Win 64-bit vs. 32-bit Questions

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by The Shadow, Feb 23, 2012.

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  1. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    I'm about to buy an HP Folio 13 ultrabook which comes with an i5, 4GB RAM (can't add more!), a 128GB SSD and 64-bit Windows 7. My questions are...

    On this platform does 64-bit Windows really serve any significant advantage over 32-bit? If so, what are they?

    If I want to use 32-bit instead of 64-bit would I have to pay for another Windows license?

    Thanks
     
  2. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Improved security: patchguard, better RNG (ASLR)
    Improved performance: Both the OS and applications
     
  3. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Hi HM,

    Thanks for the reply, but how much value is that improved security when running an AV, strong firewall and Shadow Defender? Also, what is RNG (ASLR)? Finally, where does the improved performance come from with only 4GB RAM?
     
  4. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    The RNG is the random number generator. It effects security because a lot of encryption is based on how "random" the numbers are. 64bit's RNG is way better. This also means that the ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) is much stronger. 32bit ASLR is not strong enough to be effective - 64bit ASLR is very strong.

    Multiple areas. Being able to address large amounts of data, such as RAM and Disk, means fewer CPU cycles for actions that need to deal with that data.

    64bit archetecture has double the registers of 32bit. Registers are fast - they're right on the CPU and they store the most important information (instruction sets for example.) 64bit CPUs also have a stack register, which plays into memory management, and can increase performance.

    Certain things you do in code are just plain faster with 64bit as well.
     
  5. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Man you are providing a wealth of information - I'm learning a lot here!

    With Windows 8 looking pretty awesome, will there come a time when MS will provide free Win 8 upgades to buyers of Win 7 PCs? Just wondering if I should hold off a few months before pulling the trigger. :doubt:
     
  6. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Unlikely. There are almost always deals available either through your office or school. I know my college was selling it for 20 bucks and at one point students could get it for free from MSDN.
     
  7. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    When MS was getting ready to release Windows 7 there were a few months where machines preloaded with Vista came with a free upgrade to Windows 7 (through the vendor not MS directly). I haven't heard any talk about this (yet), but I would expect it to happen with Windows 8 as well.

    Regarding 64 bit on a system with 4 gigs, all of that ram should be available to applications unlike 32 bit Windows where the address space is limited. That is anywhere from 500mg-750mg. Unfortunately when the OS comes preloaded you don't get media with both 32bit and 64bit versions. It would not be easy to switch to 32 bit and you would need another license unless HP is willing to help (which I doubt).
     
  8. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    Honestly with 4GB of RAM you can go either way. No, you won't be able to use all of the 4GB but you will likely get 3.5. However the 64 bit code takes up more disk and RAM space so it pretty much evens out. If you have any legacy devices such as printers and scanners that do not have 64 bit drivers 32 bit is better than buying new hardware. Where as the 64 bit OS has better built in security, some say that because of the lack of patchgaurd most security software works better on the 32 bit system. So ultimately you need to research the hardware and software you intend to use and see if it is all 64 bit compatible. If it is go for it. If not 32 bit will be fine. Over 4GB of RAM and 64 bit is really the only option. Though you could run 32 bit and use the rest over 4GB for a ramdisk.
     
  9. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

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    While it's true that all of the 4GB of RAM would not be available under 32b Windows, don't lose sight of the fact that the Folio and most Intel-based ultrabooks use the Sandy Bridge's HD3000 integrated graphics and since the HD3000 has no dedicated memory it needs to share some of the main memory! Also 64b Windows has more memory-overhead than does 32b Windows. So considering those factors, with just 4GB RAM the memory available to apps might even be greater unders 32b Windows!

    So I guess I'm in the minority here, as I believe ultrabooks that are maxed-out at 4GB RAM may be best served by 32b Windows. Furthermore, if the Folio is ordered direct from HP it's possible they will substitute 32b Windows at no additional charge (I know that Dell often provides that option).

    Scott
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  10. EncryptedBytes

    EncryptedBytes Registered Member

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    In terms of Windows 8, I would advise on holding off the upgrade right out of the box. The main target of 8 is smartphones and tablets; the desktop is squeezed in there to get more money. I know some aspects of public/private sectors that can make good use of it, though it remains undetermined if it will catch on for desktop users both in academia and the workplace. The biggest factor is manya businesses just finished spending millions moving from XP to 7 and unless there is major motivation I don't see a mass migration to 8. I don’t want you to be stuck with another potential Vista (dead in the water after a year or so).

    Lack of corporate embracement means less focus on development for the O.S
     
  11. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Good point. Unlike Vista Windows 7 has no significant problems (real or perceived) and based on what I've read Windows 8 offers the desktop very little. In fact the Metro screen seems really wrong to me on the desktop. I expect many of us will test drive the public beta and have more to say about it in the near future. At this point a good option might be to wait until the free upgrade to 8 is offered on new systems preloaded with 7. That way you receive 8 at no extra cost and can load it or not after there's been some time to evaluate it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  12. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    This is my impression also, after using the developer preview for a while... It remains to be seen whether 8 is accepted or not, but it seems totally out of the place on the desktop to me. I think they should have left the desktop alone, and just developed a separate tablet or other OS for those purposes. But again, time will tell if it's a mistake or not.
     
