A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Hello, Playgrounders! I have a conundrum and I need advice.

    I have a fairly good, if dated, gaming rig that I have been running all these while.
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    AMD Phenom X4 965
    ATI Radeon HD5850
    4GB DDR3 RAM


    I also installed Windows 7 32-bit on it and have been pretty satisfied with it. However, recently I have been told it's probably time to upgrade to a 64-bit version, if only because I can also actually use more than 4 GB of RAM. Thing is, I'm not very sure on how to go about upgrading my OS to the 64-bit version. Do I need a new HDD? Do I also have to flash my BIOS or something funky like that? Am I supposed to change my PC components? Is it possible to transfer my files from the 32-bit version to the 64-bit one?

    Also, I'm fairly familiar with computers, so jargon is a-okay with me. (If not, Google is nearby.)
    Last edited by Grif; 2014-02-03 at 01:15 PM.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Flickerdart's Avatar

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    You basically need to reinstall your OS using a 64 bit version. You don't need to flash anything, but it does wipe your hard drive (unless you're upgrading to Windows 8, which keeps something from the old files, I'm not sure). Back up your files on a separate hard drive. You'll have to reinstall all the programs, though.
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    Thiyr's Avatar

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Being someone who is looking into doing this himself, I'd like to know if I'm wrong, but as far as I am aware you have to do a clean install. If you can get any documents/saves/irreplacables onto a separate drive, that's your only real option for saving them. Anything else it would be best to reinstall anyway. I've not seen anything involving muckin' about with anything fancy in the BIOS for that. Just make sure you can get to all the drivers you need post-install for all your hardware. Might not be a bad idea to find them now, make sure they're 64-bit compatible, and put them on a flash drive or something so you can get yourself up and running faster post-install.

    It may also be a good idea to see what the maximum RAM your motherboard can handle is as well. It'd be pretty silly to take the time upgrading only to find out "whoops, motherboard won't accept more than 4GB of RAM!" Obviously that will come with its own set of issues if that's the case.

    (NOTE: as said before, i'm just looking into this myself recently as well. I may be wrong, so I'd suggest double checking before you trust what I say entirely.)
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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Do note that you'll only be able to use more than 4Gb of RAM if you actually install more RAM--are you planning to do that as well as your 64-bit upgrade?

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Do note that you'll only be able to use more than 4Gb of RAM if you actually install more RAM--are you planning to do that as well as your 64-bit upgrade?
    Not exactly.

    A 32 bit system can only handle about 3.2-3.3 GB of RAM. He'll get a little bit of a boost with 64 bits, just not much.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
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    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Do note that you'll only be able to use more than 4Gb of RAM if you actually install more RAM--are you planning to do that as well as your 64-bit upgrade?
    Well, then upgrading would be a waste of time otherwise, no?

    Thanks for the answers guys. I guess the next obstacle is to find a 64-bit version of Windows 7, since it appears MS has discontinued them for most part.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    A 32 bit system can only handle about 3.2-3.3 GB of RAM. He'll get a little bit of a boost with 64 bits, just not much.
    True, but a 64-bit executable also requires somewhat more memory to run than a 32-bit one due to all the pointers growing to twice the size--so the boost would be even less than you're talking about! I'd certainly say that upgrading to a 64-bit system just to make use of that extra few hundred meg of RAM is not worth it, which is why I said Grif would also need a RAM upgrade.

    @Grif: Have you tried looking for an OEM copy of Windows? It's cheaper than the retail edition, but you generally have to buy it with a hard drive or other piece of hardware, and Microsoft won't offer you any support with it because the OEM (in this case, you!) is supposed to do that.
    Last edited by factotum; 2014-02-04 at 02:30 AM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    I may be wrong, but doesn't there also have to be some kind of 64-bit hardware support needed for this to work? Motherboard and/or CPU?
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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    @Grif: Have you tried looking for an OEM copy of Windows? It's cheaper than the retail edition, but you generally have to buy it with a hard drive or other piece of hardware, and Microsoft won't offer you any support with it because the OEM (in this case, you!) is supposed to do that.
    He could buy an OEM copy of Windows with some new RAM chips.

