To 64…or not to 64


So you just took advantage of some of the great deals out there for some dual core (or heck, quad core) cpus & motherboards. You took the time, carefully planned, and then assembled your full system. Then you go to make your purchase of Windows Vista, only to be faced with the decision: Should I buy the x86 (32-bit version) or the x64 (64-bit) version of the operating system. Depending on who you ask, you'll get as wide a number of responses as asking blonde or brunette. So the question is, which is the right answer?


Well, I'm writing this to try to talk you all out of going 64-bit. No real reason, other than to try to save people some grief & time. Here's what you get WITH installing x64:

  • Some theoretical dream that apps & programs *SHOULD* run faster
  • Can handle larger amounts of RAM more efficiently

And here's what could happen for you:64_bit

  • Drivers not compatible or not written for x64
  • Applications/programs will not run or install at all
  • Even programs that will install, if not designed for 64-bit will run as a normal 32-bit, which is probably slower
  • Future compatibility – 64-bit operating systems are not new. WindowsXP had a 64 bit version which was greeted with very little attention, and the same problems that IT had remain prevalent in Vista.

So in the end, it really comes down to faith. Do you have faith that the developers will increase their attention to 64-bit? Just ask yourself, why would they? If everyone else is perfectly fine with the performance of 32-bit Vista, which I'm sure dominates the number of x64 installs…and time & time again companies are ignoring 64-bit drivers/programs, with little or no uproar…why would they invest the time & money into developing for it?

Don't get me wrong, I think 64-bit technology in theory is great & eventually as more & more people own the x64 CPU's, maybe it'll happen. But if OEMs/Computer Companies aren't pre-installing it on systems, that surely is not a good sign for convincing anybody else.

Don't take this article as a be-all-end-all to the debate, and by all means I hope this sparks some comments from our forum members about their preference. Maybe 64-bit IS for you? Maybe not. But either way, it's something that needs to be considered.

Remember, once you install the 32-bit or 64-bit version, the only way to switch is to do a full reinstall…and oh yeah, you'll probably have to call Microsoft to re-validate your key like I did.