Windows – ny benefit from installing Windows 7 64-bit when you have less than 4GB of RAM

32-bit64-bitmemorywindows 7

I've recently purchased Windows 7 Ultimate. I have an AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+ with 2GB DDR2 RAM. I know RAM has gotten much cheaper, I know, I know, but I am not going to be able to upgrade my RAM for about a year.

My question is obviously this; will I get any benefit from installing 64-bit Windows over 32-bit if I'm only using 2GB of RAM?

As I understand, the minimum requirement is 2GB & max is 192GB so if the minimum for 64-bit is 2GB & the minimum for 32-bit is 1GB will I lose performance if I chose to install 64-bit at it's minimum requirement over 32-bit whose minimum is half the amount?

I would like to install the 64-bit edition if only because it's the future. 192GB of RAM! that's incredible! Plus I've heard it simply performs better. But that is with a larger amount of RAM.

I've tried to make this question as easy to decipher as possible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Best Answer

I see only three potential benefits:

  • 64-bit applications can grant you a performance boost, when higher numerical precision is needed. If you are only using your PC for stuff like Firefox or iTunes, you probably won't get a boost but if you are using some scientific or higher-demanding applications, it is definitely the way to go.

  • Drivers are usually more stable since Microsoft requires 64-bit drivers to be certificated which does mean that at least some stress testing was done. 32-bit Windows do not have that requirement so manufacturers tend to be cheap. Unfortunately this also means that new drivers are usually first available for 32-bit version and 64-bit version may come little bit later.

  • If you are developer, it may be useful for testing your application in 64-bit environment. When you have 64-bit Windows, you can test both 32-bit and 64-bit behavior.

Personally, I would stick with 32-bit Windows in this particular case unless you have very good reason.