New MacBook Air - Windows 7 - 32-bit or 64-bit?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by KPOM, Oct 25, 2010.


Which version of Windows 7 Pro should I install?

Poll closed Oct 30, 2010.
  1. 32-bit

    9 vote(s)
  2. 64-bit

    28 vote(s)
  1. macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'm getting a 2.13GHz MacBook Air with 4GB and the 256GB SSD. I plan to run Windows 7 in Boot Camp (because I occasionally need Windows XP Mode) and also in Parallels 6.0 (which I plan to allocate 2GB to). When I use Parallels it's mainly to access Quicken for Windows.

    I'm debating whether to reinstall Win7 32-bit (which I have on my current 1.86GHz MacBook Air) or to step up to 64-bit. If it were just Boot Camp, I'd go with 64-bit for sure to get all 4GB available, but I'm not sure how well it would run in 2GB (Win7 32 bit can be awfully slow in Parallels with just 1GB on my current setup).

    Any suggestions (perhaps from those with other Macs that already support 4GB of RAM)? Would 64-bit with 2GB in Parallels be OK for occasional use in order to get the full benefits of 64-bit in Boot Camp, or am I better off sticking with 32-bit?
  2. macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2007
    Auckland, New Zealand
  3. macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    64-bit for sure. I installed 64-bit on the v 2,1 MBA. The great part was not using BootCamp drivers and instead using actual manufacturer drivers for each component. It ended up being very fast, and was great while I used it that way.

    What I really want to know is OS X BootCamp allowing installation of 64-bit Windows 7 on this MBA? Or do we have to workaround like I did with the v 2,1 MBA?
  4. thread starter macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010

    The new MacBook Airs work with Windows 7 in both 32-bit and 64-bit. Curiously, Apple does not provide drivers for XP or Vista for the new Airs.

    I agree on using native drivers. On my current Air I went with the native nVidia driver for the 9400m instead of the one that Boot Camp shipped with and raised the Windows Experience Score in Boot Camp by quite a bit.

    Thanks for the advice. Right now it's running 4-3 for 32-bit. I won't receive the Air for about another week, so there is plenty of time for others to chime in.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2008
    64 bit simply because you need it to address all your ram.
  6. thread starter macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    Agreed that 64-bit is the better choice if I'm solely using it for Boot Camp. However, also note that I plan to run it from Parallels on occasion. Would the 64-bit version run acceptably (i.e. better than the 32-bit version runs right now with 1GB) if I give it a 2GB virtual machine? Or does the 64-bit version have so much overhead (particularly when running a 32-bit application) that it would overwhelm a 2GB virtual machine? Realistically I can't devote more than 2GB or 2.5GB to the VM since any more would slow down OS X too much.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2008
    Honestly, I don't think it will matter whether you run 32 bit or 64 bit with regards to Parallels. The slowness you were experiencing in the past was probably due to the 1GB of ram. Since you are only assigning 2-2.5GB to parallels, 32 bit should be fine. I guarantee you will see a performance increase just from the extra ram alone. However, since you might be using bootcamp too, you might as well install 64 bit.
  8. thread starter macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    Thanks. 64-bit has gone up in the poll, too, and is now leading 8-5. I'm thinking I'll go with 64-bit the more I look into it.
  9. macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2010
    If you're going to get a 4GB of RAM there is absolutely no reason to use 32-bit Windows.
  10. macrumors 68020


    May 6, 2010
    The United States
    Ugh, Windows. :D Seriously though, I'd go for the 64-bit.
  11. thread starter macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    Dealing with Windows in order to get Quicken is worth it, at least until Intuit gets its act together and releases a feature-parity version of Quicken for Mac. They seem more concerned with making Quicken Essentials look like iTunes than actually getting it to work.
  12. macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    It is my understanding that unless Windows 7 has more that 2GB of RAM available, the 64 bit version adds no capability. Thus, those of us who run Windows in either a Fusion or Parallels virtual machine are unlikely to benefit from the 64 bit version because it is unlikely that Windows would ever have more that 2GB of RAM to address. For example, I have dedicated 2GB of RAM to the Fusion virtual machine running on my MBP. Of course, those of you who plan on buying one of the 4GB MBAs and would be running Windows on it in Bootcamp would benefit from the 64 bit version.
  13. thread starter macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    Agreed. However, I do plan to run it in Boot Camp, too, so 64-bit helps there. My main question is if anyone has experience in running 64-bit within virtualization, and whether it's a hindrance with only 2GB. If it runs about the same, that's fine with me.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Don't even consider running 64 bit even native with 2 GB ram. I upgraded from 32 bit to 64 bit windows and bought the extra ram. Since my windows disc came before the RAM did, i installed windows 64 bit with 2 GB ram and it was god awful slow, much slower than the 32 bit version. With 4 GB ram, 32 bit is faster, even though it only address about 3.2 gb ram. With 6 gb RAM, 64 bit is a little bit faster in most aspects, and with 8 gb ram 64 bit is clearly faster.

    I'd say go with 32 bit on your air, the install size of 64 bit is massive and it'w won't run faster.
  15. thread starter macrumors G4

    Oct 23, 2010
    Are you running Windows 7 or Vista? If the former, should you change your handle? :)

    I'm getting the 4GB Air running at 2.13 GHz with a 256GB SSD.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2010
    Hello! My first post, but I'm kind of in the same boat of our friend that started the thread. But my question isn't regarding the Windows version, but what about the multi-touch trackpad.. would it be usable in all its possibilities in Windows ? I mean, I understand the software limitations, that's not the case.. but regarding its funcions as using it as a mouse.. any complains ? Thanks !
  17. macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010

    Any updates so far on running Win7 64bit on the MacBook Air?

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