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My primary machine is a laptop running Intel Core 2 Duo with Windows Vista HP 32-bit installed. I have 3GB of RAM onboard, and I want to do a clean re-install to Windows 7 HP 64-bit. My question is, is it worth upgrading to 64-bit with only 3GB of RAM? Any help or suggestions on the issue would be greatly appreciated.

My machine can support up to 4GB max, but am not up to upgrading memory right now. I know that 4GB is generally the border between 32 and 64 bit.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Overall, there is no reason for you to move to 64-bit. You'll likely have better performance with 32-bit applications (i.e. most of them) on a 32-bit OS, and drivers would not be in question this way.

At the same time, you likely won't notice any performance degradation from running x64, but there may be slightly higher RAM requirements.

The main benefit of the move to 64-bit is to be able to handle above 3.5-4GB RAM, and to natively run 64-bit applications, which there are few of at this point. Neither of these seem important to you.

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Exactly. At this time, it makes no difference if you have less than 3.5GB of RAM, but eventually more programs will be released in 64-bit and companies will slow down releases of 32-bit software. There's no major compatibility issues with 32-bit software on 64-bit Windows as far as I know. The only reason to stick with 32-bit is if you have 16-bit (Dos, Win3.x or very few Win9x) apps and cannot use a Virtual Machine for some reason. – TuxRug Dec 12 '10 at 8:06
The only reasons would be if you need to run 64-bit software or if you plan to upgrade the memory beyond 4GB later and find it easier to do an OS reinstall now. Otherwise, there's no point in the effort. – David Schwartz Aug 30 '11 at 17:25

It depends. (as usual) Do you have all the 64 bit drivers you need for the laptop and any peripheral devices? Do the apps you need every day support 64 bit?

My 64 bit Win 7 system uses about 1 GB of RAM without apps loaded and up to 2.5 GB with IE and some Office apps running. I have a few other apps running in background (antivirus, etc)

Drivers and app support would be most critical in my opinion.

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It sounds like the real question here isn't "Can I upgrade to 64-bit?" but rather "Is there any reason to?", mostly due to only having 3GB RAM. – Will Eddins Nov 24 '09 at 21:12

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