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From among the flavors of Windows 7, Home Basic, Pro, Ultimate, what is the most optimal for DX11 gaming? Does the Ultimate version have "vastly superior" features when it comes to gaming?

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I would avoid Home Basic, but any of the others should be equally okay for gaming. There are other reasons you may want to prefer one over another, but none of those have anything to do with serious gaming.

Word size, on the other hand, is important. You should definitely prefer the x64 version of whatever edition you choose over the x86, mainly because the x64 version will allow you to use more RAM, and RAM will ulitmately have a huge impact on gaming.

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This; you're not going to notice any differences. All the differences in featuresets are irrelevant in terms of things like memory utilization, 3D rendering, etc; games are games. (For that matter, 90% of the time apps are apps.) –  Shinrai Aug 10 '10 at 22:46
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Home Basic limits the number of running applications to 3 so that's to be avoided. Ultimate is very similar to Pro it just has a couple of extra features that are irrelevant to gaming. (Bit-locker, language switching)

You're best bet is Home Premium in terms of cost and functionality. (Unless you need Windows XP mode for some software in which case Pro is the OS to choose).

As Joel has stated it's always better to go for 64bit OS's these days if you have 4GB of RAM or more it's essential.

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None. None of the versions you've mentioned have any advantages over another for gaming.

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