No reason for me to avoid the 64 bit WIndows 7 machines. Since the day 7 arrived I've been using mine daily for work and more. I won't be going back to 32 bit. Not a single reason here to do that. ALL my apps run on 64 bit fine.
As to RAM, it's hard to avoid a 4GB machine today. The difference in performance from 3 to 4GB ram should be a single digit point.
"don't want a sudden full system virus scan to slow things to a crawl if I happen to open Photoshop Elements."
Sorry but today NO system exists that would not slow down during a full system virus scan. Why not schedule that for when you are not on the machine?
I have been on an on-again, off-again search for a new desktop for work. The nice thing is prices keep going down while speed keeps going up. Trying to decide on whether I really need a 64bit/4GB RAM+ Windows 7 Pro system , or if 32 bit/3-4GB RAM config is sufficient. First, I plan on keeping it for at least three years, so I figure a little overkill on specs will give me a longer lifespan.
The type of uses are Internet, Word, Quickbooks, Coreldraw, Photoshop Elements, etc. though not open all at the same time. I sometimes have three browser windows, a Word doc and maybe a couple folders open at once, and don't want a sudden full system virus scan to slow things to a crawl if I happen to open Photoshop Elements.
How do I decide if 64bit/4GB RAM is necessary?