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Old Sep 3, 2011, 10:39 AM   #1
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My computer is a little long in the tooth and I'm ready to upgrade in the near future. The big question is about the OS. Windows 7 for sure, but 32 bit or 64 bit?

64 bit allows for much more RAM, while the 32 bit system caps out at 4g total. As such, my current system uses 3 g of RAM because of my 1g of VRAM. It's be nice to have 8 or 16g of RAM atop 1 or 2G of VRAM in a 64 bit system, but compatibility issues concern me.

Will my PSE8 run on a 64 bit system? Do they make a 64 bit version of PSE? Is there a performance penalty for running a 32 bit program in a 64 bit OS? What about my Topaz suite - same questions?

I have my guesses, but I'd sure like to hear from those who have "been there and done that".

For the curious, I'm looking at moving from an E6750 to the i5 2500k, from 4g RAM to 8, maybe 16g, and from a 260 to a 560 Ti.
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Old Sep 3, 2011, 12:30 PM   #2
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I am using a couple of the Topaz plugins on Win7 64bit without problems, with Irfanview and Photoimpact. No issues at all. Since the machine is faster, with more memory, and faster HD interface, the performance is improved considerably. If you aren't bogging down your current machine with a lot of I/O to your hard drive, you probably won't see a major improvement, but there should be no penalty at all. Not 100% sure that PSE will function the same, but there should be that info on the Adobe website.

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Old Sep 3, 2011, 4:39 PM   #3
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There are still a lot of devices that don't have 64 bit drivers yet. If you don't mind waiting for updates for some of your existing hardware, then go for the 64 bit OS, but if you want everything to work out of the box, stick with the 32 bit version.
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Old Sep 3, 2011, 9:59 PM   #4
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At first I would have said to get the 64 bit version because it will allow you to use more ram but then I read what TCav said and he makes a lot of sense. What I would now do is go the 32 bit route and plan to upgrade later on down the road.

Also when you upgrade to a new machine I would consider of any of your programs will not re-install on your new machine to get the latest versions at the same time. I know when I recently changed out my laptop hard drive I was able to re-install my version of pse7 but none of my MS software would re-install or carry over when the tech moved my data from the old drive to the new drive.

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Old Sep 4, 2011, 5:22 AM   #5
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Thanks, gents! Tcav, I was concerned about the peripherals, which is why I didn't go 64 bit in Vista, but I now see the drivers I need for my printer. VT, I am having issues with the current setup, at best slow response, but at worst a system failure to handle the larger panoramic files in Topaz. Photo 5, the 'system builder' version of MS Office doesn't allow the software to be carried over to another computer. That's what I have, because it's so much cheaper. That's life in the fast lane, I guess.

Now if those SSDs would only come down in price! And improve in reliability.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 6:58 AM   #6
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The "system builder" versions of MS Office work fine as long as your new computer is the same brand as the computer you got MS Office with.

Also, just for the heck of it, spend a few bucks more and get a USB 3.0 port.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 2:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowa_jim View Post
My computer is a little long in the tooth and I'm ready to upgrade in the near future. ...
I assume that by upgrade you mean replacing the entire machine. In that case, just keep the old one so you can run anything that doesn't work on the new one. Esp if you are figuring on upgrading the monitor as well.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 3:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowa_jim View Post
Thanks, gents! Tcav, I was concerned about the peripherals, which is why I didn't go 64 bit in Vista, but I now see the drivers I need for my printer.
If you would have (gone 64 Bit Vista), it would have been very easy to upgrade it to 64 Bit Win 7 (you don't need to do a full reinstall to upgrade a machine from 64 Bit Vista to 64 Bit Win 7, since the underlying kernel is mostly the same).

But, that's not the case with other versions. You can't upgrade from 32 Bit Vista or 32 bit Win 7 to 64 bit Windows 7 without reinstalling everything from scratch. Sorry, there is just too much difference between the 32 bit and 64 bit versions. So, you need to reinstall everything (programs and data) from scratch if you want to go from 32 bit to 64 bit, even if you're running 32 bit Windows 7 (sorry, you can't upgrade to 64 bit Windows 7 without reinstalling everything).

As long as 64 bit Vista and Win 7 have been out now, I think it makes very little sense to go with a 32 bit version. 32 bit Windows 7 is only going to make use of around 3.2GB of memory, even you install 4GB or more (because some of the first 4GB it can address is reserved for hardware). Anything over 4GB isn't going to be used at all.

