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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit Windows? The Differences

Recently, Windows 7 has managed to increase the popularity of 64-bit computing, even to home users, but most of them do not understand what exactly is the purpose and usefulness of 64-bit is even possible that there are not yet aware that they have used it . Well, now we will discuss the history of computing 32-bit and 64-bit, support whether or not a pc, its advantages and disadvantages if you want to use 64-bit Windows environment.

A Brief History of Computers 64-bit

Before we beginning with the history of this interesting, let we look back to the basic context. What is 64-bit? In the context of discussions about the personal computer 32-bit and 64-bit, the format XX-bit registers refer to the CPU. Register here is the amount of storage used by the CPU when the CPU is storing data. It is necessary to speed up data access so that the optimum performance from your computer. So if it is based on the magnitude of these registers, the CPU with 64-bit registers can process more data than 32-bit CPU that is faster than CPU 16-bit and 8-bit. The more space available in the system registers the CPU, the more also the process that can be handled, especially in terms of system memory. For example, a CPU with 32-bit registers, it contain 232 ceiling  addresses in registers, so the access speed is also limited to 4GB of RAM. It will look great once if we apply in the age of 40 years ago, but not if applied to today’s modern computer.

Although 64-bit computer looks new in the technology world, but in fact has existed since a few years ago. The first computer that uses 64-bit architecture is the Cray UNICOS, which gives a chance to be used as 64-bit supercomputer (Cray 1 can be seen in the image above that the middle). 64-bit computers are expected to be crowded into a super computer or a server computer for up to 15 more years, and during that time, consumers are gradually switching to 64-bit computer, when in fact many of those already using it. For example: in the image above, Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 2 which has 64-bit processor. In the 2000, people were puzzled by the 64-bit version. Why use 64-bit version, while very little driver support. In 2001, then Microsoft released Windows XP 64-bit Edition, but still with a limited driver support. The next year, OS X Panther and Linux Distributions start making CPUs that support 64-bit in some capacity. Over the past 5 years, Mac OS X has not been fully able to support 64-bit with the release of OS X Leopard. Then, Microsoft made support 64-bit version of Windows Vista with it, but still, very poor driver support, until finally out of Windows 7 that can be popularized to process 64-bit computers to the home user.

Is Your Computer 64-bit Support ?

There are several ways to check whether the computer can run 64-bit OS. To find out the OS being used in computer, Windows 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, it is easy, ie just by right-clicking Computer existing programs on the Start menu, then select Properties. The move will take us to the System Properties menu (as shown in image above), and versions of the OS can take a look at the System type.

If you are using Windows XP, we can examine it in the same way, but it may be good to upgrade it to Windows XP 64-bit. The most important step we can do with computers XP (or Vista / Windows 7 32-bit) processor is to test us whether it is possible to upgrade it to 64-bit version.

To test it, you can use a free application from Steve Gibson, that is securable. As seen in the image above, securable processor will test the 3 variables. The first, securable will test the processor itself, if indeed 64-bit version or not. Second, it will test whether the chip support to DEP, which is a security system designed to protect machines from attack “unchecked buffer”. And last, will tell whether a computer can process virtualization your Windows XP under Windows 7. If there are less obvious, you can click on each result of the securable to see more details and what it means. For the picture above, this shows that my computer is good enough to use 64-bit computer, and hardware DEP protection Vistualization.

Advantages and Disadvantages 64-bit Computers

We have discussed about the history of the 64-bit computer and test the system we are able to run Windows 7 64-bit. Now what next?

Yes, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of switching to 64-bit operating system. What should we look forward if we want to make a leap? Here are some of the advantages of 64-bit systems:

We can add RAM memory like crazy

How much longer? Windows 32-bit version or the like operating systems have limited RAM capacity, which is only up to 4096MB or 4GB. As for 64-bit, theoretically capable of supporting the system RAM is less than about 17 billion GBs. But realistically, because of licensing issues and not because of physical limitations, Windows 7 Home Edition RAM system has limitations that are only capable of supporting 16 GB, while the Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate is capable of supporting up to 192 GB of RAM.

Increased efficiency

Not only can increase the system RAM on our system (also depends on the motherboard), 64-bit computer can also be more efficient in terms of RAM usage. Due to the nature of 64-bit address system and how the Windows 64-bit can allocate memory so that we can see very little of our memory system used by the secondary system, such as video card. Although we only put in double the amount of RAM, but it feels more than that because of its efficiency the new system.

Increased allocation of virtual memory per process. Under 32-bit architecture, Windows has a limited use of memory for running applications that is only up to 2 GB, while the modern game, photo and video editing applications and other applications requiring very large memory. With 64-bit systems, it can be overcome, so that theoretically the ability to level up to more than 8TB of virtual memory. That’s more than enough for editing Photoshop and Crysis session. On the use and allocation of memory is more efficient above, applications optimized for 64-bit operating systems, such as Photoshop and VirtualBox, super-fast and take full advantage of the flexibility of memory and processor are given to them. Enjoy the advantages of security systems. Windows 64-bit with a modern 64-bit processor has a protection system or the extra security that is not tersedit in 32-bit version. This security system including hardware DEP and the Kernel Patch Protection that will protect us against the exploitation of the kernel, and drivers who have legitimate digitally which can withstand the driver of a viral infection.

Sounds interesting isn’t it? What about disadvantages?

And fortunately, the loss will be 64-bit operating system is still a bit over time. And this is the loss of 64-bit computer that can be used as pertimbahan: We can not find 64-bit drivers for devices that were old even though the device is very important. This is a serious problem, but if the hardware that we use are produced in the last 1 or 2 then we will have no difficulty, because many vendors that provide 64-bit driver versions. Unlike the old hardware, because the vendors would rather spend more time and cost to support the new product than to spend time and money to support old products. Maybe it will not matter to replace or upgrade a device that small, but what about devices that require a large fee. Well, this should be considered separately. The motherboard does not support more than 4GB of RAM memory. Although rare or do not sound have the motherboard that will support 64-bit processor from scratch, but will not support more than 4GB of RAM memory. In this case, we can still benefit from 64-bit processors but we will not get the advantages as long as this coveted, which is more access to memory. However, the price of hardware is so cheap these days, and maybe it’s time to retire the old motherboard and upgrade it at the same time with the upgraded OS.

Legal software or software problems associated with it

Not all software is switched to 64-bit. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 7 64-bit is not all support 16-bit applications. If by chance we can still run the old applications are legal, then forget to upgrade it. Because 64-bit application does not mean its plugins and extensions can also be run on 64-bit. Photoshop and FireFox for example, are applications that generally have problems like that. Applications are available for 64-bit plugin but can not afford, but plugin is also important. Before we leave the cons side, I will give a personal consideration. I’ve been using Windows 7 64-bit for almost 2 years, and has only one issue relating to the 64-bit operating system is. Everything went smoothly, I enjoy keningkatan up to 8GB of RAM, I managed to run nearly half a dozen virtual machines simultaneously without any crashes, and all very satisfying. The problem is on my CANON scanner that produced the 2000's. Canon does not provide drivers for 64-bit so that the equipment can not I wear. Finally I decided to buy a new scanner with low price, and the new scanner can function in 64-bit operating system. In conclusion, we can switch to 64-bit Operating Systems are easy to use, affordable and sure to be fun. Wellcome to 64-bit!

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neovanatica is a well known professional blogger and Information Technology teacher. He holds an Information System degree in Computer Science.

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