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Donk
02-06-2009, 06:08 PM
I have upgraded my computer and want to go to a 64-Bit OS.
Which would you recommend?

Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2C 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
· Professional Version


Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit for System - OEM
· Ultimate Version
·

Taco John
02-06-2009, 06:12 PM
Just out of curiosity - why do you want a 64 bit OS?

Taco John
02-06-2009, 06:19 PM
As for the answer to the question, I'd go with XP. I'm not sold on Vista at all. I hate the UAC.

Donk
02-06-2009, 06:20 PM
Memory?

broncosteven
02-06-2009, 06:30 PM
As for the answer to the question, I'd go with XP. I'm not sold on Vista at all. I hate the UAC.

I would go with XP also.

Make sure what ever you use will run on the 64bit os.

There is not a lot that does.

I set up a test pc once to say I did it but I couldn't install anything

Taco John
02-06-2009, 06:36 PM
I personally can't see a reason to install 64 bit. Nothing runs on it, and from what I can tell, it will be a good while before it becomes a standard.

I'd stick with 32 bit until 64 bit becomes popular - that's why I asked. I wanted 64 bit last spring when I got my new machine, but after asking around and doing some research, I couldn't find a good reason to do it. I was wondering if something changed that I wasn't aware of, and that's why you were installing.

broncosteven
02-06-2009, 06:38 PM
I would go with XP also.

Make sure what ever you use will run on the 64bit os.

There is not a lot that does.

I set up a test pc once to say I did it but I couldn't install anything

BTW I meant that I got the 64bit XP running on the PC but there were no Apps to run.

Popps
02-06-2009, 06:41 PM
Sounds like you're on Windows, so I can't offer much except to say that all of Mac's operating systems from Leopard forward are 64 bit, standard and also run all 32 bit apps without any driver upgrades.

Boob is banned, so hopefully no one will break into tears simply because an OS besides Windows was mentioned.

64 bit is where it's going to end up. If you're doing anything involving video motion, rendering, graphics, etc... it's going to be in play.

That said, Taco's right. It's not standard.... yet.

Willynowei
02-06-2009, 06:55 PM
I have upgraded my computer and want to go to a 64-Bit OS.
Which would you recommend?

Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2C 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
· Professional Version


Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit for System - OEM
· Ultimate Version
·

Instead of questioning you or advertising competing products, i'll try to actually help you out.

XP 64bit has no support, so the selection between these two is easy.

The beta of windows 7 64bit runs faster, more stable, and much more efficient than Vista right now. It also carries a much smaller footprint on both your memory and your hard drive (7GB of space instead of 20GB, also uses up about half the amount of memory).

Best part is, its free so you can try it and if you dont like it, go buy yourself a copy of Vista.

Rock Chalk
02-06-2009, 06:57 PM
Id get away from XP. A good platform it was but not secure and will never be secure.

Get Vista 32 bit if you can. Its way more secure out of the box than XP is with full out third party protection, it searches faster, has a cleaner look and now has zero hardware compatibility issues. As Isaac noted, the UAC is rather annoying but it takes all of 3 seconds to turn it off.

The problem with 64 bit isnt the software as these guys noted, its the hardware. If you upgrade to a 64 bit system and buy like from Dell or something, all your hardware will be 64 bit compatibile. 64 bit software just runs better on a 64 bit OS but it runs 32 bit software just fine. It does not however run 16 bit software. 64 bit Vista will not let you install any hardware with a driver that is not digitially signed by Microsoft (im sure most of you have seen this warning installing hardware and ignored it on XP and Vista 32, fat chance on 64 bit).

Now, the few software programs that are 64 bit on a 64 bit machine will run better than any software you have ever run on any machine ever. The performance boost is amazing, the problem is that 64 bit software is a bit rare at the moment. It migth be a bit early to jump into the 64 bit arena, but it is definitely the future as it processes code much much better than 32 bit (as 32 bit did with 16 bit and 16 bit did with 8 bit, etc).

Willynowei
02-06-2009, 06:58 PM
Memory?

32bit supports up to 4GBs of memory, btw. What are you planning to do on this computer.

Willynowei
02-06-2009, 07:01 PM
Id get away from XP. A good platform it was but not secure and will never be secure.

Get Vista 32 bit if you can. Its way more secure out of the box than XP is with full out third party protection, it searches faster, has a cleaner look and now has zero hardware compatibility issues. As Isaac noted, the UAC is rather annoying but it takes all of 3 seconds to turn it off.