Also note that if you're using Photoshop, CS4 or CS5 are only going to use 1.7GB of what's left over after the operating system and other programs load if you try to run them on a 32 bit version of Windows, probably because Adobe designed them to make sure the Operating System had enough memory to run Explorer and other needed programs, with some left over for disk cache. See this document about what Photoshop CS4 and CS5 will use with a 32 bit version of Windows (limited to using 1.7GB that way):

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb40443...out%20on%20RAM

As time passes, I expect that more and more programs will take advantage of more memory, and even if you're running one that doesn't need more, the Operating System can use it for disk cache purposes to improve performance; and you can run more programs at the same time (even if the individual programs are 32 bit).

Memory is very inexpensive now, too. The vast majority of motherboards in new desktops coming out can use something like the 240 Pin DDR3 memory in these listings, where 2x4GB sticks of fast 1600Mhz DDR3 (8GB total memory) can be purchased for less than $50 delivered.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2%20x%204GB%29

Note that if you do have some old programs that won't run in 64 bit Windows that you can't live without (and most 32 bit programs will run OK in one of the compatibility modes), then you can use XP in a Virtual Machine to run them.

If you go with Win 7 Pro or Ultimate, you can download and use what Microsoft refers to as XP Mode. See more about it here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/vir...c/default.aspx

Basically, it's a copy of Windows XP running in a Virtual Machine inside of Windows 7. If your CPU supports Virtualization Extensions (AMD-Vi or Intel VT-d), then they tend to run at pretty close to native speed (as if they were running on a dedicated machine versus inside of a Virtual Machine), too. Note that Win 7 Basic and Home Premium versions are not allowed to use XP Mode (you'd need to upgrade to Win 7 Pro or Ultimate to use it).

Another way to approach it is by using a different product to do the same thing. For example, VMWare or VirtualBox.

I keep VirtualBox installed on my PCs. It's free for personal use and easy to setup and use. That way, i can run a copy of Windows XP in a Window inside of Windows 7. It also allows me to run Linux distros inside of Windows. I also keep it installed under Linux. That way, I can run more than one operating system (Windows, other Linux distros) at the same time in virtual machines under Linux, too (it supports Linux, Windows or OS X as the host or or guest operating system).

Get VirtualBox here:

http://www.virtualbox.org

But, you'd need to have a legal copy of XP to install in a Virtual Machine if going that route. With Win 7 Pro or Ultimate, you can download and use XP Mode without buying a separate copy of XP (see the link I included earlier in this post).

Of course, using a 64 bit host operating system with plenty of memory installed is a good idea if you want to run multiple operating systems at the same time.

So, I'd recommend going with 64 Bit Windows 7 if you need Windows for anything. If not (you don't have any Windows programs you can't live without), then there are a number of good Linux distributions available that you may want to test drive instead. I use Linux most of the time (even when using machines that also have 64 bit Win 7 installed). ;-)

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...the 'system builder' version of MS Office doesn't allow the software to be carried over to another computer. That's what I have, because it's so much cheaper. That's life in the fast lane, I guess.
That's one drawback of OEM versions of MS products (the license is only valid for the original machine a product was installed on, and you're not allowed to move it to another machine, even if it will no longer be used on the original one it was installed on). But, MS tends to charge pretty close to twice as much for retail versions of many products. For example, a retail copy of Windows 7 Home Premium sells for around $189 now at vendors like newegg.com; yet an OEM version is around $99. From my perspective, there's a good chance that a new version of Windows will be out before a machine outlives it's usefulness. So, I wouldn't pay almost twice as much to get the retail version just to be able to move it to a new machine later.

As for MS Office, have you considered using LibreOffice instead? It can read and write to docs and spreadsheets you've created with MS Office (including the newer .docx and .xlsx formats used by MS Office 2007) and it's free. Get it here:

http://www.libreoffice.org/
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 4:15 PM   #9
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BTW, we have a new Computers and Operating Systems Forum that's setup for discussion about PCs, MACs, Operating Systems, Displays, Networks, File Storage and related topics. So, I'll move this thread there for you.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 8:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillDrew View Post
I assume that by upgrade you mean replacing the entire machine. In that case, just keep the old one so you can run anything that doesn't work on the new one. Esp if you are figuring on upgrading the monitor as well.
I'm in negotiations on that topic as we speak. I'm replacing the mobo, cpu, ram, OS, and boot drive, but if I get another power supply and video card I can set up the kids with their own system. I already have the case and monitor we'd need. Not a really easy choice as the power supply + video card = $350.
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