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Hey. I'm planning on buying a desktop, but I'm a little confused as to the difference between 32-bit Vista and 64-bit Vista, and exactly what those differences entail.

Now, I think the technical difference is the size of the memory bus. Well, if I'm right, I'm not exactly sure what that means. Does it mean that the address of a memory location can be 32/64 bits long? Or does it have to do with accessing memory? Or both? I could use some clarification on that.

Now, I've also heard that one of the results of this is that a 32-bit OS can only deal with up to 4GB of RAM. However, I've also heard 3 GB. An article I read said that the limit was 4GB, but some computers register less than this because some of the memory is used for address mapping. Is the whether you have a 32/64 bit OS relevant to this space taken up for address mapping?

And lastly, I heard that software designed for a 64-bit OS won't work on a 32-bit. That makes sense, but I'm unclear as to whether software designed for a 32-bit OS will work on a 64-bit.

Please and thank you.

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Last Post by CoolGamer48
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Your info is basically correct.
Memory limits:
32 Bit: 2^32 addresses available (4,294,967,296)= 4.3 GB. Some of this memory space is limited, as you noted, so only 3.2GB is usually available.
64 Bit 2^64 addresses available (18446744073709551616)
17.2 billion gigabytes
This number is limited by the motherboard in question. My ASUS board, for example, will only handle 4 GB.
64 bit computing is more or less the norm now. 32 bit software works fine on 64 bit platforms, but the reverse is not so.
See here for more:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit

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>64 bit computing is more or less the norm now.
I'm a gamer/aspiring game programmer, and I'm getting a computer mostly for gaming. Right now I'm torn between HP and Dell. Dell doesn't offer a 64-bit OS with the model I want, but the HP model doesn't have as good of a video card as Dell. Are there many 64-bit games?

Also, perhaps a more important question, if I'm only getting 4GB of RAM, will a 64-bit OS help me at all? Is that fact that Vista recognizes only around 3.xGB related to the fact that it's 32-bit, or will that memory be used up even in 64-bit Vista?

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I'm not aware of any 64 bit games, but it doesn't matter, as 32 Bit software works just fine on a 64 bit platform.
a 32 Bit OS doesn't really use 4 GB of memory, as part of it is already assigned to other functions.
64 bit software is lagging behind, but it will catch up.

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I'm not aware of any 64 bit games, but it doesn't matter, as 32 Bit software works just fine on a 64 bit platform.

I know, but like I said, Dell's offering a better video card, but no 64-bit OS, while HP has the 64-bit OS, but a slightly worse video card. So if there aren't too many 64-bit games, I'd prob go with the Dell.

a 32 Bit OS doesn't really use 4 GB of memory, as part of it is already assigned to other functions.

Will that part of it not be used with a 64-bit OS? (assuming I still have 4GB of physical)

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