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I'm planning my first workstation replacement schedule to hopefully replace 80 or so computers out of the 125 office. I know the limitations of the 32 bit OS is 3.5 GB of RAM. I believe RAM is the only upgrade that you would do to an business computer. If you put 4GB in them all now does it make sense to go with a 64 bit OS? Do you think typical office computers need 4GB for now and the future, will more be needed? I like the ability to be able to add more RAM to extend the life.

Some users are already on 64 bit and this hasn't caused any issues with our programs that we use but further testing would probably be needed. I believe the only work that would be needed would be to upgrade our print servers to 64 bit drivers.

I feel like now is a tricky time for purchasing because of this question.

Thanks,

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You're eligible for 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 under a single license key, so purchasing isn't impacted in either scenario. –  Chris Thorpe Sep 3 '10 at 14:31
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Most of our computers have 3 or 4 GB of RAM now; and I'm sure that'll be increasing in the future. We're in the middle of a Windows 7 migration and I wouldn't dream of installing 32-bit on any of them. We decided it was time to standardize and move past the 32-bit limitation; especially since our servers are almost all running Server 2008 R2 now, which is 64-bit only.

Your circumstances may be different; but most places should be asking the opposite question: what's holding us back on 32-bit. 64-bit only software is going to be the norm in the future and having made a decision to stay with 32-bit "just because" is going to come back to bite you.

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+1 for stating the question as "why stay with 32-bit" rather than the more dated "why move to 64-bit". –  ThatGraemeGuy Sep 3 '10 at 13:07
    
After reading your responses I just can't think why I was even contemplating holding back on x64. Thanks! –  PHLiGHT Sep 3 '10 at 14:44
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Indeed. My first thought was "What, there's people buying new equipment that are still sticking with 32-bit? Why?" :-) –  Brian Knoblauch Sep 3 '10 at 15:06
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If you do have any 32-bit compatibility issues, you can always run a 32-bit VM with Virtual PC or VMWare and virtualize the app UI (VMWare Unity mode for example). –  Simon Gillbee Sep 3 '10 at 17:20
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I'm with Chris on this one. The only reason you should be buying a 32-bit OS is if you absolutely have to. I've had my personal machine on 64-bit windows since they first released XP-64. There have been a few minor issues, but overall it works quite well with older software. This is simply the way the computer industry is headed, moving forward.

You'll always be able to run (most) 32bit software in a 64bit OS. But the reverse is not true. And that 4GB RAM limit is a pretty hard cap. So why limit yourself?


--Christopher Karel

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