The problem with 64 bit isnt the software as these guys noted, its the hardware. If you upgrade to a 64 bit system and buy like from Dell or something, all your hardware will be 64 bit compatibile. 64 bit software just runs better on a 64 bit OS but it runs 32 bit software just fine. It does not however run 16 bit software. 64 bit Vista will not let you install any hardware with a driver that is not digitially signed by Microsoft (im sure most of you have seen this warning installing hardware and ignored it on XP and Vista 32, fat chance on 64 bit).

Now, the few software programs that are 64 bit on a 64 bit machine will run better than any software you have ever run on any machine ever. The performance boost is amazing, the problem is that 64 bit software is a bit rare at the moment. It migth be a bit early to jump into the 64 bit arena, but it is definitely the future as it processes code much much better than 32 bit (as 32 bit did with 16 bit and 16 bit did with 8 bit, etc).

Slipstreamed XP with SP3 is as secure and way faster than Vista on 99% of hardware. The only 3rd party protection Vista has is a package of bloatware so heavy that it protects you from using your own computer.

Rock Chalk
02-06-2009, 07:05 PM
Instead of questioning you or advertising competing products, i'll try to actually help you out.

XP 64bit has no support, so the selection between these two is easy.

The beta of windows 7 64bit runs faster, more stable, and much more efficient than Vista right now. It also carries a much smaller footprint on both your memory and your hard drive (7GB of space instead of 20GB, also uses up about half the amount of memory).

Best part is, its free so you can try it and if you dont like it, go buy yourself a copy of Vista.

I downloaded the beta of Windows 7 but I havent had the guts to install it. It'd be one thing if I didnt work from home on my computer. I suppose I need to get another box to test this stuff out on.

Rock Chalk
02-06-2009, 07:06 PM
Slipstreamed XP with SP3 is as secure and way faster than Vista on 99% of hardware. The only 3rd party protection Vista has is a package of bloatware so heavy that it protects you from using your own computer.

SP3 sucks ass. It ruined XP for me and I will never go back.

As for Vista, get AVG and you wont have a single problem and its got a footprint of about 20 MB, hardly bloatware.

Popps
02-06-2009, 07:07 PM
Instead of questioning you or advertising competing products, i'll try to actually help you out..

:rofl:

I knew someone would wet their panties.

Willynowei
02-06-2009, 07:09 PM
SP3 sucks ass. It ruined XP for me and I will never go back.

As for Vista, get AVG and you wont have a single problem and its got a footprint of about 20 MB, hardly bloatware.

Slipstream XP has a HDD footprint of 200MB vs. Vistas footprint of 20GB after updates.

Xp takes uses up about 150mb of memory, Vista, with Caching turned off still touches 2GB.

AVG Free is available for both operating systems and is not needed for anyone who knows what websites to NOT visit, and uses a webbrowser with security features such as IE7, Chrome or Firefox.

Willynowei
02-06-2009, 07:10 PM
:rofl:

I knew someone would wet their panties.

I like to snipe at people who identify themselves with a brand so much that they feel the need to advertise it in a condescending tone across every opportunity they get.

Willynowei
02-06-2009, 07:17 PM
Sounds like you're on Windows, so I can't offer much except to say that all of Mac's operating systems from Leopard forward are 64 bit, standard and also run all 32 bit apps without any driver upgrades.


Popps this is called thread Hijacking, he asked about WINDOWS.

Popps
02-06-2009, 07:19 PM
Popps this is called thread Hijacking, he asked about WINDOWS.

:rofl:

broncosteven
02-06-2009, 07:19 PM
I downloaded the beta of Windows 7 but I havent had the guts to install it. It'd be one thing if I didnt work from home on my computer. I suppose I need to get another box to test this stuff out on.

Get another box, install Virtual server or VMware both are free. Problem solved.

Donk
02-06-2009, 08:47 PM
Thanks! You all have saved me a bunch of problems and a few bucks.
I will stay with XP for a while.

I knew I would hear from Popps. I thought about going with apple but was advised to stay with windows. Because of the cost and my cheap beast would run faster then his Leopard.

NFLBRONCO
02-06-2009, 08:49 PM
Dual Boot XP and Vista then you have both.

enjolras
02-06-2009, 08:58 PM
Did you ever answer the why 64-bit question?

