Windows 7 forum


What does a "64 bit" version of Windows 7 mean exactly?

by ewashguy / September 8, 2011 8:31 AM PDT

I noticed in my computer paperwork it said I had a Windows 7 64 bit version. Don't know what this means...thank you.

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All Answers

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Little things.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 8, 2011 8:36 AM PDT

Such as using more than 3.5GB RAM, more than 2.0GB RAM available per app. Just little things.

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X64 Arch
by lushys / September 8, 2011 11:59 AM PDT

While the post the post which contributes to the utilization of additional ram there is more to the picture than simply more random access memory.

So yes, 32 vs 64bit addressing is a main performance enhancement of 64bit operating systems, and since your applications mostly operate within RAM you will see great performance increases with 8, 16 and 32GB of ram.

However there are also other important differences such as:

A 32bit processor equates to 2^32 bytes of memory thus equating to 4GB of ram.
A 64bit processor equates to 2^64 bytes of memory thus 16 exabytes, which is more than 4 billion times the number of memory locations 32-bit processors can reference. This is theory, the reality is 16 TB is the limited address space with 128 GB of physical memory being the limitation.

But x64 processsors are capabale of twice the number of general
purpose registers than in 32-bit mode. Think of all the data flowing through your processor as the exit lanes on a highway. Instead of having x-amount of lanes (lets say 32) with high traffic flowing through and entering non-parkway/highway roads, congestion exists, 64-bit mode is like adding another 32 lanes doubling the exit lanes and widening the route traffic must traverse via your system bus.

Additional x64 architeture is a complete improvement upon x86(-64)
GPRs extended to 64bit
RIP register
Removal of redundant, flawed and dangerous remnants of the x86 architecture
+Registers (additional registers) for example you have 128-bit XMM registers (Streaming SIMD) increased (8 to 16)

Thex86 Instruction set is ancient, which the x86/64 instruction set is based on. X64 is designed to finally resolve and remove ancient technology that has no use or causes potential for malicious program execution and takes complete advantage of the ability to process 64bits per data stream as opposed to 32bits in addition to the extension of address space.

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by Jimmy Greystone / September 8, 2011 10:51 PM PDT
In reply to: X64 Arch

However, if the person doesn't even know what a 64-bit OS is, what makes you think they're going to understand anything you just said? Besides, aside from programmers, who cares how many CPU registers there are, or how old the x86 instruction set is? Does the average person care that it's CISC vs RISC? Or that it's VLIW? There's also the fact that the 32-bit back compat means there had to be a tradeoff on the RAM support, so it's really only 48-bit not 64-bit, and almost every 32-bit CPU made in the last 5-10 years has had PAE. Microsoft just chose not to support that, which I happen to think was the right call long term, but it has the same 48-bit memory access on 32-bit CPUs.

And x86-64 just extends x86, it doesn't get rid of a single x86 instruction.

So again, what indication do we have that the OP understands any of this stuff that's really only useful to programmers? Something of a small subset of programmers at that. For the average person, it just means that they can install more than 4GB of RAM in their machine and that they need to be sure to download 64-bit drivers. Pretty much everything else is useless information that may as well be in a foreign language. Do you even understand half of what you posted, or did you just rework something you swiped from Wikipedia?

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Who cares?
by lushys / September 9, 2011 6:33 AM PDT
In reply to: However

Well, while it may not make sense, this question could easily be answered via a swift google search by the indicividual, therefore by giving a more content driven answer it will not only provide further insight into people with similar questions but also contribute to building a bettter understanding of the technology. What will this person have taken away from the question if they were simply implied that x64 gives your system access to >4gb of memeory. I guess they could go to yahooanswers for the same simplicity.

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The same could be said
by Jimmy Greystone / September 9, 2011 10:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Who cares?

The same could be said of probably over half the posts made here. There was someone over on the Vista forum wanting to know if MS Office 2010 would work on it. Just looking at the side of the bloody box would have told them the answer. I'm all for tossing some money the way of the people who set up the letmegooglethatforyou website in such cases. Welcome to the wonderful world of narcissism sponsored by "social" network sites. Where every moron who's figured out how to type into a textbox suddenly thinks that the whole world gives a crap what they have to say on anything.

That said, there's something to be said for tailoring your answer to the audience. If some code monkey was asking what the big deal was, you could tell them about the additional CPU registers and not having to make double long variables when they needed to do a 64-bit precision calculation, more SIMD instructions, etc. While you still can't actually guarantee you'll get a CPU register slot with a program, if there are more slots, the odds go up at least. To someone who probably has no real concept of how programs are created, it's a bunch of completely meaningless info.

And aside from compiler authors, no one really cares about how ugly x86 might be, or x86-64 for that matter. Maybe people who work on embedded devices where every milliamp of power counts, and all the baggage that's accumulated in x86 between the 8086 and 686 is a luxury that can't be afforded, but even then it's just the engineer types who deal with the really low level device code.

But I digress... Just consider tailoring the response to the audience. And just for the record, the odds of you ever running into someone who would want the kind of detail you provided on Cnet is infinitesimally small. It may as well be impossible.

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Try to make that simple.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 9, 2011 2:52 AM PDT
In reply to: X64 Arch

So I have 32 bit toaster and a 64 bit toaster.

Does the 64 bit toaster make toast better? And if so why isn't there a 256 bit toaster?

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