If you just built or bought a new computer, upgraded your computer, or just for some reason need a new operating system, you have probably wondered if you should buy the 64 bit version or the 32 bit one. This will depend on two things – the hardware and software you use.
First of all let me say why I’ll be talking about Windows Vista here. XP x64 has proven to have terrible hardware and software support. So if you want a 64 bit Windows OS, it should be Vista.
Now on to the hardware. Most hardware that’s a few years old will be supported under Vista x64. But to be completely sure, go to your hardware manufacturer’s website and double check the drivers section for your product for a Vista x64 version. My three year old Epson printer was supported, but my six year old Linksys wireless USB adapter was not.
You also need to make sure your digital cameras are supported, your USB accessories, and stuff like that. Most USB hard drives and optical drives will work. It’s things like printers, cameras, wireless, bluetooth, cell phones, and stuff like that that need to be double checked.
Most software will work in 64 bit Vista, but once again, if you need to use specific programs, make sure they work. If you work from home and use specific programs, double check those. Also check any programs that use drivers. If you use a program to transfer files between your computer and cell phone, it might not work because it uses drivers. If you’re a computer enthusiast, you should know that many temperature monitoring and overclocking programs won’t work. You can check your software for compatibility by looking around the internet or going on the software maker’s website.
On the contrary to what people might have been saying, most of your games will work on Vista x64. There is no reason why they shouldn’t. And if they happen to be incompatible, you can always right click on the game’s shortcut or EXE and select a compatibility mode for it to run under. But if you’re crazy about some ten-year-old game, you can always look it up online and see if it works on Vista x64. As for the performance of games under Vista and 64 bit, that’s for a different post.
If you have nothing holding you back like software or hardware incompatibilities, you should definitely try out Vista 64 bit. If your computer can handle Vista 32 bit well, it will handle 64 bit much better. If you have a dual core processor and 2GB of RAM, you will notice an increase in speed in Vista x64. Programs will load faster and files can be accessed quicker. I haven’t run any benchmarks, but I have seen the increase in real-world performance. It is that much better. And if you have 4GB of RAM, not only will Vista x64 let you use all 4GB, but it will greatly increase the speed and launch speeds of your everyday applications. Superfetch seems to work faster in 64 bit. And browsing folders is a lot faster.
So I say you need to try out Vista 64 bit, it is worth it even if some programs don’t work (unless you need them that much) and you will see a speed increase if you have a fast computer. But don’t forget to give Vista a week to start prefetching, because you might not notice the improvement in the beginning.
Feel free to comment about your experiences with Vista.