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Windows Thread, Everyday Programs - x64 vs x86? in Technical; Can someone please explain installing and running x64 programs over x86? I'm now running Windows 7 x64 on my main ...
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    Zoom7000's Avatar
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    Everyday Programs - x64 vs x86?

    Can someone please explain installing and running x64 programs over x86? I'm now running Windows 7 x64 on my main PC at home and a lot of everyday use software now comes in both x86 and x64 flavours. Some of the programs I'm using are:

    7-Zip
    WinRAR
    Media Player Classic - Home Cinema
    Microsoft Office 2010

    As far as I was aware, the only advantage for me was that running Windows 7 x64 allowed me to make use of more than 4Gb RAM. (Hence the 8Gb in my PC used for VMware etc plus the 1Gb on my GPU). But what advantages does it have using 64bit versions of everyday software? Will something like Media Player Classic run smoother? Will 7-Zip and WinRAR extract faster? What use is there running IE9 in x64 over x86? (Last time I ran IE(8) in x64 it neither supported Flash or Microsoft's own File Transfer Utility for downloading from Technet/MSDN - Not checked since) - Will I actually notice any speed advantages running these programs on my SandyBridge Core i7?

    Just wanted to get some suggestions/opinions.

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    It depends on exactly what kind of operation the program does. Using x64 does enable some 64 bit operators so for certain maths tasks like those used in graphics or possibly compression the math can be run much faster in larger trunks. For instance there are certain Windwos services that will run 13 or so times faster under x64 because the math is just that much more efficient.

    Browsers are still kind of limited to 32bit for general use as the great 'uniform platform' still requires an army of badly written plugins that require 32bit hosting.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 23rd March 2011 at 05:38 AM.

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    Generally speaking (at the time of writing) 64Bit on workstations will make little difference, but as software gets bigger and more complicated, its requirements will grow. Compare Windows 95 to Windows 7, and you can see the features of the OS have grown and the System Requirements have also grown.

    It's only a matter of time before 64Bit becomes the norm. The next Windows Server will be 64Bit only and I suspect Windows 8 will probably be 64Bit only. I think Microsoft should of done this with Windows 7, as many OEMs pre-load Windows 7 64Bit these days.

    Windows XP for example (without additional drivers) will not address a 3TB hard drive and cannot address more than 4GB of memory. Someday 5TB hard drives with 12GB of memory, with 64 Core processors will be normal and a 64Bit OS will be a lot more suitable and a lot faster as a result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Generally speaking (at the time of writing) 64Bit on workstations will make little difference, but as software gets bigger and more complicated, its requirements will grow. Compare Windows 95 to Windows 7, and you can see the features of the OS have grown and the System Requirements have also grown.

    It's only a matter of time before 64Bit becomes the norm. The next Windows Server will be 64Bit only and I suspect Windows 8 will probably be 64Bit only. I think Microsoft should of done this with Windows 7, as many OEMs pre-load Windows 7 64Bit these days.

    Windows XP for example (without additional drivers) will not address a 3TB hard drive and cannot address more than 4GB of memory. Someday 5TB hard drives with 12GB of memory, with 64 Core processors will be normal and a 64Bit OS will be a lot more suitable and a lot faster as a result.
    I understand all of this. I just wanted to know what the advantages of running x64 versions of everyday use programs was compared to running the x86 versions on Windows 7 x64.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoom7000 View Post
    I understand all of this. I just wanted to know what the advantages of running x64 versions of everyday use programs was compared to running the x86 versions on Windows 7 x64.
    As @synack has said, anything which is doing "number crunching" will run faster because the CPU works with 64 bits of data at a time instead of 32 bits. For most things, however, this may make no difference at all because most of what you do doesn't involve much CPU use (take a look in task manager at the amount of time used by "system idle process" - you need to "show processes from all users" to see this. It's probably > 95% meaning that you've used less than 5% of the available CPU time)

    I work with people who do try and wring every little bit of speed out of their machines (mainly mathematicians) - I can't find the numbers at the moment but the move from 32bit to 64bit code has had dramatic effects on the speed at which the code runs (and this costs nothing; since the later revisions of the P4 you've been able to install a 64 bit OS)

    Looking at the list of apps you quoted in the first post, I would expect compression to be faster with 64 bit code (but unless you compress huge files several times an hour it probably won't really make a difference to your life :-)) Decompression is always quicker than compression so I wouldn't expect to see much difference there (it might be possible to measure a difference but it's not going to be huge!)

    Media Player should be able to play HD video more smoothly (but given the clock speed of a modern CPU you probably won't see the difference) and Excel should be able to recalculate sheets more quickly (again, probably not too important for a spreadsheet with your home accounts but really important when you have huge spreadsheets with lots of complex calculations)

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    Zoom7000 (24th March 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    The current Windows Server is 64Bit only
    Corrected.

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    I'm into home theater and I've done some tests with MPC-HC specifically and there was absolutely no difference in cpu usage between 32bit and 64bit versions and operating systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoom7000 View Post
    7-Zip / WinRAR
    You should install the 64-bit versions of 7-Zip and WinRAR so that their shell extensions integrate with Windows Explorer (the 64-bit version being the default).

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoom7000 View Post
    Last time I ran IE(8) in x64 it neither supported Flash
    Adobe have a 64-bit beta version of Flash Player on their Labs website.

    http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flas...10_square.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Corrected.
    That really depends, as Windows Server 2008 is available as x86 and x64. 2008 R2 is x64 only and not exactly a totally new OS. I suspect the next version of Windows Server to be x64 from the start.

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    You will see better performance with 7-zip in 64bit. Media Codecs are generally not as good on 64bit so I would stick with 32bit Codecs / Media players for now.

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    Updating to newer versions of WinRAR or 7-Zip will offer even better performance on a 32Bit OS as they'll support Dual or Quad CPUs. It makes compressing and extracting that little bit quicker.



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