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Author Topic: Should I swtich from w7 32 bit to w7 64 bit?  (Read 11462 times)
Musubi
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« on: April 03, 2010, 06:43:56 AM »

I've got a 64 bit enabled cpu. I only installed 32 bit because I was afraid some software might not work, so I  have a few questions I would like to asks you

Is 32bit software compatible with a 64 bit operating system?
Is it worth upgrading to 64 bit?
Will find and run robot run on 64 bit windows 7?
Is there a  way I can keep my old program configuration and programs installed after the update? I mean I don't want to reinstall everything I have... Is there a backup program, or auto reinstaller or something like that, that would be nice.

I know 64 bit can use more ram. What's the biggest amount of RAM a single stick has, can you recommend me a RAM stick?
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Darwin
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2010, 07:13:50 AM »

I know 64 bit can use more ram. What's the biggest amount of RAM a single stick has, can you recommend me a RAM stick?

This depends on what RAM your computer's chipset supports. A good starting point would be to determine what RAM is in your computer now (DDR, DDR2, DDR3?), You can download a tool like my favourite, SIW, and run it to find out the answers to these and many other questions about your hardware.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2010, 07:43:34 AM »

Is 32bit software compatible with a 64 bit operating system?

There's quite a lot that won't work.

Is it worth upgrading to 64 bit?

Depends on
a) whether you have programs that you want to use that don't run & whether there are acceptable alternatives to them
b) whether you use programs that will benefit from its ability to use the extra memory.

Where stuff works on both, I can't say that I've ever encountered differences in speed etc unless they work much better in a lot of RAM. For me that's mostly image programs.
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steeladept
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2010, 07:44:01 AM »

You ask a great many questions that the final answer is just "it depends".  There is a great deal to these questions that are either not being considered or not addressed.  For example, what is the reason you are considering 64bit over 32bit?  Often, you will know when and why to switch.  If you are just switching because you have a 64bit processor, that is not a good reason in and of itself.  I have been running 32bit OS's on 64bit processors for about 5 or 6 years now at least (I got in on one of the first versions of the AMD Athalon64 processors which were 64bit) and it works fine.

Realize that switching from 32bit to 64bit in many ways is as large an overhaul as switching from Windows to Mac.  The biggest difference in the overhaul is there is no significant learning curve to the new OS.  As such, (and to answer one of your questions) you will have to manually reinstall everything - at least as far as I am aware.  This is not as strait forward as it may seem, however.  As an answer to another question, most of your well programmed software *SHOULD* work on the 64bit OS as Microsoft has built in a program to allow conversion.  That said not ALL software works and even those that do, may exhibit peculiar and/or unexpected results.  Moreover, since it is going through emulation, most software will actually function slower on 64bit if it is designed for 32bit operation.  The more problematic software issues are where they talk directly to the hardware.  In these cases you MUST use 64bit software or you will have issues.  Drivers are notorious for this, though some other programs utilize direct hardware access as well.

The RAM issue is a decent reason to upgrade if you will use all that ram, but I advocate a cheaper route.  Use a monitor to determine how much ram is currently utilized and only if you are consistently choking on the max ram should you consider this as a reason to upgrade.  Few software titles ever utilize that much ram anyway, so it is likely that you will not see significant RAM use unless you constantly work with many open programs at the same time.

As for your RAM hardware question, there are many dependencies for your question such as how much RAM can your Motherboard hold?  What is the maximum size the Motherboard can address?  And what configurations does the Motherboard support?  I have seen 8GB RAM chips (primarily designed for Servers that need to be purchased in matched sets to make 16GB per pair), but I have never seen a typical motherboard that supported more that 2GB/stick.  Only specialty boards (such as the server boards) have been designed for that kind of support from what I have seen.  The best place to look for answers to these questions is by going to your computer manufacturers website and look up the details of your system.  This information may also be found in the accompanying documentation from when you purchased it, but many people throw this out so I don't rely on that suggested source anymore.
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2010, 08:06:28 AM »

Here's what i would say:

All software should transfer over fine, including all DC software.  Migrating program settings rather than reconfiguring can be a pain and troublesome.

As has been said, the only real reason i would even consider moving is if my 32bit OS could only see a small amount of memory, and i needed a large amount. 

It's my judgment that this would only really happen if you have a bad motherboard that can only see 2gb of ram (which happened to me once), and you use some very serious academic/graphics/video applications that eat up memory like mad (like photoshop for serious stuff, etc.).

Assuming you don't use such programs extensively, just get yourself 4gb of ram and stick with 32bit, that's what i would say.
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Musubi
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2010, 08:08:59 AM »

The reasons  I considered a change is adobe cs5 which will be 64 bit only. If I would upgrade I would upgrade only to 8GB of ram (i've got 4GB right now)
I don't know I'm not so techy. Will this SIW info help you give me  good advice?Manufacturer    Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
Family    
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Serial Number    
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Windows System Assessment    
CPU Score    6.20 (Calculations per second)
Memory Score    5.50 (Memory operations per second)
Graphics Score    4.00 (Desktop performance for Windows Aero)
D3D Score    5.30 (3D business and gaming graphics performance)
Disk Score    5.90 (Disk data transfer rate)
Windows Experience Index    4.00 (Base score)
     
Disk Space    Disk C: 188 GB Available, 232 GB Total, 188 GB Free
     Disk D: 195 GB Available, 233 GB Total, 195 GB Free
     Disk E: 33 GB Available, 372 GB Total, 33 GB Free
     Disk F: 11323 MB Available, 1430797 MB Total, 11323 MB Free
     Disk G: 48 GB Available, 698 GB Total, 48 GB Free
     
Physical Memory    2815 MB Total, 884 MB Free
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Core #1    
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Memory Timings    5-5-5-15-20 at 333.3 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
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Memory Timings    4-4-4-12-16 at 266.7 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
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Data Width    64 bits
Manufacturing Date    2010, Week 2
EPP SPD Support    No
XMP SPD Support    No

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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2010, 08:13:40 AM »

if you do want to upgrade from 4gb then you have no choice but to upgrade to x64.  You simply cannot access more then 4gb on 32bit windows.
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Musubi
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2010, 08:50:30 AM »

Yeah but is there a program that would make the reinstallment easier? Because it would be a pain to reinstall everything.
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f0dder
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2010, 09:37:51 AM »

if you do want to upgrade from 4gb then you have no choice but to upgrade to x64.  You simply cannot access more then 4gb on 32bit windows.
You can, but only if you install a server edition smiley

Yeah but is there a program that would make the reinstallment easier? Because it would be a pain to reinstall everything.
Microsoft has had a "transfer user settings" wizard for a while - never used it myself, though, so dunno how well it works. Nothing will save you from reinstalling all your applications, though. You can make this less painful if you sit down and take inventory of exactly what you have on your system and write yourself a little setup document. In my experience it's about a day's worth of work doing this and then doing a clean reinstall with all your apps and settings.

As an answer to another question, most of your well programmed software *SHOULD* work on the 64bit OS as Microsoft has built in a program to allow conversion.  That said not ALL software works and even those that do, may exhibit peculiar and/or unexpected results.  Moreover, since it is going through emulation, most software will actually function slower on 64bit if it is designed for 32bit operation.
32bit on 64bit isn't really emulation, the CPU has native support for running 32bit code while in 64bit mode. There's WoW64, but it really isn't "emulation" smiley

Apart from drivers for old/exotic hardware, just about every old 32bit app runs perfectly on 64bit Windows. And apart from pathological cases, you won't be able to measure a speed difference either. The biggest problem I've bumped into is semi-old software which uses 16bit installers even though the application itself is 32bit - you can't run 16bit apps (whether DOS or win3.x) in 64bit mode since the CPU doesn't support it.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2010, 03:25:25 PM »

I'm with f0dder in his response as the most pragmatic and current view. I'm a happy user of 64 bit OSs for several years now, and I think your biggest concern should be about the upgrade process rather than hardware/software compatibility as most of thoste issues are ironed out now. You might want to start with:
http://windows.microsoft....requently-asked-questions

That tells you that moving from 32 bit to 64 bit is definitely not something you can do easily as an "upgrade", so that may make it unappealing from the start for you. What that means is you need to reinstall all your apps and backup your data then restore it once you've installed the new OS. I certainly wouldn't liken it to a move to Mac, but it does require a full redo of your software environment.