Donk
02-06-2009, 09:36 PM
Did you ever answer the why 64-bit question?

I knew 64 is more than 32 so I was going bigger and better.

Taco John
02-06-2009, 09:43 PM
I knew 64 is more than 32 so I was going bigger and better.

That's what I thought. I'm glad I asked because I have the same mentality a lot of the time. In theory, you're right here, but 64 bit just isn't a standard yet, and I suspect that it won't be for some years still - though I suppose we'll see about that.

DomCasual
02-06-2009, 10:31 PM
I've been running Vista 64-bit for over a year now. I have 8 GB RAM, so I have a reason for it. It's not been that bad - but I've had a few software compatibility issues. They're mostly my fault, though. I've bought the software without thinking about the 64-bit issue. It's easy to forget.

Los Broncos
02-06-2009, 11:47 PM
XP would be the way to go.

want2bAbronco2
02-07-2009, 12:47 PM
I have 64 bit Vista.....DONT TOUCH VISTA, BEAT IT WITH A STICK AND RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN AWAY!!!!!!

Let me put it another way, I will NEVER buy anoter pc that isnt a Mac after all this BS, and I have always had Microsoft OS.

Karenin
02-07-2009, 01:16 PM
99 times out of 100, people's troubles with Vista are user error. I know what I'm doing and have installed Vista on all of my home machines and couldn't be happier.

ØrangeÇrush
02-07-2009, 08:00 PM
I use Vista 64 Ultimate with no issues outside of a few driver updates. From what I understand though Vista 32 will see the extended RAM above 4 Ghz although I haven't met anyone that has tried that.

scttgrd
02-07-2009, 11:32 PM
Just get a live CD of Ubuntu and all your problems are over. Windows is the past, move on and get with Linux.

OrangeRising
02-07-2009, 11:55 PM
I can see some people here hate Mac for some reason, but I just bought a used Power Mac G5 from a government office with OS X 10.5.6 Leopard and I have never been so happy using a computer. I've never had a Mac before but I've worked with them often. Even so it took a little getting used to, but wow, everything is so damned easy, and I don't have to clear out a zillion spywares, tracking cookies and viruses every night. It also seems much, much faster than my Dell with the same sized processor and same 4 gig ram. Mac has some amazing machines.

scttgrd
02-08-2009, 12:05 AM
If Apple ran things, we all would be screaming for Microsoft to save us. The most closed and proproitary systems ever. Apple is the hitler of computers, controlling the hardware and sortware. All windows is trying to be is the software side. For me it's linux, so to hell with both sides of the pay to play idiots.

OrangeRising
02-08-2009, 12:17 AM
I have to upgrade my OS for my Dell laptop, so I'll take your advice and try the linux OS. I do most of my heavy work on the Mac at home now, so I can experiment a little with the laptop. I've heard good things, and I'm tired of coughing up the upgrades for XPPro to Vista to System 7 (coming to an egghead near you soon). I'm going to spring for the linux and see 'the other side'.

Popps
02-08-2009, 12:23 AM
Windows 7 Coming...

"Prepare for Disappointment"
http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/118401

Looks like Windows will still ask buyers to choose a 32 OR 64 bit system, on top of other stipulations...

http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/07/23/important-news-about-Windows-7_1.html

Popps
02-08-2009, 12:26 AM
I can see some people here hate Mac for some reason, but I just bought a used Power Mac G5 from a government office with OS X 10.5.6 Leopard and I have never been so happy using a computer. I've never had a Mac before but I've worked with them often. Even so it took a little getting used to, but wow, everything is so damned easy, and I don't have to clear out a zillion spywares, tracking cookies and viruses every night. It also seems much, much faster than my Dell with the same sized processor and same 4 gig ram. Mac has some amazing machines.

:thumbs:

Popps
02-08-2009, 12:28 AM
That aside, I still prefer XP, as Windows goes. It's the least of the evils. But, it's getting pretty long in the tooth. I expect that compatibility will be more of an issue going forward, here.

SouthStndJunkie
02-08-2009, 12:33 AM
I can see some people here hate Mac for some reason, but I just bought a used Power Mac G5 from a government office with OS X 10.5.6 Leopard and I have never been so happy using a computer. I've never had a Mac before but I've worked with them often. Even so it took a little getting used to, but wow, everything is so damned easy, and I don't have to clear out a zillion spywares, tracking cookies and viruses every night. It also seems much, much faster than my Dell with the same sized processor and same 4 gig ram. Mac has some amazing machines.