    Given that he's running an AMD Phenom x4, his motherboard should be able to support more than 4Gb RAM, although he'll need to check the actual number of slots available for RAM chips (if he only has 2 slots, then he'll need to buy at least 2Gb sticks to even match his current performance).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimor View Post
    I may be wrong, but doesn't there also have to be some kind of 64-bit hardware support needed for this to work? Motherboard and/or CPU?
    You're right - both motherboard and CPU support is needed, but he already has it. These days I find it's harder to buy 32-bit only hardware than 64-bit capable stuff.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2014-02-04 at 02:47 AM.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimor View Post
    I may be wrong, but doesn't there also have to be some kind of 64-bit hardware support needed for this to work? Motherboard and/or CPU?
    I don't think it's even possible to get x86 CPUs that aren't 64-bit capable these days--the first CPU built using the x86-64 architecture came out more than 10 years ago, after all! Since the processors all have 64-bit support then the motherboards must also have it, or else they couldn't be sold as being compatible with the processor.

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Grif View Post
    Well, then upgrading would be a waste of time otherwise, no?

    Thanks for the answers guys. I guess the next obstacle is to find a 64-bit version of Windows 7, since it appears MS has discontinued them for most part.
    Newegg has 64 bit windows 7 OEM version for 99.99, no hoops to jump over or anything to get it that I'm aware of, not when I bought it back in June anyway. (I also just checked and it's still on there in stock right now).

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    Finlam's Avatar

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I don't think it's even possible to get x86 CPUs that aren't 64-bit capable these days--the first CPU built using the x86-64 architecture came out more than 10 years ago, after all! Since the processors all have 64-bit support then the motherboards must also have it, or else they couldn't be sold as being compatible with the processor.
    Yeah it can be hard to find a 32-bit CPU these days. I remember several years ago, back in college, there was a professor who had written this programming tool for his micro controller that we all had to use. It was only compatible with a 32-bit OS. I admit I could have put a 32 bit os on one of my machines, but I was rather loathe to do that for one class. I had to ask almost everyone I knew and I still couldn't find a computer running a 32-bit OS. Then, I happened across one of my family's old XP machines from back when XP was new and desktops weighed 15 pounds. It was gathering dust in a garage, but that old, dust-coated desktop really saved my bacon.
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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Grif View Post
    Well, then upgrading would be a waste of time otherwise, no?

    Thanks for the answers guys. I guess the next obstacle is to find a 64-bit version of Windows 7, since it appears MS has discontinued them for most part.
    I know this will sound like shameless advertising. But if at all possible go directly for Windows 8.1. If you take away the stupid new GUI Win 8 is pretty much Windows 7 with better performance. I know that it costs more, but if you get a deal somewhere, take it.

    Also, some general advice from a Techie that sets this stuff up on a daily basis:

    - You can actually just hammer a new OS over an existing one. It'll create a "Windows[Old]" Folder where the old OS remains. I generally advice against this as it only uses up space and apart from System Admins, I dont know anyone who would want to dual boot Win 7 and Win XP.

    - Remember to check if you have your drivers ready. A Clean Install also wipes any Video, Audio and Motherboard Drivers you may have, and it can be a pain getting those after you've allready shot down your Rig.

    - If you port over Games, dont forget to also check your "Documents"-Folders for any Savegames! Some Games have very weird saving habits and i've fallen for that more than once after a complete wipe.

    - Also, as a general hint. If you have lots of favorites and bookmarks, it may be worth a thought to port your Browser too. (Except if you're using Chrome, IIRC Chrome ports this stuff over automatically.)

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Subproject54 View Post
    It was only compatible with a 32-bit OS.
    Wow. Was it a 16-bit executable, or something? Only reason I can think of for something to be 32-bit only, unless your professor had actually written his own hardware drivers as well!

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Subproject54 View Post
    There was a professor who had written this programming tool for his micro controller that we all had to use. It was only compatible with a 32-bit OS.
    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Wow. Was it a 16-bit executable, or something? Only reason I can think of for something to be 32-bit only, unless your professor had actually written his own hardware drivers as well!
    Weird bit-bashing for microcontrollers is hardly unusual. My local church still keeps a Win98 laptop because the bell sensor software won't run on NT kernels (and needs an RS232 port).

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