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Author Topic: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question  (Read 7776 times)

Nod5

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Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« on: December 14, 2011, 03:07:30 PM »
I will finally move from XP to Windows 7. But I have some pretty old hardware devices e.g. external soundcard, tv card, remote control hardware and other stuff. I've read that finding Win7 x64 (64bit) drivers for old hardware may be tricky or in some cases impossible.

So why should I go for x64 Win7 and not just stick to Win7 32bit?  :tellme:

I feel that x64 is a better choice, clinging to x86 feels kind of backwards. But I'd like some solid arguments to back that up.

The big practical advantage I've read about is that x64 permits more than 4GB of RAM. But three things seem to diminish that advantage.
1. On Win XP 32bit the RAM above 3.25 GB can be utilized as a ramdisk. That likely works on Win7 32bit too (right?). So extra RAM can be used as diskspace and isn't just wasted.
2. I don't use any applications with extreme RAM-needs. At least I don't think so. What applications would benefit noticeably from 4+ GB of RAM?
3. With less system RAM the OS might use the pagefile more often. Pagefile access on a regular HDD can slow things down. But I'll use a SSD for the new install. That makes pagefile access a non-issue (or?).

Feedback on 1-3 is very welcome. I'd also like to hear other good reasons for choosing 64bit that I've likely omitted.

rgdot

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2011, 03:56:38 PM »
2. Total applications in startup and open at same time is a bigger issue than any one app, unless you use things like 3D modelling which have their own stated requirements.

cranioscopical

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 04:10:22 PM »
I'll drop in an opinion or two that may leave you less excited than you'd hope. That said, if I were asked if I'd move to 7 now, or stay where I was, I'd unhesitatingly say move.

I'd imagine that you could be forced to abandon at least some hardware. I found that all of my printers had some sort of support that made them usable but it was a pain finding the right drivers. I had to give up a perfectly good graphics tablet. (That sort of thing was true when I went to XP from W98). OTOH you will future-proof your machine somewhat. Personally, I find that being forced to drop some piece(s) of hardware legitimizes the lust for new stuff.

I needed a new machine in August so I made that W7-64 (I'd been using XP-32). If you use Adobe stuff you'll find that some (not much) is optimized for W7-64, and running several CS applications concurrently soon reveals the benefit of extra RAM. Games will be more fun (isn't that why we upgrade hardware anyway).

One way or another (thanks, DOSBox) there's been some way to run just about any software that I had (including some custom-written DOS-based business software that didn't always stick to the rules, and which is far too expensive to replace).

There remain a number of daily annoyances. Partly these result from having to fit in with W7's way of doing things, rather than imposing my own will. Sometimes, they're (to me) inexplicable, and fiddling around with permissions can be frustrating.  W7 is both the best and the most annoying Windows O/S that I've used.

I had waited for W7 until the time came for a new machine. I'm not sure that I'd upgrade an existing machine — all of my others still run XP.

The all-time best improvement for me came not from the OS per se but from using an SSD as my boot drive.

  

f0dder

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 05:48:18 PM »
x64, and never look back.
- carpe noctem

hpearce

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2011, 06:05:26 PM »
Ifyou're saying that 32bit drivers exist for some of your device for win 7 but not 64 bit, then I would go with win7 32 bit or wait to get a newer PC.
Windows 7 SP1 (TM) Home Premium 64-bit .. Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU P8400 @ 2.26 GHz / 2.27 GHz .. 4GB RAM .. NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTS .. Gateway P-7805u FX

Nod5

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 06:21:35 PM »
rgdot: Good point. Though I don't notice much slowdowns at present on XP when using multiple programs. Hard to say though when I have so little Win7 experience.

cranioscopical: Thanks. I'm only wavering on x64 vs x86 versions of Win7. Shift to Win7 I will either way. Getting a SSD is part of the explanation here. I've read some who advice against moving/mirroring an existing XP install from a regular HDD to a SSD (the claimed problems were related to TRIM ). So if I need to do a clear install, and also will upgrade some hardware, I might as well make the move now.

f0dder:  :) Concise advice!

hpearce: The internal PC components (the ones I'm not replacing) will be ok I think. But some peripheral hardware devices will be trickier.

edit: my plan was to get an OEM copy of Win7 which are either 32bit or 64bit. But when reading up I now see that the retail versions don't only allow reinstalling/moving the license between computers. They also allow switching from 32bit to 64bit (and back if you want) and both versions are on the DVD. http://superuser.com...ows-7-32bit-to-64bit
So, I might get that, test 64bit and still have a fallback if too much hardware won't work.

Eóin

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 06:22:48 PM »
x64, and never look back.

