vista x86 or 64-bit?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by bobbypotluck, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. bobbypotluck macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    #1
    I'm a bit confused as to what version of vista i should use to take full advantage of the 4GB of RAM? I'm not really familiar with what x86 means, but from what i gathered it has the ability to run 32-bit and 64-bit processes side by side. Does this mean i could use the old bootcamp drivers for my macbook pro and use all 4GB of RAM, or do i need to do the round-about way of getting vista 64-bit and downloading all the drivers myself. Thanks for your help.

    Or is there even a difference between x86 and 64-bit vista? I'm starting to confuse myself.
     
  2. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

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    Slovenia, EU
  3. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #3
    x86 is just an architecture. But its mostly referred to 32bit.

    Read this for more info:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86
     
  4. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Most new machines you buy now-a-days includes Vista 64, as 64-bit adoption is growing rapidly. Pretty much every machine made over the past few years is 64-bit capable too.

    What kind of Mac do you have and how old is it?
     
  5. Markov macrumors 6502

    Markov

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
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    Philadelphia
    #5
    x86: 32-bit
    x86_64: 64-bit.

    As mentioned above, 32-bit is limited in memory addressed. If you need to use all four gigs, 64-bit is the way to go. Not only does 64-bit address more memory, but it is more efficient... or so I have been told.

    Theoretically 32-bit and 64-bit will run together (so long as you have a 64-bit OS installed). There is a 32-bit legacy mode that is built into Vista 64-bit that will run anything that won't run on native 64-bit.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #6
    Whenever possible and the computer is a 64-bit machine, you want to use the 64-Bit version of Vista, which is usually labeled "x64". The 64-Bit edition performs MUCH better than its 32-Bit sibling (labeled "x86"), and in my experience the difference is like day and night.

    However, you might run into compatibility issues with your MacBook Pro. As far as I know, only the more recent Mac Pros come with 64-Bit Boot Camp drivers, while Apple provides all other computers only with 32-Bit drivers. This is a stupid policy, especially since the 64-Bit Boot Camp drivers for the Mac Pros also work with other Intel Macs that use a 64-Bit CPU (like your MacBook Pro, when it is a Core 2 Duo machine). There are torrents on the net for the 64-Bit Boot Camp drivers. Once you've installed the 64-Bit drivers, you can download the official Boot Camp 2.1 update directly from the Apple website.

    And before you try it: The 32-Bit Boot Camp drivers won't do you any good on 64-Bit Vista.

    Yes, this all is confusing and even more so because of Apple's inconsistent and customer-unfriendly support policy for Vista x64. It's just my wild guess, but this could be because Vista x64 beats the crap out of Leopard on the SAME Mac when you look at the performance. At least it does so on my Mac Pro. This, of course, is not good for Apple's marketing.

    Anyway. If your MacBook Pro did not come with a 64-Bit compatible version of Boot Camp, download the 64-Bit version for the Mac Pros, it should work. How can you tell if your Boot Camp drivers are 64-Bit compatible? When you're in Windows and insert the Leopard DVD, you should find multiple installer files that carry "x64" in their name. But the most important file should be in the root directory of the DVD. If you don't have a Boot Camp x64 setup file, your Boot Camp drivers are NOT 64-Bit compatible.

    Oh, and don't let anybody talk you into believing that it is "illegal" to download the 64-Bit drivers through a Torrent. It's unsupported at best. You own an Apple computer and a software license for that crap. And we're only talking about driver software here in the first place. Drivers that can mostly be downloaded all over the Internet from the various hardware vendors Apple is buying their parts from. For example, you will most probably want to download the graphics drivers rather from nVidia's website than use the ones coming from Apple, because nVidia's drivers are more recent and FASTER than the ones Apple gives you.
     
  7. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    Silicon Valley
    #7
    64-bit Vista is much more stable and efficient than 32-bit. Wait a few months for Windows 7 (codename). Try out the beta for now. If you really need Windows for "real" stuff rather than word processing, or a few basic apps, wait for Windows 7.
     