About 8 months ago, my employer told me to order any laptop I wanted, so I ordered a MacBook Pro....up until then I had always used a PC/Windows.

The MacBook Pro has been incredible. Before that I had an IBM ThinkPad and thought I would never find a better laptop....but I was wrong.

I will not bash on PCs/Windows, as I never had any major problems with them....but the MacBook's OS (Mac OS X 10.5.3) has been almost flawless and the machine runs super smooth.

scttgrd
02-08-2009, 12:34 AM
I have to upgrade my OS for my Dell laptop, so I'll take your advice and try the linux OS. I do most of my heavy work on the Mac at home now, so I can experiment a little with the laptop. I've heard good things, and I'm tired of coughing up the upgrades for XPPro to Vista to System 7 (coming to an egghead near you soon). I'm going to spring for the linux and see 'the other side'.

Just give the time and chance you might give the other options. My wife loves linux, and she hates fooling with things. Take a few minutes and set it up properly and it will work for your entire family. So far we have found nothing we can't do with linux. Hit the forums and use the setup guides, it will have you up and running before you know it. Do everything this thread says and you are well your way.
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=766683
I have been watching HD movies and hitting the all the nice places for HD streaming with the free O/S.

OrangeRising
02-08-2009, 12:52 AM
Thank you scttgrd. I'm going to take all the help I can get, because as someone mentioned above, compatibility are going to increase with my XP Pro, and I've been thinking about my next move on the laptop. I've worked with Vista a little and it's ok, but still buggy, for me anyway. The 64 bit thing has everyone a little edgy, especially with some of the 'ugh' government software we're issued. I've looked into linux before but was a little nervous about taking the plunge. Same for the Mac. I took the Mac plunge, why not make a clean break from Microsoft. The forums will help. They always do.

scttgrd
02-08-2009, 01:08 AM
Thank you scttgrd. I'm going to take all the help I can get, because as someone mentioned above, compatibility are going to increase with my XP Pro, and I've been thinking about my next move on the laptop. I've worked with Vista a little and it's ok, but still buggy, for me anyway. The 64 bit thing has everyone a little edgy, especially with some of the 'ugh' government software we're issued. I've looked into linux before but was a little nervous about taking the plunge. Same for the Mac. I took the Mac plunge, why not make a clean break from Microsoft. The forums will help. They always do.


Hey, there are no perfect answers. But if you are comitted linux is a good alternative, it's free and like I said it has the wife happy. Give it a chance and check the forums I linked to, you will get all the free help you would ever need. Again, there is nothing I haven't been able to do with Ubuntu. Im no salesman I just like using things that work and don't restrict how I use it.

Popps
02-08-2009, 01:10 AM
Hey, there are no perfect answers. But if you are comitted linux is a good alternative, it's free and like I said it has the wife happy. Give it a chance and check the forums I linked to, you will get all the free help you would ever need. Again, there is nothing I haven't been able to do with Ubuntu. Im no salesman I just like using things that work and don't restrict how I use it.


I'd love to try Linux, for fun. I'm a die-hard Mac user, but I've always wanted to put together a Linux machine just to see how it runs.

What about compatibility issues, in general?

scttgrd
02-08-2009, 01:19 AM
I have two machines running Ubuntu, no issues. Now you have to give a few minutes to get things setup, I am by no means a computer guru but I hit the forums and followed the guides and am happy as hell and running for the last year and a half. I am playing HD video on my Tv and doing all the things I could ever do on my windows box, except all the software is free. I mean damn, my wife jumped in without skipping a beat, and I hate to say she is lousy with tech stuff. Take a few and get things setup right and it's all gravy.

Popps
02-08-2009, 01:47 AM
I have two machines running Ubuntu, no issues. Now you have to give a few minutes to get things setup, I am by no means a computer guru but I hit the forums and followed the guides and am happy as hell and running for the last year and a half. I am playing HD video on my Tv and doing all the things I could ever do on my windows box, except all the software is free. I mean damn, my wife jumped in without skipping a beat, and I hate to say she is lousy with tech stuff. Take a few and get things setup right and it's all gravy.

