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Old 06. Mar 2010, 11:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Windows 7 & Gaming--32 bit vs. 64 bit

Well, it looks like I'm finally going to break down and upgrade from XP to Windows 7. My machine is 2 years old and it really needs a fresh install anyway due to some blue screen issues. (I never used Vista.) So, I'm going to eliminate my disk partitions, re-format the HD and do a fresh install of Win 7.

I've decided that I'm going to go with Windows 7 Professional and at the same time I'm going to upgrade my 2 GB of RAM to 4 GB of RAM.

I am a gamer; not a huge one, but I play a lot of different computer games. (Mainly things like America's Army, Dawn of War, Age of Empires, COD, Command & Conquer, etc.)

My question is this: Should I go with a 32 bit or a 64 bit version of Windows 7? What are the pro's and con's? I know that a 64 bit version will actually see the 4 GB or RAM, but I've heard that a lot of games don't work on 64 bit and that there are not a lot of security programs for 64 bit versions (like freeware antivirus/anti-malware).

I am pretty sure that my computer will tolerate a 64 bit system.

Thoughts/recommendations?
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Old 07. Mar 2010, 12:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
My question is this: Should I go with a 32 bit or a 64 bit version of Windows 7? What are the pro's and con's? I know that a 64 bit version will actually see the 4 GB or RAM, but I've heard that a lot of games don't work on 64 bit and that there are not a lot of security programs for 64 bit versions (like freeware antivirus/anti-malware).
You might want to take a look at this article: 32-bit-and-64-bit-explained

I to have heard about 32 bit software not working on 64 bit platforms. I even had a salesman (Probably not a successful one) Tell me not to buy the higher end 64 bit computer because most of my old software wouldn't work. Though probably over stated there could be a grain of truth to it.

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Old 07. Mar 2010, 12:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I started with x64 and then installed x32 Windows 7 (Ultimate) instead which I much prefer.

Certainly some security features are either not available at all or are severely restricted in an x64 environment. Rootkit protection is one item, and the process monitoring function of Privatefirewall another. These are just a couple of examples which I've come across. There must be others although in fairness x64 is (supposedly) less vulnerable and the various vendors are still developing software to match.

I also had ATI graphics problems with x64 when surfing web pages (total loss of monitor function requiring a hard reboot) which I don't get with x32.

The bottom line at the moment is that x32 gives you (currently) more program options than x64 and certainly in my hands at any rate is more stable, to date 100%.
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Old 07. Mar 2010, 02:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Midnight, what is the difference between Ultimate and Professional? Should I reconsider going with Ultimate instead? I wanted Professional for the XP Compatibility mode.
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Old 07. Mar 2010, 02:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kendall View Post
what is the difference between Ultimate and Professional?
See Compare editions.
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Old 07. Mar 2010, 04:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy View Post
I started with x64 and then installed x32 Windows 7 (Ultimate) instead which I much prefer.

Certainly some security features are either not available at all or are severely restricted in an x64 environment. Rootkit protection is one item, and the process monitoring function of Privatefirewall another. These are just a couple of examples which I've come across. There must be others although in fairness x64 is (supposedly) less vulnerable and the various vendors are still developing software to match.

I also had ATI graphics problems with x64 when surfing web pages (total loss of monitor function requiring a hard reboot) which I don't get with x32.

The bottom line at the moment is that x32 gives you (currently) more program options than x64 and certainly in my hands at any rate is more stable, to date 100%.
It's worth pointing out that RootKits don't as much fun under 64 bit Windows. To work effectively they need kernel access at a level not permitted by PatchGuard.
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Old 07. Mar 2010, 05:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Midnight, what is the difference between Ultimate and Professional? Should I reconsider going with Ultimate instead? I wanted Professional for the XP Compatibility mode.
Both Professional and Ultimate allow you to download the XP compatibility mode components, good luck with them though, they're dire. If you have a spare FULL XP license it's much better to build your own VM using your virtualisation software of choice.
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Old 07. Mar 2010, 05:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You can use XP mode with full license on Vmware Player by following this article: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/10911...irtualization/
The performance will be much better.

There's also VMLite if you prefer VirtualBox: http://www.vmlite.com/index.php/download
The software itself is based on VitualBox, they have an add-on for VirtualBox 3.1.2 as well. Not sure about this one because I never tried it before.
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Old 07. Mar 2010, 06:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Rik and J.L.--thanks for the info. However, I've never used VM software in my life. I'll read the article you linked to see if it makes sense.
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Old 07. Mar 2010, 06:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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XP mode basically uses Microsoft Virtual PC (second download) by default, which itself is a VM software. It is rather slow though, even if your hardware is good.

Vmware is an industry leader, the player version costs nothing. It has all the basic functions such as creating virtual machines (ever since version 3) and configuring the hardware alotted (Virtual Hard Disk size, RAM, one-or multi-core, Network, etc).

Sun's VirtualBox is also great and is VMware's main competitor currently. It is completely free and has an open source version. I believe it has more features and is geared-toward experienced users.

Performance-wise both are very similar (they even use your graphics card to a good extent).

Personally I wouldn't trust VMLite, but there's currently no other way to get XP mode and the included license in VirtualBox.

Last edited by J_L; 07. Mar 2010 at 06:24 AM.
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