  8. cblackburn macrumors regular

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    Jul 5, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    That's not *completely* true. As far as I can tell, having studied the micro-architectures, the main speed improvement arrives in the floating point department. This is also true, bot not so much, for integer operations.

    When you are computing floating point, especially in a situation where there is iterative calculation like playing a movie, 32 bits of precision doesn't cut it. Rounding errors quickly accumulate and you have only a few significant bits of computation and the rest becomes noise. To combat this developers use "double" types which, funnily enough, use double precision at 64 bit.

    This is bad for computation because for a 32 bit processor to compute an operation, like a multiply, on two 64 bit numbers, it has to dis-assemble the number. It then computes each 32 bit number and stitches everything back together. This takes 9 operations (on average) inside the processor instead of one.

    If the code of the program is architecture aware then it will be able to detect at compile time what the target architecture is and decide whether it needs to use a float or double depending on the width of the architecture.

    If however the code is poor then it will just use a double and not think twice about what architecture it is being deployed on. This means that on a 64 bit processor you will have 128 bit precision, which is always nice, but absolutely no speed improvement whatsoever.

    In conclusion, code that is "processor aware" and "maths intensive" will run up to 9 times faster on a 64 bit processor. However, whilst most software these days can be considered "maths intensive", very little can be considered "processor aware".

    It depends on the software you run but it can't slow you down at all.

    HTH

    Chris
     
  9. Markov macrumors 6502

    Markov

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    May 18, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #9
    Basically, go for 64-bit. Why? Everything is slowly being moved over to it from 32-bit... it's just the progression of technology. Everything use to run on 16-bit, and it was moved over to 32-bit. If you have any software that finds it hard to conform to 64-bit, grab VM Ware fusion or Parallels and virtualize XP 32-bit, which as stated previously, is better than Vista 32-bit.
     
  10. bobbypotluck thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    #10
    i had no idea i could just use the bootcamp installer for the mac pro and that would work. I spent all yesterday on rapidshare downloading some drivers someone posted. i'll head over and find the torrent. sounds less sketchy than the drivers i downloaded.

    On another note, before i do this, the main time i use my bootcamp partition is in parallels. Does anyone know if the drivers that parallels installs on vista are compatible with vista v64? I havnt even tried it yet but i would hate to run into that problem after this long process.
     
  11. slicedbread macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    #11
    Where can I get bootcamp drivers for vista64?

    I have a first gen mac pro, and my leopard disc (10.5.0) seems to only have the 32bit windows drivers.
     
  12. Markov macrumors 6502

    Markov

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    May 18, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #12
    Yes, the parallels drivers will install on Vista 64. I think that's what you're asking? It's a bit ambiguous.

    The 64-bit drivers were introduced in bootcamp version 2.1. I'm going to assume your bootcamp version is 2.0.
     
  13. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020

    aznguyen316

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    Oct 1, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    #13
    I second 64bit. Vista 64 is very good, and apple is trying to move all to 64bit, so why not?
     
  14. Tomb01 macrumors 6502

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    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #14
    But does the version make a difference?

    OK, I get the 64 bit thing. But there are a large number of Vista licenses, does the version make a significant difference? Do I need ultimate, or business, or will just basic do? Sigh, too many choices for this old brain.....
     
  15. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #15
    Vista 64bit > vista 32bit
    xp 32bit > xp 64bit
     
  16. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #16
    Here's an a nice little chart kind of outlining the differences:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/compare-editions/default.aspx

    Honestly, it depends on what you're doing. Home Premium will be perfect for most users. Basic is, well, pretty basic. Home Premium is a good minimum. Also, note that those prices in the link I gave you aren't concrete. You can buy a systems builder DVD for much cheaper if you so desired.
     
  17. Tomb01 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #17
    Version....

    Thanks, Stridder44, I will likely install Windows for just gaming, Powerpoint, and to have an authorized license for my many VMWare images. Given that my VMWare images are all XP Pro, can anyone tell me if a Vista Home Basic license will make me legal for running XP? Or do I just need to go with XP Pro?

    Thanks in Advance....
     

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