Should I get Vista 64 bit?

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foofyter

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Mar 9, 2005
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73
Hey everyone, I've read and heard so many different things concerning 64 bit OS that my head is spinning. I am planning on getting Vista Home Premium (Retail Full) this week in time for DX10 games. This rig is 100% primarily used for gaming. I have checked into nVidia and Creative drivers having 64 bit support and they do. I don't foresee having any issues with 64 bit OS but I will probably get the 32 bit flavor just to save any potential headaches. HOWEVER, my question is...What is the memory deal with 64 and 32 bit OS's? I have 2GB of RAM right now and since RAM is so cheap right now, I would love to get 2 more gigs. What is the deal with the OS fully utilizing 4GB of RAM? Is it only possible in 64 bit? Is it worth it in 32 bit if I get only about 3GB for my apps? Also, if I do get 2 more GB of RAM, what will that do to my dual channel RAM? Can I get 2 more sticks of the exact same RAM and have BOTH pairs running in dual channel mode? Thanks for any replies. :)
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2006
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32 bit OS' (not just Vista) can only see 4 GB. Some of this is needed for memory mapped peripherals like your video card, PCI bus, drive controllers, etc. This means that depending on how your motherboard addresses this the OS will see somewhere between 2.0 and 3.75 GB of RAM no matter how much RAM is installed. This isn't necessarily a Vista limitation but a 32 bit OS limitation. XP , Windows 2000, and Linux all run up against this with 32 bit versions. With some motherboards even running a 64 bit OS won't help as the motherboard itself only supports 4 GB of RAM. The dual channel question is also dependent on your motherboard. With most motherboards as long as the RAM is all the same speed and it is installed in matched pairs in the right sockets, dual channel will work. In most cases you could have two 1 GB sticks and two 512 MB sticks as long as they were matched pairs in the right sockets. With some motherboards all four would have to be matched. Not all motherboards are created equal :)
 
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