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Last post Author Topic: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?  (Read 12579 times)

mahesh2k

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64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« on: July 07, 2011, 06:38:00 PM »
I know that this topic was discussed earlier so let me ask you one question which wasn't covered before. When is the right time to switch to 64bit OS ? Is it when the sufficient drivers are available ? Or is there any benefit of switching to it at the end of 2011 ? I'm asking this because Intel I5 and i7 2nd gen. series processors are powerful enough for 64bit OS. So is it wise move to upgrade ? :tellme:

Apart from that which website or place you look for more information related to 64 bit OS/Errors/Issues etc ?

Deozaan

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2011, 06:40:21 PM »
My opinion is that by now there's no reason not to use a 64-bit OS if you have modern hardware. The only reason I can see for staying on 32-bit is if you have old hardware or accessories (old printer or cameras, etc.) that don't (and will never) have proper 64-bit drivers.


worstje

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2011, 06:42:05 PM »
Just switch already. This machine of mine is from 2007, and I've ran 64-bit on it for the last two years without any problems.

If you have more than ~3GB worth of memory, you should have switched already since 32-bit cannot properly make use of anything more than that.

Cloq

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2011, 07:16:09 PM »
I have been using Vista x64 and Win 7 x64 for years now. System and OS have been pretty decent.

Just remember that your hardware should be relatively recent (2005+) as vendors *should* have drivers for your hardware (using name brand helps). It wouldn't hurt update the system bios while you are at it.

95% of all my software (x32) worked just fine in x64 os.

daddydave

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2011, 07:38:07 PM »
Just make sure all your hardware (especially the motherboard) supports the 64-bit version of (I assume) Windows 7. Applications incompatibilities going from 32bit to 64bit are trivial compared to going to Windows XP to Vista. To me, the main reason to do this was to take advantage of 64-bit's recognition of more memory than 3MB.

Someday there will be a fake quote from Steve Ballmer saying 8GB is all the memory anyone will ever need, and people will laugh. :D
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MilesAhead

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 07:41:46 PM »
For an existing machine I'd take a look on Best Buy for the package closest to what you have.  If it comes with Windows 64 bit then it's likely you'll be able to drive all your hardware.

My quad came with 8 GB ram and Vista64 SP1.  About the only stuff that absolutely won't run is old 16 bit programs.  But I don't have any Dos left overs.  Really the main difference I noticed was the booting is a bit slower. The registry is more complicated plus it has Wow or Windows On Windows to run 32 bit apps.  Once it's booted you can't tell any difference.  Native 64 bit code is nice though.  Newsbin Pro 64 bit is way smooth.

I'd just try to avoid getting burned on hardware if you have an unpopular device.  Prompted by your post I took a quick look on Best Buy.  The Intel I7 machine desktop packages are coming with 10 GB ram, BDROM, 1.5 TB HD and 2 free PCI Express slots for $1300.  They still stick you with USB 2.0 but you can use one of the PCI Express slots to put in a USB 3.0 card with 2 ports.

Wish I had $1500 to splurge!! :)

Eóin

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 07:42:09 PM »
I'd say the time to switch was about 5 years ago when WinXP x64 came :D That's when I switched.

Seriously though, since day 1 of processors supporting 64bit, they have been powerful enough, so that's not the issue. It's only a question of driver support, and if your hardware supplies Win7 drivers they have to supply 64bit version to pass MS driver testing, so pretty much all manufacturers do so. Indeed that condition may have applied for Vista too.

Stoic Joker

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2011, 07:51:45 PM »
I have been using Vista x64 and Win 7 x64 for years now.

Same here, performance, compatibility, all good.

justice

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2011, 02:56:46 AM »
If you run Windows 7 then there is no reason not to run 64bit. If you run Vista this is most likely the same, if you want to stick to XP then I'm not going to help :P.

vlastimil

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2011, 04:06:29 AM »
I think the right time to switch will be when 64-bit Windows becomes the more compatible flavor. When developers actually focus on the 64-bit editions of their software and when hardware manufacturers do the same with 64-bit drivers. We are not there yet and installing 64-bit OS will cause compatibility issues than sticking with 32-bit. I would still recommend 32-bit to my mother, because most people do not care about fancy 64-bit address space - they care about their favority applications.

