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I'm thinking of updating my system to an x64 one. I've previously heard that this is far more trouble than it's worth (unless you're running lots of x64 optimized software) as you would have lots of issues with drivers and x86 apps, etc.

Since then, however, I've heard that Windows 7 x64 is much more compatible with x86 than previous versions of Windows, and so I was wondering: Is there was any truth to this rumour?

Should I stick with x86 (as I play a lot of games, including older ones) or should I go for Windows 7 x64 because it doesn't matter any more? Please note, I also have 4GB of RAM.

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Related/useful: superuser.com/questions/56540/32-bit-vs-64-bit-systems –  studiohack Feb 13 '11 at 16:18

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Compatibility depends a lot on the particular program.

It can be hit or miss sometimes, to be honest. Many x86 programs will work on a x64 operating system with no problems. 64-bit programs are more optimized for x64 than 32-bit are, but many will still work.

If you play a lot of x86 games and such, and you want to keep them and be sure that they work, stick with x86, as you won't have any problems and won't have to worry as much about compatibility issues, etc.

The only reason you would really want to upgrade to x64 is to utilize more than 3GB of RAM on your system.

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The link you posted explicitly states: "You can run 32-bit applications in 64-bit Windows with no problems." But here you're suggesting that I should "stick with x86" if I run x86 apps. Which is it? –  Django Reinhardt Feb 15 '11 at 13:08
    
@JohnnyW: if the program is older, then you should definitely stick with x86...however, many newer (think last several years, since around when Vista was released) x86 programs will work on x64... –  studiohack Feb 15 '11 at 13:10
    
So, according to you, games like Fable, Darwinia, Uplink, Battlefield 2, Civ III & IV, Call of Duty 2, Half Life 1 & 2, Psychonauts, Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2, Grand Theft Auto III & San Andreas, etc. (all of which were released years before Vista) are too old to reliably run under Windows 7 x64? Is that right? –  Django Reinhardt Feb 15 '11 at 13:33
    
I know for a fact Knights of the Old Republic works GREAT! One of my favorites I play it at least once a year. But I think Studiohack was saying you can't be certain games that old will run without problems on windows 7 x64. Unlike games such as Crysis and GTA 4 (which you can say for certain will run on x64) The only way to know for sure is to try them. –  Kyle Feb 15 '11 at 14:00
    
@JohnnyW: like I said in the very first line, it depends lot on the program! I don't have any of these games, so I can't tell you for sure...perhaps install Windows 7 x64 in a VM and run it for 30 days on a trial and test your games...can't really do much more for you than that... –  studiohack Feb 15 '11 at 16:06

Do you play a lot of games from 5 years ago, or do you play a lot of today's games? If the latter is true, then believe me when I say that Windows 7 X64 is an absolute pleasure to use. I've been using the x64 version since the past 1 year now and I haven't run into any compatibility issues on account of running a 64-bit OS.

As long as you ensure you buy hardware from reputed manufacturers who have a reputation for updating their device drivers, I doubt you'll regret having made the decision to go 64-bit.

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I do play a lot of older games, yes. Hmm! –  Django Reinhardt Feb 13 '11 at 18:56

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