So I just bought a new desktop PC running on Vista 64bit with 6GB of RAM and so far I’m loving it. It’s an upgrade I seriously needed after having the same old laptop for the previous 3 years. There has been talk about the disadvantages of buying into a 64 bit system too early, but that didn’t affect my decision to buy one anyway.
– A 64 bit system allows you to address much more than 4GB of memory, which is ideal for avid gamers, CAD, video editors and heavy multi-taskers. However, any 32 bit software you use will still be restricted to 4GB memory – you need a 64 bit CPU, OS and applications to take full advantage of the extra RAM.
I’m a heavy multitasker and it’s common to have a few applications opened up at the same time. So there’s not much complaint about performance from me anymore. I did have some problem with 32 bit applications which were quite old and haven’t been updated for a while plus some other which were using MS Access as their application database (from what I understand, it seems like MS Access uses JET and JET isn’t 64 compliant).
– 16 bit applications will no longer run. Although this is unlikely to be a problem, if you use very old software (from the Windows 3.1 days!) then it will not work under a 64 bit OS.
– Existing 32 bit drivers no longer work. If you have older or poorly supported hardware you may find that it can no longer be used. Got a 7 year old scanner that just about works in Vista? You may not be able to get it working in 64 bit Windows 7.
– Unsigned kernel-mode drivers no longer work. Along with the issue above, the inability to run unsigned kernel mode drivers will cause problems for old hardware. (There is reportedly a way to bypass this check).
– Running some 32 bit applications on a 64 bit OS could actually be slower. The additional overheads in running 32 bit software in 64 bit mode could cause a slight degradation in performance. It will take some time for 64 bit software to become the norm. I heard that there were performance test between firefox 32-bit and firefox 64-bit whereby the 32-bit version won by quite a fair margin.
Overall, my 64 bit system has been stable and with 6GB of RAM, I’m being more productive and doing what I want to do at a faster pace.