Let me mention one incompatibility that affects my software on 64-bit Windows. Here is some context...
Windows (I mean the mostly rectangular regions on screen) form a hierarchy: imagine an application with a tabbed top-level window (like Firefox). The actual tabs may be implemented as standalone child windows. These tabs may have other child windows like edit boxes, bookmark panels, etc. A complex application may have a complex hierarchy of windows.
Unfortunately, there is an unofficial limitation on the depth of this window hierarchy. While the application may create child windows as it sees fit, the messages sent between these windows stop working at certain level. This is due to internal stack overflow in the message routing component in Windows kernel.

Here is the catch: the amount of memory available for the stack is the same in 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, but the stack entries are twice as long on 64-bit Windows. Hence the usable window hierarchy depth is halved. And if you think that you can avoid the problem by using 32-bit edition of the affected application on 64-bit Windows, that is not the case. The problem is in the 64-bit kernel. The worst thing is that Microsoft refuses to consider this a bug and fix it (unless they changed their mind since the last time I checked).

So...if you do not want unexpected problems, switch to 64-bit Windows when you HAVE A REASON to, not when there seem not to be a reason not to.

mouser

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2011, 04:27:29 AM »
As worstje says, I think it's all about memory.  With the 32 bit versions you are limited to about 3gb of memory.
With memory as cheap as it is, using 4gb, 8gb, and greater amounts of memory is starting to become standard -- and for that you really need a 64bit OS.

So if you are building a new machine, go with 64bit OS, no doubt about it.  Unless you know for sure there is some legacy hardware you are using that isn't supported and you refuse to upgrade the hardware.

If it's an old machine whose memory is going to stay < 4gb, don't worry about it.

Note: My understanding of the memory limits in windows is very superficial -- if others on this thread say there are memory limitations with 64bit Windows they would know better than me.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 04:40:01 AM by mouser »

justice

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2011, 04:29:28 AM »
@vlastimil I disagree that this is a actual issue affecting many end users.

Ath

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2011, 04:42:34 AM »
I'd say the time to switch was about 5 years ago when WinXP x64 came :D That's when I switched.
That release was in the same league as the Win32 subsystem on Windows 3.11: Total crap, with near to none support from applications or drivers.
It's sister-release Windows Server 2003 x64 edition was a little better (read: less worst) as there was actual hardware-driver support from the larger (server) vendors, but generic consumer-stuff was, as to be expected, a total disaster.

Starting with Vista x64/Server 2008 x64 this has dramatically changed, even though the first year after it's release there where a lot of issues with hardware-drivers, but ever since then it only has become a lot better. Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 is near default in x64 release on new hardware, even with the local discounters, IMHO meaning Windows x64 is ready for prime-time.

Don't know, and have never seen, the issues vlastimil is talking about, but AFAIK that's a configurable item, but deeply hidden in the registry (don't have a link to MSDN available where I am now), and it's not stopping me from pushing everybody to x64 where possible. If Microsoft wants to go there it's most likely the (unavoidable) future :-\

Carol Haynes

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2011, 04:43:01 AM »
No problems here with Windows 7 64-bit and I run a fair amount of stuff that was specifically written for Windows XP 32-bit (I would say 75% of my programs are installed as 32-bit apps).

The only compatibility issues I have come across are clients with ancient peripherals (usually printers and scanners).

To me the biggest advantage is you can stuff in as much memory as you like and have your system running without needing a pagefile. With 16Gb I can have as many applications loaded as I like and still pop in and play the odd game without having to make use of a page file. Certainly would not contemplate swapping back to 32 bit.

The only thing I feel I am missing is an SSD but I am waiting until I can buy at least 521Mb at a reasonable price.

Ath

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2011, 04:46:13 AM »
As an intensive VMWare Workstation user, I'm really glad my new system has 16 GB and an i7 2600 ;D and running Win7 x64 'ofcourse' :tellme:

Stoic Joker

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2011, 06:56:05 AM »
The only compatibility issues I have come across are clients with ancient peripherals (usually printers and scanners).

