is already a challenge. RAM itself generates more heat, as will the power supply and motherboard regulator circuits as they work harder to meet the demands to power the additional RAM. So tons of RAM in a notebook is not always a good thing.

    The other advantage is you can run the 64-bit versions of your favorites programs. And there's the catch. Since all 32-bit software runs fine on 64-bit hardware, and since it takes almost twice the resources and expense to create and market two versions of the same program, most software today is still 32-bit. There is little incentive for the developers to make both versions.

    Still, much of the horsepower consumed during normal use is done so by the OS. A 64-bit OS performs OS functions faster than a 32-bit OS. So some tasks are noticeably, a little faster. But in most cases there is no noticeable performance advantage with 64-bit for tasks like creating documents, PowerPoint presentations, researching on the Internet, email, or watching the occasional DVD.

    The gaming world will be the big driving force to 64-bit and if building a gaming rig expected to last a few years, 64-bit is how I would go. But, your son is off to school - gaming is not what this notebook is for (well, NO notebook is suitable for gaming - contrary to some maker's claims - their confined, closed in case makes adequate cooling impossible for serious gaming). 32-bit is the wise choice.

    Side note - I try to use "notebook" instead of "laptop" since you should never operate the notebook on your lap. It must be on a hard, flat surface so cooling air can flow underneath and into the vents. Notebooks, being so small by design (they ARE for the road warriors - and are NOT really desktop replacements) are not designed to be up an running for long hours at a time - heat, the bane of all electronics builds up, and just cannot escape fast enough to keep the insides "cool". Long exposure to very warm (the upper ends of "normal") conditions ages electronics faster than when cool. I recommend a Notebook Cooling Pad w/ext. power supply. I prefer those with external supplies because otherwise, they draw power from the USB port. While not much power, when you are trying to cool a hard working notebook, forcing the battery and regulator circuits to supply more power for the pad creates even more heat to be removed.
     
  18. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Save for solid biz grade laptops like IBM Thinkpads, or Panasonic Toughbooks.

    None of my fleet of Thinkpads has cooling vents or any air gaps on the bottom, all are on sides.

    Them 'n Toughbooks are designed for all day all week usage. Ever see those laptops in police cruisers? Running 24x7x365! :thumb: I have a bunch of Thinkpads running as linux firewalls 24x7x365 for years too. They make great computers for firewalls..small, built in keyboard 'n mouse, and a built in battery backup.

     
  19. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Yeah, that's true about some running 24/7 - I spoke too soon. There are notebooks designed for such use - but not for 24/7 gaming.

    As for no vents on the bottom, that's true too, but better cooling is still achieved when air can circulate all around.
     
  20. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Yeah I can't see where people enjoy gaming laptops...those huge desktop replacements are...huge. Portable is a mis-nomer in those situations too..7-9 pounds...yikes. And you often read of people having issues with gaming on them...once she's working hard...CTDs or blue screens or system lockups.

    14.1" is my sweet spot. Still small enough, usually approx 5 pounds, yet the resolution isn't too small (such as with 12" models).
     
  21. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    lol, well we used to call them "luggables", rather than portables, but that's when they were the size and weight of a loaded up suitcase.
     
  22. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    LOL...like those Toshiba Qosmios?
    Gotta put drag wheels on those like some suitcases.
     
  23. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    More along the lines of the Osborne at 24+ lbs or Toshiba T3100 at 15 lbs. ;)
     
  24. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Hey I remember those days! :D
    Loading programs from tape drives....even punch cards. :blink:

    Oh yeah!
     
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