It's the freeware stuff that's intriguing to me. Again, I have x-amount of apps that I need to run on Mac OS, and I know they run flawlessly... so my business apps (and some personal) will continue to run there.

But, there are a lot of "fringe" type apps being developed out there that seem to run in Linux. Those are the ones that interest me. I feel like a lot of ground-level media apps are sort of tested in Linux before going mainstream.

Again, I love my OSX, but there's something very cool about the open-source world. I need to get around to messing with it some day.

Willynowei
02-08-2009, 07:58 AM
I can see some people here hate Mac for some reason, but I just bought a used Power Mac G5 from a government office with OS X 10.5.6 Leopard and I have never been so happy using a computer. I've never had a Mac before but I've worked with them often. Even so it took a little getting used to, but wow, everything is so damned easy, and I don't have to clear out a zillion spywares, tracking cookies and viruses every night. It also seems much, much faster than my Dell with the same sized processor and same 4 gig ram. Mac has some amazing machines.

If you're refering to me, I don't hate Mac. I'm annoyed by Popps and his constant need to flood every computing-related thread with Mac advertisements. He's very defensive about macs, I think he's got a shrine in his house with a giant white Apple in the middle of it.

I have owned a Mac since Panthern came out and bought a new one when Tiger came out and when Leopard came out.

Their problem, was and still is price. Its gotten a lot better since they switched to Intel Macs, and cut the proprietary garbage out of their hardware, allowing you to upgrade the internals. However, freeware is harder to find than on the other OS's. If you want to watch .wmvs on Macs, it can cost you $30 for a good codec package. If you want a newsgroup reader that can cost you $50 for a good one.

Vista is going to cause a lot of people to switch to the Mac OSX, but after using Windows 7, it seems Microsoft has gotten its act back together.

Spider
02-08-2009, 08:04 AM
Cant go wrong with windows 3.1 .;D

Willynowei
02-08-2009, 08:13 AM
Windows 7 Coming...

"Prepare for Disappointment"
http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/118401

Looks like Windows will still ask buyers to choose a 32 OR 64 bit system, on top of other stipulations...

http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/07/23/important-news-about-Windows-7_1.html

That guy is complaining about SKU's? That doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the new OS. He just wrote an article questioning Microsoft's marketing department, not their product.

I put Win 7 on my netbook and it runs as fast on there as Win XP after a fresh install. That is saying a lot because the indexing and caching allows the computer to pull up programs much faster after extended use.

Its Hard drive footprint is minute - 7GB vs. 20GB on Vista and 11 GB on Leopard.

The visuals are similar to Vista but that is it, the UI is a lot more intuitive. Vista resulted in a 10-15% reduction in system performance vs. XP because it was so demanding of resources. Windows 7 performs roughly 5-10% better than XP on just about everything according to the latest tests at tech sites like tomshardware and Anandtech. And these are just the Beta builds, the OS tends to run much faster and smoother towards completion.

I would say right now, between W7 and Leopard, W7 wins out in performance and is as intuitive in its UI. They fixed UAC so it only asks permissions during major writes (installs), in the same way that OS X works. The taskbar looks the same but cascades with every application, its actually easier to use than the Apple Doc, because you can mouse over items faster. For instance, you can quick launch to the OMANE from your desktop by mousing over the IE button in your quicklaunch taskbar.

But W7 won't be competing with Leopard, it will be competing with Snow leopard which is supposed to run faster than Leopard. So, we'll see how that goes.

However, without question, W7 is light years ahead of Vista. Those links don't do the OS justice, at all.

Willynowei
02-08-2009, 08:32 AM
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TheReverend
03-08-2012, 12:08 PM
How in the hell did I end up in this thread?

Kaylore
03-08-2012, 12:11 PM
How in the hell did I end up in this thread?

I don't know. But Windows 7 is awesome.

Ratboy
03-08-2012, 12:14 PM
Hopefully he made the choice to go with Windows 7 Ultimate.

jhns
03-08-2012, 12:17 PM
Windows 7 Coming...

"Prepare for Disappointment"
http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/118401

Looks like Windows will still ask buyers to choose a 32 OR 64 bit system, on top of other stipulations...

http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/07/23/important-news-about-Windows-7_1.html

What a fail post. Windows 7 is by far the best of Windows. Vista was terrible.

Popps is an idiot. You have to have 32 bit and 64 bit. A 32 bit processor can't run a 64 bit operating system... Wtf are you talking about?