Not since XP 64 bit :Thmbsup:

40hz

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 06:42:09 PM »
I've seen significant improvements in media streaming and web services when using 64bit vs 32bit Windows 7. You also don't get the occasional hiccups and pauses you sometimes experience when you're pushing 32bit full out.

The time has come. Resistance is futile. Embrace assimilation. 8)

Carol Haynes

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 07:09:49 PM »
x64 if you can. Never looked back.

If you aren't sure about drivers download the windows upgrade adviser tool and run it to assess likely problems - it will give you a report for both 32 bit and 64 bit upgrade issues:

http://www.microsoft...n/details.aspx?id=20

superboyac

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 08:42:47 PM »
I've noticed a couple of applications with specific 64-bit builds that run much more responsively and seem faster than the 32-bit counterparts.  One of the most dramatic examples I experienced was Bluebeam.

Ath

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2011, 01:51:38 AM »
If you aren't sure about drivers download the windows upgrade adviser tool and run it to assess likely problems - it will give you a report for both 32 bit and 64 bit upgrade issues:

http://www.microsoft...n/details.aspx?id=20

That, but also check manufacturers websites for updated drivers for your equipment. And a good Google search doesn't hurt either, some hardware needs specific tricks / workarounds to get going, and somebody somewhere already found it out for you :tellme:

johnk

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2011, 06:59:39 AM »
The all-time best improvement for me came not from the OS per se but from using an SSD as my boot drive.

+1.

I also agree that Win7 is both a much better OS than XP and also a more frustrating OS than XP. I have spent a fair amount of time trying to solve network/permission glitches on my Win7 machine. But Microsoft got it right with Win7, and x64 is worth it unless you have specific needs for x32.

As a side note, I also recently set up a Windows Home Server (WHS 2011 - x64 only) machine on my home network, and I am very impressed by the OS (essentially Server 2008 R2) and the consumer UI for the WHS features. Microsoft can do things well. And WHS now sells in the UK for about £35, which is a bargain for what WHS can do. You don't often get to say that about MS products.

But back on topic, yes, moving the OS to an SSD created by far the biggest improvement to my everyday computing experience.

Nod5

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2011, 02:28:10 PM »
Thanks all, I ran the suggested windows upgrade adviser tool and things are looking much better than expected. Most detected devices are reported compatible one way or the other. A laser printer is the biggest problem device so far. But the toner is running low so I might just get a new one. My transition fears are dwindling thanks to the feedback and  "never look back, never look back" chants here. :D

Ath

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2011, 02:38:31 PM »
A laser printer is the biggest problem device so far.

What brand & model?

Nod5

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 02:21:02 AM »
A HP laserjet 1000, connected to a single computer. I've searched but found no Win7 x64 driver only workarounds using a 2nd networked computer. Anyway, no-thrills laser printers are very inexpensive nowadays so I'll get a new one when the toner runs dry.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2011, 03:44:16 AM »
Never used this website before and don't have a laserjet printer 1000 to try it but FWIW have a look at:

http://www.all-drive...alinux-download.html

Personally I would get a new printer - I have seen a lot of old HP Laserjets that are 'supported' by HP in Windows 7 and the drivers suck big time - even though they are only for basic printing. I have seen quite a few people using official HP drivers that won't print multiple pages or multiple copies!!

My own personal opinion is avoid HP these days altogether - the software packages for all their printers are so generic and prone to breaking. I have lost count of the number of times customers have asked me to solve a Windows problem that turned out to be crappy HP software that needed to be laboriously removed and reinstalled.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2011, 08:10:39 AM »
I have seen quite a few people using official HP drivers that won't print multiple pages or multiple copies!!

Me too, Print driver > Device Settings, Disable Mopier Mode (and sometime HDD - if it ain't got one).

I've got a client with a HP LJ1000 running on Win7 32-bit. And IIRC it is not a Host Based driver...So there is a good chance it'll work.

40hz

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2011, 09:21:33 AM »
Me too, Print driver > Device Settings, Disable Mopier Mode (and sometime HDD - if it ain't got one).

Bingo! SJ is spot on.  :Thmbsup:

The same should hold true for almost any PCL or PS printer that doesn't have all it's 'smarts' running on the host computer itself.

That's the big problem with inexpensive inkjets. The PC is the RIP. The so-called printer is really just a dumb serial output device. So the minute the manufacturer drops its driver support, you're usually screwed.

--//

Note: I agree with Carol regarding the newer personal printers from HP. If you're looking for B&W laser, and have a limited budget, Brother is a far better choice right now. Good reliability, speed, print quality, and bang for the buck. Plus, the toner is more reasonably priced. That'd be my current first choice for home use.



Carol Haynes

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Re: Win7 -- to x64 or not to x64, that is the question
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2011, 09:44:07 AM »
+1 for Brother Laser printers  :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: