Vista 64 or 32 bit... which?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by kbjeff, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. kbjeff macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2009
    Hi all,
    I just purchased my 1st ever mac. A real nice, fairly new macbook pro 2.66GHz from the Apple refurb store.

    I'll want to also install windows and understand that can be done through bootcamp, fusion, or parallels.

    I can get my hands on Vista pretty inexpensively. Should I be installing the 32bit or 64bit version on my mac? Does it matter?

    Mac Virgin
  2. Jack Flash macrumors 65816

    May 8, 2007
  3. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Are you a student..?

    If I was you, I'd really try and get a copy of Windows 7.
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Personally, I'd go for the 64bit version, as it can use the memory if your system's capacity exceeds what's available to a 32bit edition (usually cuts off at 3.3GB IIRC).
  5. Morn macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2005
    I really don't see the point in going for a 32bit version when the 64 bit version works fine, and 64 bit apps can be faster due to more registers, and handle bigger numbers more easily.
    Plus, on windows, a single 32bit app can allocate no more than 2GB of ram.
  6. kbjeff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2009
    I'm not a student, but I could get my hands on Window 7, too. I guess you've answered the big question, though: No reason NOT to install a 64bit Windows OS on a MPB, then?

    Also, I was considering VMware Fusion 3 as you don't need to reboot into Windows. What is the reason for the preference of Bootcamp?

  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If you're still looking to actually get a copy of Windows, I'd go for Win7-64. It's leaner than Vista, and works well.

    BC can allow you to run PC hardware you can't run under OS X (PC hardware can tend to be less expensive as well). Not as much of an issue on a laptop though, save the ExpressCard/34 slot devices.
  8. antskip macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2009
    Unless it is a OEM version, Win7 comes with both 32bit and 64bit versions. If you have 4Gb+ ram, 64bit is much faster, especially its 64bit applications, but, unlike 32bit, you may well come up with unexpected issues. In those cases, it is like running alpha-software. You will have 2 copies of Internet Explorer. Mostly the 64bit version is the one to use, but for flash, you will need to switch to 32bit. Similarly for Firefox, Thunderbird etc. If you just want things to work, chose 32bit Win-OS. If you want cutting edge performance, and use of all your memory above 3GB, choose 64bit. For me, 64bit was too much like running a linux distro, ever not ready, so went back to 32bit - slower, but works without pain. :) IMHO, 64bit windows OS is not quite mature yet. :) That said, many love it. With the appropriate programs and ram, it is like moving from an HDD to a SSD - a generational shift in responsiveness in windows OS.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I wasn't getting into the specific versions, but the OEM copies are the least expensive way to go. Even less expensive than the Upgrade versions. But you don't get both 32 and 64 bit versions with OEM or Upgrade. You do need Full for that.

    To me, given the current state of hardware alone, 64bit is worth it (you can still run more instances of 32bit code), and as you indicate, code that's written for 64bit will run faster. Additional memory (address space) alone is one reason, though it tends to be a little leaner as well.

    I've not had problems with 64bit. Internet Explorer is another story, but they've updated it a few times, and it's getting better. I see it as an app though, as there's the ability to run 32bit browsers, and packages from other developers if you want (Foxfire, Safari,...). Even a few 64bit versions, though they're all still Betas last I checked.

    The OS itself, is stable. The only other issue I've run into, is with Intel's Matrix Storage Manager (v. 8.9.1023). It won't restart the system properly (can be a PITA after an update that requires a restart). But it's solved with pressing the Power button on the case. Earlier versions don't do this on my system. I can't sleep the system properly (BSOD's), due to the RAID controllers.

    Flash is still 32bit, but Adobe's working on a 64bit version. Easily fixed by running a 32bit browser. ;)
  10. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    Boot Camp is just an easy way to partition a hard drive so you can install Windows (not sure if you can install other OS's, you probably can) on it without having to use an entire hard drive for it and easily remove the partition later, it's running Windows natively.
    VMWare Fusion 3 and Parallels Desktop for Mac 5 are virtualisation programs, they allow you to run Windows and other operating systems side by side with your Mac, but I think they are a bit slower and have significantly reduced graphics performance, at least with Windows anyway!

    VMs also require dedicated RAM, CPU and GFX memory when running, so you may not have enough resources on a MBP.

    I'd go Windows 7 64-bit, you can also create a virtual machine from your Boot Camp partition if you want with Parallels 5 (not sure about Fusion 3), so you can run both if you have enough resources.
  11. antskip macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2009
    I guess that is the problem of buying OEM. It is the cheapest way, but if you buy 64bit, and it doesn't work out, then it is an expensive outlay. I was going to get OEM, but played it safe, paid a little more for the upgrade with both 64bit and 32bit options - and when 64bit Win-OS was too much trouble than its extra speed was worth, I still had the 32bit Win-OS to fall back to.

    The trouble with 64bit is that too many things are still in 32bit; and when there is a 64bit version it is fast but less polished. So one is forced to chose quick or solid. In the end it was all too much time (like a linux distro), and I went for solid.

    I would suggest try 64bit first. If no problems, that's the way to go. If there are problems, retreat to 32bit.
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I actually did the same thing with Vista (in order to run both versions if needed for stability), as the 64bit had the reputation of not having drivers. But I also waited for SP1 to ship first, and didn't have any issues.

    The reason for needing 64bit though, was a specific application suite I need. Most of it's 32bit, but not all of it. And I needed to be able to run it under a single OS if at all possible for convenience.

    It worked out for me, and Win7's been even better.

    Not everyone will have the same experience though, or what they'd consider an area for compromise.
  13. gugucom macrumors 68020


    May 21, 2009
    Munich, Germany
    The OEM license of choice is the System Builder Edition (SBE). It is technically a full retail version minus the 90 day Microsoft support you get with retail. The licensed COA also works on both 64-bit and 32-bit versions but you get only one DVD Medium (either 32 or 64-bit) in the purchased package. You are entitled to buy the other medium agains a small printing, packaging and mailing fee. It is normally 15$. Copies can be purchased through the Microsoft System Builder Media Replacement web site. If you or your family or friends buy two SBE licenses (one 32 and one 64) you can use both COAs cross over with the DVDs.

    Native Windows with Bootcamp uses all original Windows drivers including DirectX software for multimedia. With DirectX the gaming software will eliminate the HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and take control of the graphics and sound directly. This way the most modern HW and SW features can be employed with the highest efficiency. It means you get peak performance out of the hardware.

    All virtualized Windows uses OS X drivers and is therefore twice more removed from the hardware than DirectX. The performance and compatibility is greatly reduced but the convenience for the user improves. With modern systems performance becomes less of a concern except for number crunchers and gamers. If you are in that kind of user group native Windows is your choice.
  14. kbjeff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2009
    Thanks! That makes sense. I would say that normally I'll be running Windows apps that don't require performance that would be noticeable running virtualized. But, I do have the occasional need to run a windows based Video Editing tool and a 3D CAD tool. In those cases, will it still be possible to boot directly into Windows? And then most of the time access Windows apps through VMware Fusion?

  15. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Functionally, gugcom is correct, but that does not mean that you are acting in compliance with all of the licenses.

    Recent changes to the System Builder license have made it fairly clear that SBE is not licensed to end users but ONLY licensed to be installed on hardware that is to be resold to a third party.

    Read the license (linked at the bottom of the page I linked above) yourself, if you care to be "properly" licensed. If you don't mind being in the same "close to but outside" the license area as Hackintoshers, OEM/SBE is a great choice.

    Yes, absolutely!

    The one problem I have with that right now is that the virtual printer driver VMWare installs kills the print subsystem in Boot Camp, so right now I am unable to print from Boot Camp. It is a known issue that VMWare does not seem to want to fix.

  16. stylinexpat macrumors 65816


    Mar 6, 2009
    This could explain why Java runs slow on MAC OS and Windows 64 BIT when running Scottrade and Etrade platforms.:(

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