Binkythefrog
03-08-2012, 12:27 PM
This is coming from someone who uses a Mac as their main desktop and has a Vista laptop, but I really liked Windows 7 at a job I was at.

Some pretty neat usability features like shaking windows, automatic re-sizing, I liked the new Windows Explorer and Windows Aero. Also rock solid, never crashed on me.

Curious about Windows 8 and the metro interface that will be coming later this year.

Gort
03-08-2012, 12:36 PM
How in the hell did I end up in this thread?


it is due to the Manning Effect.

chickennob2
03-08-2012, 08:02 PM
Guys, the big limitation with 32-bit systems is that they can support only 4 GB of RAM. This isn't some limit you can get around. If you care, I'll explain:

What does "32-bit" mean? A bit is a unit of data that can be either a zero or a one. Think of it as a switch that can be either on or off. What can you do with a bit? Lots of things. One of them, is counting to one. But if you have two bits, that gives you four possible combinations: Bit A is 0, bit B is 0; A is 1, B is 0; A is 0, B is 1; A is 1, B is 1. To use the notation computer scientists use, let's call bit A "bit 0" and bit B "bit 1". In this way, you can add more bits and know exactly what to name them ("bit 2", "bit 3", etc.) So those four combinations are:


Values: 00 01 10 11
Bit number: 10 10 10 10


So with 2 bits, we can have four states. We'll say "00" = 0, "01" = 1, "10" = 2, "11" = 3. So we can count to 3 (starting from zero)! That's cool. What if we have 3 bits? Those combinations are:


bits: 000 001 010 011 100 101 110 111
meaning: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


So we can count to 7. These are called binary numbers. We say normal numbers are "base 10". In school, they probably taught you about the "ones place", "tens place", "hundereds place", "thousands place", etc. If you look at the number 1234, these place names make sense. You take each number in 1234 (1, 2, 3, 4), multiply it by the name of it's place, and add them together. So that's 1 * 1000 + 2 * 100 + 3 * 10 + 4 * 1 = 1234. If you start counting from zero (and from the right) the "zero" digit is the ones place, the "one" digit is the tens place, the "two" digit is the hundreds place, and the "three" digit is the thousands place. This leads to the idea of exponents, "X to the power of Y", notated as X^Y. We say X is the "base", Y is the "exponent". "X to the power of Y" means "multiply 1 by the number X, Y times". So, for example,


3 to the power of 2 (3^2) is 1 * 3 * 3 = 9
10 to the power of 3 (10^3) = 1 * 10 * 10 * 10 = 1000
10 to the power of 2 (10^2) = 1 * 10 * 10 = 100
10 to the power of 1 (10^1) = 1 * 10 = 10
10 to the power of 0 (10^0) = 1


This is why we call our normal number system "base 10". To find the value of the whole number, you take the number in each digit space (numbered starting from zero on the right) and multiply it by 10 (your base) to the power of the digit space number.


Our number is 3564.

Value: 3 5 6 4
Digit number: 3 2 1 0

3 * 10^3 + 5 * 10^2 + 6 * 10^1 + 4*10^0 =
3000 + 500 + 60 + 4 = 3564


Remember those bits from earlier, and how we were counting with them? We were counting in "base 2". Remember how we said 101 was 5 and 111 was 7? Well,


101
Value: 1 0 1
Digit: 2 1 0
1*2^2 + 0*2^1 + 1*2^0 =
4 + 0 + 1 = 5

111
Value: 1 1 1
Digit: 2 1 0
1*2^2 + 1*2^1 + 1*2^0 =
4 + 2 + 1 = 7


So counting with bits is counting in base 2, or in "binary numbers". Why is it specifically base 2, and not 3 or 4? Because each digit can have only 2 possible values (a zero or one), because that's how we defined a bit.

You've probably heard of a byte before; a byte is just 8 bits. That's 8 zeros or ones. How high of a number can we count to? Well imagine all 8 bits are a one. That number is 11111111. That's

1*2^7 + 1*2^6 + 1*2^5 + 1*2^4 + 1*2^3 + 1*2^2 + 1*2^1 + 1*2^0 =
128 + 64 + 32 + 16 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1 =
255


You've probably heard the number 255 with some significance before. That's because that is the highest number you can count to in one byte. But a byte isn't very big. Most computer architectures (that is, a processor that understands programs in a certain format) have a notion of a "word". A word is a block of bits, and the "word size" is the number of bits in a word. Most things that a computer cares about can be stored in a word. An integer (a whole number) is stored in one word. An instruction to the processor, for example "add 2 to 3", "multiply 4 by 7", or "save that number in place x", fits in one word. When we talk about a "32 bit system", we're talking about the number of bits that make up a word. A "64 bit system" has a word size of 64.

