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Is it faster running 64-bit Office 2010 than the 32-bit version on a 64-bit Windows 7?

hi folks

i have read some discussions on comparing the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Office 2010, as well as the official statements and Technet blogs giving the differences and recommendations on installing a right version of Office 2010. the biggest concerns are for 32-bit compatibility and large Excel and/or Project files, it seems no discussions on performance comparison.

is the 64-bit version faster, actually??

technically, all 32-bit applications run on WOW64, a compatibility layer translating between 32-bit and 64-bit calls, therefore theoretically there must be an extra load for running 32-bit applications on 64-bit Windows. right?

thanks
bbao
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bbao
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bbao
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4 Solutions
 
TimBareCommented:
Like you said, there is an extra load for running 32 bit apps.

In practice, you won't notice any real gain (maybe a second or 2 on load), but once the apps are open, 32 vs 64 bit won't have any noticeable gain.

Additionally, if you're buying a retail version, you won't be able to install the 64 bit version on a 32 bit machine.

So, I'd say you're best bet (if buying retail) is to get a 32 bit version, just for the ability to install on a different 32 bit OS if the need arises.
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lamaslanyCommented:
You are correct: running 64-bit applications on a 64-bit OS is faster than running 32-bit applications as you don't need that intermediary layer.  The difference is pretty negligable though.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
From what I have read, Office 2010 64-bit expects almost everything it interfaces with to be 64-bit as well. For most people that is not practical.

If you really want to use the 64-bit version, find a machine to test it out thoroughly.

I use a 64-bit computer (and have done for years now) and use Office 2010 32-bit. It works great in a 64-bit machine. Remember also that Flash is only 32-bit at this time and most other major applications install in Program Files (X86). So do tread carefully.

... Thinkpads_User
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rindiCommented:
You will have a noticeable gain of speed if your system has lots of RAM available (4GB+) and particularly if you are working with very large excel spreadsheets or Access databases. With Word or other Office apps the increase in speed will not really be noticeable.
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KCTSCommented:
I have the 32bit version installed on some machines and the 64bit version on others - in the real world I cannot detect any difference in performance.
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remixedcatCommented:
64 Bit performance is much more stable. Even 64 bit Windows media player works much better dealing with large song libraries.
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bbaoIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
thanks heaps for the comments.

it seems all of you recognise that 32-bit apps *should* be slower than its native 64-bit version on 64-bit Windows 7, but all emphsize the differences are actually *negligible*. so beside the requirements of accessing large memory space or data files, what's the point for now to upgrade to a 64-bit environment??

BTW, it seems that nowadays most 64-bit machine codes are still dealing with 32-bit data rather than pure 64-bit data, in other words, are not that (native) 64-bit, that's why today 64-bit apps have no significant improvement in performance, so far. am i right??

cheers,
bbao
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
>>>  in other words, are not that (native) 64-bit, that's why today 64-bit apps have no significant improvement in performance, so far. am i right??

Close, but not exactly. I have any number of 64-bit (only) applications. But they tend to be technical applications: Drivers, VPN, Perfect Disk defragmenter, xPlorer2, Foxit and so on.

But many user applications (Adobe, Flash, Java, Internet Explorer and so on) remain 32-bit applications, at least for the time being.

My point above is that Office 64-bit wants all these surrounding applications to be 64-bit and they are not.

So, I use Office 32-bit and I do not find performance to be lagging in any discernible way.

... Thinkpads_User
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lamaslanyCommented:
so beside the requirements of accessing large memory space or data files, what's the point for now to upgrade to a 64-bit environment??

Arguably there is none as 'accessing large memory space or data files' is the whole point!  :D  

While Office may not benefit from the larger address space there are other areas where this is important.  For example graphics-heavy applications, including games, are sometimes limited by the 32-bit address space.  

Another strong use-case for a 64-bit OS is the use of virtual machines - without the larger address space it makes it difficult to run more than a couple of VMs at once.



I suppose that by migrating to 64-bit you would be increasing the 64-bit market segment which would in turn encourage developers to write and compile 64-bit software.  This will benefit us all to some degree.  
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TimBareCommented:
so beside the requirements of accessing large memory space or data files, what's the point for now to upgrade to a 64-bit environment??

Also the ability to access more than the ~4 GB or RAM to which 32 bit OSes are limited.
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remixedcatCommented:
Also if you have a dedicated Graphics card like Nvidia Fermi cards, the memory on that card is counted towards your limit as well.
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bbaoIT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
thanks heaps for contributing the comments. that's a valuable discussion.

cheers,
bbao
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