The vast majority of 32 bit apps are 64 bit compatible. Of course you should check software compatibility lists for anything you might use and see if there are any known problems. Here are some resources:
http://www.microsoft.com/...dows-7/en-us/default.aspx

Most of what you'll see on the non-compatible side are either very old apps, or apps that try to do something tricky with the deep internals of Windows (system hooks, etc.) that need to be 64 bit to hook into Windows properly, e.g. antivirus. Any currently updated app should have 64 bit support, and certainly if an app has Win7 support, it should.

Modern 64 bit apps are seldom noticeably slower than 32 bit versions, and in some cases faster, although due to the increased instruction size and memory use, there is certainly a theoretical performance penalty. In the real world it's rarely detectable these days. That being said, for any performance-critical app, you will likely need a well-tuned 64 bit version for performance equivalence or improvement, since these apps already tested the limits of the system at 32 bit. This is why earlier 64 vs 32 bit tests sometimes showed inconsistent results on benchmarks, with 64 bit pulling ahead in some cases, and 32 bit in others. As time has gone on and 64 bit becomes more pervasive, more and more apps are optimized for it. The advantages also become much more clear with large memory use scenarious, of course. This is an example of an older benchmark test where you can already see 64 bit pulling ahead in many cases, but some of the performance critical apps (like rendering) do show some inconsistency, and this is probably down to how well tuned each app was for 64 bit at the time (note the article was written 2 years ago):
http://www.extremetech.co...le2/0,2845,2280808,00.asp
Things have continued to improve since then.

Your SIW report is a bit confusing as it doesn't seem consistent in the memory limits it reports, but it does seem to say that - if you do have 4GB - you're already missing out on some of that (it's only showing about 3GB). I would imagine your board can support at least 8 and possibly 16GB of memory, which is somewhat supported by parts of the SIW info (but again that is inconsistent). It does appear that you have 4x1GB DIMMs so one disadvantage to upgrading is you'd have to get rid of some of your existing memory, trading out for e.g. 2GB DIMMs. Even upgrading to 64 bit without a memory upgrade would give you access to a bit more memory though it seems.

In any case as I said at the start the biggest issue is probably the hassle of reinstalling everything. If you're ok with that, and given you're a Photoshop CS user and could theoretically benefit from 64 bit, then I think it may be worth the upgrade. But take your time about it, make sure you back everything up, and be prepared for the full reinstall process.

- Oshyan
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Musubi
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2010, 04:08:28 PM »

Hmm.. I see can someone recommend (I actually would rather have propriery  one since I tend to trust more things I pay) program that backups  the settings for all programs not just certain selected ones? Or a program that would help me with my backups and reinstallment to windows 7 64 bit?

I mean I know windows easy transfer will help me to backup my configuration files and  document folders, but is there a program that can backup whole installed applications for migrating to  a 64 system? It can be shareware/pay to use. I don't mind paying for quality:)

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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2010, 09:53:02 PM »

If you had a system that was setup like this:
- partition C: only 'Windows' folder + boot files
- partition D: only for folders 'Program Files', 'Program Files (x86)' and 'PortableApps'
- partition E: only for folders 'Users', 'ProgramData' and your own personalized folder structure for your user data if you such a system

In that case it is relatively easy by dumping the registry keys from the installed software in Win7 32bit, install the customized 64 bit version of Win7 (here is a link on how to do that), import the earlier created registry dump and that should be it.

If this is sound too complicated, invest time in looking for portable versions of the software you like/need/desire. I have done that while on my XP installation. When the time to upgrade was forced upon me, 80% of the software I use regularly was immediately available/use-able. All-in-all it took me 2 hours to convert from XP Pro to Win7 64-bit, mainly because I was reading through all the installation options from the Win7 installation DVD.