Add to the the kernel/user mode drive debacle and you drop even more devices on the x86 editions also. I don't know if it's laziness, greed, or both on the part of the manufacturers...But I'm getting tired of having to have that conversation with people because their 2yr old high dollar print device just flat don't work on their new machine. Mac ain't exempt either, their (probably the worse) compatible devices list isn't much more than a single page long these days.

Go to any manufacturer's site these days and try to find a 32-bit machine, it ain't easy. Or even possible for some unless by special (phone in and beg) request.

The only reason I didn't do a full-time switch to XP x64 back when was I couldn't bear to part with TClock ... But that got fixed shortly there after... ;) ...The instant I had a semi-stable alpha (carrot, stick...) I made the switch.

worstje

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2011, 07:54:40 AM »
Here is the catch: the amount of memory available for the stack is the same in 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, but the stack entries are twice as long on 64-bit Windows. Hence the usable window hierarchy depth is halved. And if you think that you can avoid the problem by using 32-bit edition of the affected application on 64-bit Windows, that is not the case. The problem is in the 64-bit kernel. The worst thing is that Microsoft refuses to consider this a bug and fix it (unless they changed their mind since the last time I checked).

I never ran into this issue, and I do not believe it is any problem. If anything, window handles (which are the things you are referring to, I believe) have only gone up in the supported amounts, and the last time a scarcity of that resource was an issue was back in the W9x days. If you refer to the Z-order that defines what is drawn on top of what, I do not believe there is any sane limitation on that either.

I dare say, if you run into issues with the amounts of resources Windows makes available for a specific purpose, you are abusing that as a developer and without a doubt can find a more suitable solution. For example, there are tons of windowless controls that are considered lightweight because they do not use any Windows resources, and instead co-opt the help of their parent control that do have a handle.

So...if you do not want unexpected problems, switch to 64-bit Windows when you HAVE A REASON to, not when there seem not to be a reason not to.

I remain with my advice to switch now, with now being defined as 'the point where you end up (re)installing Windows'. The last we all need are people holding on to phantom reasons not to switch (because they read something on the internet at some point)... and we all know how that worked out for Windows Vista (even though there were a few good reasons, a lot of it was hot air and bad press).

The only pre-requisite is that your hardware is from the last ~5 years, which is a decent enough expectation if you intend to run Windows 7.

vlastimil

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2011, 10:31:45 AM »
@vlastimil I disagree that this is a actual issue affecting many end users.

maybe not many, but it affects some users/applications
http://stackoverflow...-bit-in-net-winforms

I never ran into this issue, and I do not believe it is any problem. If anything, window handles (which are the things you are referring to, I believe) have only gone up in the supported amounts, and the last time a scarcity of that resource was an issue was back in the W9x days. If you refer to the Z-order that defines what is drawn on top of what, I do not believe there is any sane limitation on that either.

I dare say, if you run into issues with the amounts of resources Windows makes available for a specific purpose, you are abusing that as a developer and without a doubt can find a more suitable solution. For example, there are tons of windowless controls that are considered lightweight because they do not use any Windows resources, and instead co-opt the help of their parent control that do have a handle.

This is not about the number of window handles. It is about recursive window message processing - parent window receives WM_SIZE, sends WM_SIZE to its children, etc. (it is more complex in reality, there are more messages being sent)
Even native Windows controls use this kind of aggregation. List box has a Header control as its child, Combo box has an Edit box as a child. A toolbar can host a combo box (with an edit box inside) and be hosted in a Rebar. These are 4 levels of depth and we are still talking just about a toolbar. That toolbar is hosted within the application frame. Now add a tab or a splitter control and the depth grows. The depth limit on 64-bit windows is pretty shallow, like ~12. If you use .net winforms and make a tab/splitter hierarchy, you can experience this yourself.

Window-less controls can help, but it is a pain to use them. They are not the easy-to-use blackbox that a window is. But this is not the main issue here. The fact that the 64-bit system is worse than the 32-bit one in this aspect. And there may be more catches like this one.

