32bit or 64bit? Just making sure.

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Link2999, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. Link2999 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #1
    Usually the verdict is 1-4GB of Ram=32bit 4+GB of Ram=64bit , but I need to make sure I'm making the right choice. As a student, I have the choice of buying either the 32 or 64bit upgrade for Windows 7 (to be used via Bootcamp and VMWare). I've been using the 32bit and it seems to be working, but 64bit may be better. I'm using a Mid 2010' MBP (see sig) and the specs may be good enough that it handles the 64bit version better. I may also want to upgrade the RAM in the future so that's another thing to factor in.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #2
    It can handle the 64-bit version nicely. With you already at 4Gb and planning to upgrade to 8Gb, the 64-bit is the way to go.
     
  3. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    Kirkland
    #3
    Deffinately 64-bit.

    32-bit Windows 7 can only recognize approximately 3.5GB of RAM, anything above that and it will just say 8GB installed (3.5 Usable). Plus with Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows launching with 64-bit versions, and Adobe Photoshop on Windows also being 64-bit too. I know you probably wont be using these programns on Windows but best be 64-bit, if not purely for the added RAM usability.
     
  4. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #4
    Microsoft is phasing out 32-Bit software. There won't be any more 32-Bit desktop/server operating systems coming from Redmond.

    You won't have any compatibility issues with 64-Bit Windows 7 and especially with your hardware there will only be advantages for you when you install 64-Bit Windows on it.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    While I agree with the general sentiment in favor of 64 bit, I just wanted to clarify one thing:

    You say you intend to use it in a VM, so it is not your system RAM that matters, it is the RAM you allocate to the VM. The minimum system requirements for 32 bit are 1 GB of RAM while it is 2 GB of RAM for 64 bit. You will not get good VM performance if you starve the VM of RAM.

    Until you upgrade to 8GB of RAM, you simply can't allocate >4GB of RAM to the VM and really take advantage of the 64 bit version.

    For me, in a shared Boot Camp/VMWare setup on two similar machines (my 2009 MBP w/W7 Ultimate 64 and 2008 MB w/W7 Professional 32) I prefer the 32 bit version as a VM, and the 64 bit version in Boot Camp. The 64 bit version takes quite a bit longer to boot than the 32 bit version and even with 2 GB allocated to the VM seems a bit less responsive. Of course startup/shutdown would be a bit different in a dedicated VM that I could sleep instead of shut down and reboot.

    If you really want to see if there's a difference right now, download an ISO of the 64 bit version of your choice and install it in your VM software of choice without entering a product key. You can try it there for up to 30 days (extendable to 120 days) so that you can make a fully informed decision before you commit.

    B
     
  6. theheyes macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester
    #6
    The whole RAM thing is an oversimplification, and only part of the picture. Even if you had only 1GB of RAM I'd still overwhelmingly recommend 64 bit Windows.
     
  7. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #7
    Strange given that the minimum system requirement is 2 GB. ;)

    http://windows.microsoft.com/systemrequirements

    It's not an oversimplification because the only thing that 64 bit really differs from 32 bit in is the increase in address space.

    B
     

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