In addition to words and instructions, memory addresses must also fit into a word. What's a memory address? Well, think of memory as just a big stack of bits. You can put any data you want to keep around into memory. But if you want to get that data back, you have to know where you put it. How do you do that? Well, you give the different locations in memory an address. By convention we give an address to a byte. So if memory is just a whole bunch of bits in a stack, we'll find the bottom of the stack. We'll take the first 8 bits (the first byte), and give them address 0. We'll take the next 8 bits and give them address 1. The next bit gets address 2, and so on. So that lets you give an address to a whole lot of bits. How many? Well, that depends on your word size. Remember, an address has to fit in one word, so the number of bytes you can address is the number that you can count to with one word of bits, or 2 to the power of the number of bits in a word. In a 32 bit system, that is 2^32, which is 4,294,967,296. So that's a little of 4 billion bytes. Computer scientists have come up with a way to express that more easily via prefixes. You remember how the metric system has prefixes like kilo-,hecto-deca-,deci-,centi-,mili- ? We do that with bits too. In the metric (SI) system, giga- means 10^9, or 1 billion. In computer science, we mess with the units a little because we're working in base 2, so we call 2^32 4 gigabytes, or 4GB.

That is the maximum number of addresses that we can fit into a 32 bit word, so in a 32-bit system you can only address 4GB! If you ever want to have more than 4 GBs of ram, you need a 64-bit system!


PS: You might be asking "Well then why can my hard drive be bigger than 4GB?" That's a great question. A computer has 3 types of hardware that it can use to store information. The first and smallest is a register (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Processor_register). A register can only hold one word (so 32 or 64 bits, given your system architecture). Writing information to or reading information from, what we call "accessing", a register takes very little time. Registers are very fast, but you don't have very many of them on your processor, so you there's not room to store very much information in registers. The second type of storage is RAM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAM). RAM is slower to access that your registers, but it's cheaper and you can have more of it. The third type of storage is a hard drive, or disk. Storage is cheap and abundant on these, but they're very slow to access. Your computer uses registers to hold information it's actively doing calculations with, RAM to store information that it will use soon, and disk to store everything else. The reason you can have a hard drive with a larger capacity than 4GB is because of something called memory virtualization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_virtualization). Basically, it's specific hardware that can translate the 32-bit "virtual address" that a specific program thinks it wants into a larger address on the disk where the information is actually stored.

Why not use memory virtualization on RAM too, so that you can use more than 4GB on a 32-bit system? Because the extra memory virtualization hardware takes time. That extra time isn't a huge penalty when compared to the very long access times of your hard drive. But it's a big penalty when compared to the access time of RAM. So it would basically make your RAM wayyyyy less useful.

Go 64 bit!


And just in case anyone's curious, having more RAM is good because it lets you keep more things in an easy-to-access place. If you have multiple programs running, each of them needs instructions and data to work with. Your program is going to need that soon, so it keeps that data in RAM. If programs want to put more data into RAM than your computer has room for, something currently in RAM has to get kicked out and back onto disk. When the program that that data belonged to wants it, it has to read it from disk, which takes a while. This makes your computer very slow when multitasking if you don't have enough RAM. More RAM lets you do more things at once, and it lets you do things that deal with more data (like a video, for instance, that you might want to store all of in RAM).

snowspot66
03-08-2012, 08:38 PM
That's a lot of time spent on a zombie thread. Good information though.

chickennob2
03-08-2012, 09:15 PM
That's a lot of time spent on a zombie thread. Good information though.

Haha, well, it wasn't a zombie thread when I started writing it!

Donk
03-09-2012, 08:59 AM
Hopefully he made the choice to go with Windows 7 Ultimate.

Thanks again for all the advice.
I went withe Windows 7- 64 bit Home, Windows Ultimate 7 would have prevented a few driver problems in the beginning.

It works for me no more crashes. Driver and software problems are a thing of the past.