The memory: first, determine if you need it. Do you want to work with really hi-res video or a large database? By all means get a lot of memory, 64-bit Windows AND a 64-bit edition of the software. Do you just browse the internet, use office and play games? You'll be better off with 4GB and 32-bit for the next few years.

Also...there are artificial limits on how much memory a 64-bit Windows allows you to use http://en.wikipedia....ysical_memory_limits

Renegade

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2011, 10:41:35 AM »
There is a 32-bit mode that you can toggle.

Screenshot - 7_9_2011 , 1_38_40 AM.png

I can't see why anyone would want to go with a 32-bit OS now. Unless there are some very real and immediate reasons...
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Eóin

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2011, 10:43:34 AM »
That release was in the same league as the Win32 subsystem on Windows 3.11: Total crap, with near to none support from applications or drivers.
It's sister-release Windows Server 2003 x64 edition was a little better (read: less worst) as there was actual hardware-driver support from the larger (server) vendors, but generic consumer-stuff was, as to be expected, a total disaster.

Well I had no difficulty getting drivers for all my hardware, but I accept I may have been lucky and that in general x64 drivers were few and far between back then. The OS itself though was for me absolutely rock solid, and as I understand it, it was Server 2003 x64 under the hood, but with the server applications stripped out and XP media-ish apps put in.

@vlastimil I'm not sure about that specific issue you mention, though the link you posted (and the linked msdn blog post) does sound reasonably scary. In general the move to 64bit has vastly improved the various resource limits available to applications (see these blog posts), so if anything going by that measurement, 64bit is more compatible than 32bit Windows.

I fully accept that things like 16bit applications or 32bit shell extensions might not work, but these days I firmly believe that the ordinary user should default to 64bit and only consider 32bit in exceptional circumstances. As anecdotal evidence, when purchasing laptops over the last year I noticed it's nearly, if not actually, impossible to buy a €400+ machine that doesn't come without 64bit pre-installed.

Renegade

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2011, 10:48:22 AM »
... but these days I firmly believe that the ordinary user should default to 64bit and only consider 32bit in exceptional circumstances...

Like MS Office. :)

Office is still best as 32-bit as too many plug-ins are still 32-bit. Sad, but...

But you just install 64-bit windows and 32-bit Office. Still, the 64-bit OS wins.
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40hz

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2011, 01:39:28 PM »
I've been exclusively running 64-bit OSs (Windows and Linux) on any machine that's capable of running them for about a year now with no bad surprises.

It's arrived. I'd do it.  8)

Deozaan

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2011, 01:45:12 PM »
My only 2 complaints/problems I've had with 64-bit OS since Vista x64 are:

1. Drivers MUST be signed to be installed (technically there are workarounds, but they're a hassle). My hardware is a bit older and there are no 64-bit drivers for e.g. my onboard ethernet. So I'm currently running 32-bit OS.

2. No more 16-bit compatibility. I've really only had one scenario in which this was a problem. I dusted off an old Win95 game I used to love and it can't play in 64-bit OS. Though Windows 7 does come with a free VM of Windows XP 32-bit and I could play the game in that. But unfortunately my PC is too old and slow, so I run into problems. I think I might have better luck with it playing it in a Linux VM under Wine.

Modern hardware will fix problem #1 and probably also run well enough to make the Windows XP VM solution to #2 viable as well. That's why I say if you've got modern hardware and don't use any "legacy" accessories (printers, cameras, etc.) then there is no reason not to be on a 64-bit OS these days.


MilesAhead

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2011, 03:19:43 PM »
One other caveat would be USB devices with drivers in the firmware.  An example is my Epson Stylus C88+.  It has a Vista driver and works fine if I hook it to the Vista64 machine.  But if I hook it to Windows 7 it won't serve the driver properly over the network.  Since the driver is in firmware, they don't bother with making any drivers available for download.  But if you ask around before buying a printer both Vista and W7 have been around long enough you should be able to learn what to expect.

mahesh2k

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Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2011, 10:13:36 AM »
@Ath, i'm planning upgrade to i7 2600 3.3GHZ, 8GBDDR3, 1TB.. ASUS Board(not sure which model as of yet). So lets see if old hardware works on it.