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A lot of buzz has been made about this article. 

To give you an idea of just how bad it is, read this little gem:

"If you move from 32 to 64 bit, you basically need to at least double your memory. 2 gigs in 64 bit is the equivalent of a gig of RAM on a 32bit machine. That's because you're dealing with chunks that are twice the size… if you try to make do with what you've got you'll see less performance.

It'd be hilarious... if people didn't take it seriously.  But some people did!

To be clear, for the non-technical among you... A 64-bit machine will not make your data “fatter.”  It means the addresses where your data is stored will be longer.  But just because my address is 64 Wood Lane and yours is 4326 East Ocean View Parkway NorthWest Extension - doesn't mean your house is bigger than mine.  Likewise, a Word document is going to take up the same amount of memory on a 64-bit system as it will on a 32-bit system.

In fact (at least on Windows) - x64 OSes are generally better at memory management.  So if anything, you'll get more effective use of your memory in 64-bit Windows.

Yes... you will be able to use larger amounts of memory than before, although there are still limitations.  They are:
1) Price
2) The available sizes for memory modules
3) The number of slots on your motherboard
4) The configurations supported by your motherboard's BIOS and chipset.

x64 helps to remove a software limitation.  Although in the Windows world we've had PAE for years now... which allowed the use of up to 64GB of memory on 32-bit Intel/AMD systems with 32-bit OSes.

But that was a hacky way to do it - by shifting the virtual address map around for different applications.  Each app could still only address as much as it could before (theoretically 4GB, though in reality more like 2 or 3GB).  That's kind of how Apple does it on their “64-bit” systems I believe.

x64 removes the limitation for 64-bit apps, and allows much more efficient use of memory in general.

Don't let me undersell 64-bit though.  There are other advantages besides memory.  For example, iAMD64 systems have twice as many General Purpose Registers as i386 systems.  And if there's anything x86 needs... it's more registers.

Posted on Friday, September 9, 2005 3:33 PM 64-bit Windows | Back to top

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