  13. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    It is reported that the "Public Preview" next week has been somewhat changed from the "Developer Preview" release last year. From what I have seen so far it looks like it will bring enhancements that will justify the upgrade. I am holding off judgement until next week on 8. We'll see what that looks like then. If after that I find it sucks, then I will have unkind words for it. Until then all of the "Oh no, they took away the start button and changed the logo! It will only run on tablets and phones! :eek: " quotes are nothing worth getting worked up about.
     
  14. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    ShadowDefender,

    I couldn't agree more with Scott's comments (quoted above), but insofar as the HP Folio 13, those are moot points as the Folio is not available with 32-bit Windows (I already checked). That impacts my situation as my printer doesn't have a 64-bit driver!

    Cruise
     
  15. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    32bit = ~3.6GB of RAM. That's 400MB you're missing. I don't think that 64bit Windows takes up a whole 400MB more but I could be wrong.

    Either way, there are other performance aspects besides RAM.
     
  16. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Sometimes the vendors offer a workaround where you can use a different printer driver to gain basic functionality on the 64 bit OS.
     
  17. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    Still those those memory addresses are allocated to hardware like video RAM and disk caches and such. It is just not available to software. 64 bit will do that same but reports the entire amount useable though it still allocates the RAM to hardware, plus the 64 bit drivers use more memory as they are larger. In the end there is no measurable difference between 32 and 64 bit where performance is concerned at 4GB. Beyond 4GB 64 bit is the only real choice. And honestly at 2GB, 32 bit runs faster, at least for me. 64 bit native application can run faster than 32 bit, but most of the time you will be running 32 bit code on a 64 bit OS, which is actually slower in some cases. Performance differences in most cases will be +/- about 3%. Compatibility is the most important factor when dealing with 4GB.
     
  18. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

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    Which is how I understand it to be.
    I would take an inventory of your app.s, noting that running some 32 bit applications on a 64 bit OS could actually be slower.
     
  19. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    One important exception is desktop machines with discrete video adapters. They of course come with their own ram and as much as 1gig is common these days. The 64 bit OS can assign address space above the 4gig ceiling so there is no reduction in ram available to applications while the 32bit OS cannot.
     
  20. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    There is a performance hit when running 32bit code on a 64bit Windows OS because it emulates the 32bit layer. It's a very small hit.

    Optimized code running natively 64bit can be significantly faster. Not much code is actually optimized for instruction sets etc but if it were it could be significantly faster. Even without instruction sets you can optimize very well for 64bit.

    In terms of comparing memory performance with "oh MB to driver here, a MB for blah blah there" I agree that there are no differences.

    EDIT: I have a dedicated card so I hadn't thought of memory dedicated to the IGP. The kernel would of course be in RAM regardless.

    In terms of comparing performance with a 32bit application running on 64bit and a 32bit applicatoin running on 32bit the differences are so small they're nearly negligible.

    In terms of comparing 32bit applications and then 64bit applications, the 64bit applications have the potential to run considerably faster. Keeping in mind that the OS is 64bit, you could see performance benefits simply because of that.

    And, again, this doesn't take into account the security aspects of patchguard and ASLR.

    If I were on a system with 1GB of RAM (mayyyyybe 2GB) of RAM I would consider 32bit. Otherwise I'd rather support the better technology and I'd like to see the benefits of it in my OS.
     
  21. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    True but to this day I only have a small handful of apps that are 64 bit native applications. And when you try to complain that you would like 64 bit addons for MS Office or a 64 bit browser the response you get is "even Microsoft recommends you run 32 bit Office and the 32 bit browser is the default for a reason" blah blah blah. I have been wanting to run a 64 bit browser for years but only just now are we having anyone begin to step up and support them. And support is still lacking. Unfortunately we will not realize the full potential of 64 bit for some time to come. :(
     
  22. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Maybe. Every major browser plugin (Flash, Java, Silverlight) has a 64bit counterpart. Firefox, Opera, and IE have 64bit versions (IE10 on 64bit will default to 64bit iirc.)

    Isn't 64bit now the dominant OS or at least close to it? I can't remember - haven't seen any stats for that in a long time.

    The problem right now is backwards compatibility. Everything needs to support XP and all of the recent 64bit OS's. As fewer and fewer people use XP and more people move to 64bit we'll see more support.

    As it stands I know only a few applicatiosn that actually make the full use of 64bit (making use of the registers with SSE's etc) but most 64bit applications at least have some benefits.
     
  23. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    It pretty much stops there though. Password managers, toolbars, AV plugins, etc. are all still pretty much 32 bit only. :(
     
  24. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Yeah, it's just a matter of developers jumping on board but they go where the market is. And people go where the developers are, which leads to everyone just sitting and waiting for the other to start.

    Manufacturers are at least packaging 64bit by default now though.
     
  25. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Well I've gotten quite an education here! - so I'm going to rethink an ultrabook purchase for the following reasons:

    1. Based on what I've seen so far, most ultrabooks come preloaded with 64-bit Windows 7 and 4GB RAM (typically not expandable).
    2. Downgrading Windows to 32-bit adds more expense to the purchase and it's probably a better idea to go with 64-bit Windows if only because that's the direction things are heading.
    3. Instead of an ultrabook I'm going to start looking at relatively light-weight netbook/notebook offerings (with 64-bit Windows) that can be had with 8GB RAM (which should be ample for my needs). :doubt:
    Hopefully, that make sense - and if so, laptop suggestions are welcome...
     
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