EDIT:
See this thread and this thread for software that can make portable versions from normally installed software. That should make migrating easier.
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2010, 08:11:12 AM »

In that case it is relatively easy by dumping the registry keys from the installed software in Win7 32bit, install the customized 64 bit version of Win7 (here is a link on how to do that), import the earlier created registry dump and that should be it.

I don't think that would work, the 'Program Files (x86)' directory doesn't exist under 32bit Windows and generally programs installed under 32bit Windows don't write registry entries under the wow3264, (or is it wow6432?), key.

So, how would you know whether there were any extra registry entries required and whether or not extra or some components were required to be moved from 'Program Files' to/from 'Program Files (x86)' ?

I've done exactly the same thing, moved from Win7 32bit to Win7 64bit for one reason only - MS' arbitrary decision to not allow full use of the installed 4GB under 32bit.  This coupled with the higher RAM usage of Win7 made it impossible to task switch from a game to the Desktop without the game locking up, (games don't like to be swapped in and out of RAM, disabling the page file fixes it but cripples the system even more), something that XP could do all day long without a problem.

The only sure way to migrate is to backup your program settings, install Win7 64 from scratch, then restore program settings.

FWIW, the only thing that didn't work under 64bit was my old Canon FB630U scanner because there's no driver available under Vista/W7.
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2010, 08:53:27 AM »

I've got a 64 bit enabled cpu. I only installed 32 bit because I was afraid some software might not work, so I  have a few questions I would like to asks you

Lots of great information in the posts above mine so I'm just going to touch on a few things as I have just gone from 32-bit to 64-bit myself so I can give you a fresh view of the transition.

Quote
Is 32bit software compatible with a 64 bit operating system?

Still installing all my apps, but I have not run into anything that won't work yet.

Quote
Is it worth upgrading to 64 bit?

I think it is, yes. It's not the same kick in the pants enhancement we got when we moved from 16-bit to 32-bit OSes, but 64-bit is the way of the future & the future is now.

Quote
Is there a  way I can keep my old program configuration and programs installed after the update? I mean I don't want to reinstall everything I have... Is there a backup program, or auto reinstaller or something like that, that would be nice.

Don't even try it. First of all, when you run a 64-bit OS you are going to find that a lot of your favorite programs have 64-bit versions available and you are going to want to run those versions most of the time. Second, Windows x64 stores files a bit differently in the Windows directory than 32-bit Windows does, i.e. while the file structure is 90+% identical, Windows x64 has some special directories Windows x86 doesn't.

Quote
I know 64 bit can use more ram. What's the biggest amount of RAM a single stick has, can you recommend me a RAM stick?

The largest RAM modules available right now are 4 GB. However, you'll pay a healthy premium on the price for those. As for RAM recommendations, the safest way to ensure you'll buy RAM that will work with your motherboard is go to the motherboard manufacturer's web site & download the RAM compatibility list for that motherboard & only buy modules on that list. Most of the time, just buying any respected brand name will be fine, but the list on the web site is the only way to be 100% sure.

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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2010, 09:17:17 AM »

Oh, nearly forgot something in going from 32 to 64 bit & it's important enough for its own post.

There are simply things you are going to need both versions of....Flash & Java, for example. You're going to need the 32-bit versions so your 32-bit software can use them and you're going to need the 64-bit versions so your 64-bit software can use them.
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2010, 04:25:50 PM »

For RAM upgrade, Crucial (good RAM brand) has a pretty good configurator doohicky that can recommend RAM upgrades for you:

http://www.crucial.com/index.aspx

- Oshyan
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2010, 07:18:49 PM »

For RAM upgrade, Crucial (good RAM brand) has a pretty good configurator doohicky that can recommend RAM upgrades for you:

Not only a great RAM brand, but the only manufacturer whose RAM modules are 100% made in the U.S.A.

Having said that...I just upgraded the RAM in two computers here & went with Corsair XMS3 because I caught the modules on sale for cheaper than any other brand yet with faster timings. (Side note: first time *ever* buying Corsair RAM, but I have been quite pleased with the whole experience thus far....pricing, packaging, build quality, and performance.)
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2010, 11:57:19 AM »

As a happy 64 bit Windows 7 user, I would say that compatibility issues with 64 bit are microscopic compared to compatibility issues going to Vista / Windows 7.

I did have to buy a new wireless card, though because although my previous did have a Vista 64 bit driver, it was an unsigned kernel mode driver, which is a no-no in Windows 7 64 bit with no workaround to my knowledge (apparently it would have been allowed in Vista). I never did get the new one to work as good as the old one had in 32 bit and eventually decided to go the powerline networking route.

In some cases, you are better off running the 32 bit version of the app for plugin compatibility. The most famous example being any browser plus Flash plugin (there is no Adobe Flash 64 bit).

For me, the reason for going 64 bit was that I didn't want to be limited to 3GB of memory. Vista convinced me I needed more than that, even though they say Windows 7 manages memory a lot better. Most motherboards intended for 32 bit will max out at 4GB, so I think most people may as well get a new motherboard and memory if upgrading to 64 bit, otherwise what's the point of gaining access of only an additional 1GB of memory?

FWIW, I like to buy cheap but not noname memory. I am not convinced that paying twice for the same amount of memory is going to get me better performance than just buying twice as much cheap memory. I'm actually currently using 8GB of OCZ brand memory (it was recommended to me by colleagues and the price was right).

« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 12:20:46 PM by daddydave » Logged
Darwin
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2010, 12:17:44 PM »

FWIW, I like to buy cheap but not noname memory.

Amen! Having said that, I'm neither a gamer nor an overclocker.
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2010, 12:38:06 PM »

Crucial (good RAM brand)

Not only a great RAM brand, but the only manufacturer whose RAM modules are 100% made in the U.S.A.

They do have plants all round the world. But the only manufacturer of RAM in the USA.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2010, 01:31:13 PM »

They also seem to make memory modules in other places. For example:

http://www.micron.com/jobs/europe/uk/kilbride
http://www.micron.com/locations/china

Looking at the China info I'd guess more manufacturing will be moving there soon!

Having saic that Crucial modules are pretty good but Corsair make faster modules and OCZ is also a good manufacturer.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 01:38:03 PM by Carol Haynes » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2010, 08:54:19 PM »

I did have to buy a new wireless card, though because although my previous did have a Vista 64 bit driver, it was an unsigned kernel mode driver, which is a no-no in Windows 7 64 bit with no workaround to my knowledge (apparently it would have been allowed in Vista). I never did get the new one to work as good as the old one had in 32 bit and eventually decided to go the powerline networking route.

Well, do us a favor and tell us the brands of your old wireless card with the crummy driver & the new card that you couldn't get to work well so we'll all know to avoid those like the plague.

Quote
FWIW, I like to buy cheap but not noname memory. I am not convinced that paying twice for the same amount of memory is going to get me better performance than just buying twice as much cheap memory. I'm actually currently using 8GB of OCZ brand memory (it was recommended to me by colleagues and the price was right).

It's all about patience & catching sales. I was able to get my Corsair RAM for the same price the OCZ was going for & the Corsair had better timings.

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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2010, 08:57:40 PM »

Quote from: Carol Haynes link=topic=22317.msg200773#msg200773
Having saic that Crucial modules are pretty good but Corsair make faster modules and OCZ is also a good manufacturer.

OCZ is good if it will work with your motherboard...and you're lucky enough to not get defective modules. I didn't feel brave enough to try the lottery.

Also, the G.Skill RipJaws modules have been getting great user reviews.
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« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2010, 09:02:27 PM »

Just from my own experience, I'd recommend checking your video card to see if it can handle a 64 bit OS reasonably. I've got a box (laptop) with a good NVidia card that cannot handle a second monitor -- there is a critical bug that's been there for years that NVidia hasn't fixed (they are aware of it). BSOD-type stuff - not fun.

Other than that hiccup, I've had no issues with 64-bit Windows. Everything has been seamless.
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« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2010, 11:13:43 PM »

I had the above issue on my current notebook with an Ati Radeon graphics card and both Vista and Windows 64-bit, but a driver update has fixed it  smiley
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