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64 Bit Question

Posted on 2014-02-24
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Last Modified: 2014-02-25
I need some help with understanding this "64-Bit" thing. I have a laptop that came brand new with Win7 64 Bit OS. I have heard that 64 bit is better that 32 Bit. Here's my question... Does the hardware that a 64-Bit OS is installed on have to be a "64 Bit" machine?

Thanks
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Question by:pcwizz1
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LVL 19

Assisted Solution

by:helpfinder
helpfinder earned 25 total points
ID: 39884126
if you are running 64-bit OS you can ran 64 bit applications/software as well as 32-bit. Difference is that if you have 64-bit OS (what means your CPU supports 64-bit) it can handle 64-bit apps/SW more effectively that 32-bit.
You won´t do anything wrong if you will have 32-bit apps installed and in use, but if you have option to install 64-bit version it´s vwise to do it (if you do not have any compatibility issues.
Also on 32-bit win OS you can use max 3,2GB of RAM, on 64-bit win OS you are not limited by OS (OK, there is a limit but not just 3,2GB, but motherboard manufacturer so you can easily use 8 GB, 16GB or more RAM (if mobo allows you)
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:epichero22
epichero22 earned 25 total points
ID: 39884127
You can have it on a 32-bit machine as it is backwards compatible, but I do not recommend this.  64-bit supports the newest hardware standards, namely that it allows computers to go beyond 4GB of memory, which is becoming the standard these days.
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:tailoreddigital
tailoreddigital earned 25 total points
ID: 39884130
Yes, the processor has to support 64 bit to run a x64 operating system.
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 25 total points
ID: 39884185
I'm not sure if I totally follow your question, but I think you're asking if do you need to have 64 bit hardware to use a 64-bit OS?
If so, the answer is Yes, but only for a narrow range of components - essentially the CPU, which then also defines the motherboard.  
Everything else will just do as it's told.  

A couple of useful links:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/32-bit-and-64-bit-explained.htm
and
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-NZ/windows7/taking-the-mystery-out-of-64-bit-windows

CPU list:
http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/CPU.html
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LVL 93

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 400 total points
ID: 39884258
A 64-bit Operating System needs a 64-bit hardware machine (as has been noted above). Most of the drivers (NIC, video usually, audio and so on) need to be 64-bit drivers. Either the vendor will supply both or a package that will self select.

From there, it gets murkier. Office should be 32-bit. Microsoft continues not to recommend 64-bit Office. Adobe is 32-bit. So then Flash, Shockwave, and Java are all best 32-bit.

Other packages may be either if they do no rely on Office underpinnings. So for example, WinZip is 64-bit, and I have a bunch of techie packages that run 64-bit.

There is no drawback to 32-bit Office. It works fine. The 64-bit operating system is faster and can use more memory and that helps everything.
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Author Comment

by:pcwizz1
ID: 39884468
Thank you all for your input...

Another question on this 64bit thing...


I can tell if my processor is 64 bit compatible? Is there a site that lists them or an app that can check?

Mine is a Dell 3.00 gigahertz Intel Pentium 4.

Thanks...
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LVL 93

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 400 total points
ID: 39884473
A Pentium 4 was never a 64-bit processor. Those were all 32-bit machines as far as I recall. They are single core CPU's.  See this Wiki reference article about that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_4
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Author Comment

by:pcwizz1
ID: 39884525
Hi John,

Thank you for your help. I pinged the Dell site and found the configuration of my computer. yes, it is 9 years old but thank God it still works well. I have 8MB of ram installed with XP. Sooooo only 3.25 MB of ram are currently being used. I am upgrading to Win 7 32Bit, but would like to go to 8.1 64 bit is I can.

I would just like to be sure. Thanks again to all for helping me out.
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Author Comment

by:pcwizz1
ID: 39884530
Also.....

I just used Belrac to check my configuration and curiously enough where it mentions the processor it indicates that it is "64 bit ready:. I not sure what that means exactly. I am not even sure if this Belrac app is accurate.  Thanks for your expert input.
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LVL 93

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 400 total points
ID: 39884533
You would need something more modern than that to run Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit. That is what I am running now and the laptop CPU has 4 cores.
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Author Comment

by:pcwizz1
ID: 39884535
Thanks John... Another question...

In your opinion do you think I can run Win7 64 Bit on this machine?
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LVL 93

Accepted Solution

by:
John Hurst earned 400 total points
ID: 39884543
Even though the "initial 32-bit x86 instruction set of the Pentium 4 microprocessors was extended by the 64-bit x86-64 set" (Quoted from Wiki above), I don't think this means it is a 64-bit machine (like modern ones) so then it is not likely to run Windows 7 64-bit.
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Author Comment

by:pcwizz1
ID: 39884557
Thanks John...
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39884572
@pcwizz1 - Thank you, and I was happy to help.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 39887477
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