Why 64 Bit vs 32 Bit? Memory Baby the Memory!

Why 64 Bit? It is all about the memory read on and see what we have to say.

I will start by saying staying with the 32 Bit architecture will be the simplest for many. Using up to 4GB of memory which is extreme for the basic user it can be very simple stay at the 32 Bit. If memory is what you crave then change your architecture, switch to 64 Bit and accept a little pain for the memory gain.  Key issues, before reading the technical comparison below supplied by Microsoft, many older programs will not run or may have some initial difficulty running on a 64 Bit system. With that said let me also point out that Microsoft has include many features to try to minimize this including the ability to run in compatibility mode.

Also if you are buying new hardware do not blame all of the incompatibility of old hardware with the conversion to Vista or Windows 7.  Hardware changed when Vista originally rolled out and Vendors did not necessarily create drivers for the older equipment, also physical architecture changed nothing related to Vista itself and many systems lost there parallel connectors as well as their Serial ports. This last change forced people to have to buy many new peripherals, again this was not the fault of the Operating System.

Is 64 Bit worth the headaches, yes.  While often one of the first comments from the tech side is increased security, this is a plus but it will not always be the case as hackers also get more sophisticated. So at least 64 Bit gives you an edge. Now the real gain again it is in the MEMORY, CPU Instruction sets.  Memory is one of the most intensely used resources on the system so the more the better.  Until Vista most system could not address above 2G of RAM with 64 Bit this barrier was broken and now as we prepare to go to Windows 7 we can get up to 128G of memory.  This is good.  Encryption technology if you are using it is better, but it is easier to lose data by making it non-retrievable so take baby steps in this area.

Some things Microsoft says to take into considersation include:

Advantages when you install a 64-bit version of Windows Vista

  • Increased memory support beyond that of the 4-GB addressable memory space that is available in a 32-bit operating system
  • Increased program performance for programs that are written to take advantage of a 64-bit operating system
  • Enhanced security features
 

What to consider when you install a 64-bit version of Windows Vista

  • 64-bit device drivers may not be available for one or more devices in the computer.
  • Device drivers must be digitally signed.
  • 32-bit device drivers are not supported.
  • 32-bit programs may not be fully compatible with a 64-bit operating system.
  • It may be difficult to locate programs that are written specifically for a 64-bit operating system.
  • Not all hardware devices may be compatible with a 64-bit version of Windows Vista.
 

The main differences between the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista

Collapse this tableExpand this table
Architecture Windows Vista, 32-bit versions Windows Vista, 64-bit versions
System requirements 1-gigahertz (GHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 64-bit (x64) processor, 512 MB of RAM 1-GHz 64-bit (x64) processor, 1 GB of RAM (4 GB recommended)
Memory access A 32-bit version of Windows Vista can access up to 4 GB of RAM. A 64-bit version of Windows Vista can access from 1 GB of RAM to more than 128 GB of RAM.
Memory access per edition All 32-bit versions of Windows Vista can access up to 4 GB of RAM. Windows Vista Home Basic – 8 GB of RAM
Windows Vista Home Premium – 16 GB of RAM
Windows Vista Business – 128 GB of RAM or more
Windows Vista Enterprise – 128 GB of RAM or more
Windows Vista Ultimate – 128 GB of RAM or more
DEP 32-bit versions of Windows Vista use a software-based version of DEP. 64-bit versions of Windows Vista support hardware-backed DEP.
Kernel Patch Protection (PatchGuard) This feature is not available in 32-bit versions of Windows Vista. This feature is available in 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. Kernel Patch Protection helps prevent a malicious program from updating the Windows Vista kernel. This feature works by helping to prevent a kernel-mode driver from extending or replacing other kernel services. Also, this feature helps prevent third-party programs from updating (patching) any part of the kernel.
Driver signing Unsigned drivers may be used with 32-bit versions of Windows Vista. 64-bit versions of Windows Vista require that all device drivers be digitally signed by the developer.
32-bit driver support 32-bit versions of Windows Vista support 32-bit drivers that are designed for Windows Vista. 64-bit versions of Windows Vista do not support 32-bit device drivers.
16-bit program support 32-bit versions of Windows Vista support 16-bit programs, in part. 64-bit versions of Windows Vista do not support 16-bit programs.
For the full article from Microsoft’s Knowledge Base click here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946765.

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