I would like to install Windows 7 Ultimate on a PC with 1GB of RAM.
What's better for me? The 32 or 64-bit version?
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System requirements aside (where 2GB seems to be the minimum for an x64 install), you'll probably find better memory performance from a 32-bit version. Any 64-bit applications that run will have a higher memory usage profile, simply because all of the pointers in memory now use twice as much memory (64 bits vs 32 bits); similarly, the native size for some variables in memory will also be affected.
Run the 32 bit version. Along the way you should probably consider a RAM upgrade. Going to the max for a 32 bit address space, 4GB (if your motherboard supports it) will give you a pretty good boost in performance. Generally you need not consider 64 bit unless you have an application which is driving its use with both a very large memory model and a motherboard which supports the larger amount of RAM.
Yeah, I know 64-bit is 'sexier' but you are also likely to run into all sorts of small but annoying issues as you run 32 bit apps in 64 bit environments, including having to make absolutely sure that drivers you receive from manufacturers are 64 bit compatible, or even that they have 64 bit drivers for their hardware (as some do not).
If you have Windows XP or Windows Vista on that machine now, the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor can be used to determine the compatibility of a system with the Windows 7 operating system, it can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center at the link below: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=20
If that machine meets the minimum requirements, you may want to try Windows 7 before you buy it. You can find a link to the 90 day trial on the Windows 7 Tech Center on the Springboard site on TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd361745.aspx
There used to be nlite and vlite for xp and vista. It lets you customize the installer and take out unnecessary items that would have been packaged. I have used these tools to get XP to run(pretty smoothly) on a 200MHz machine with 64mb of ram, if I remember correctly. I was even able to install Visual Studio and compile and run a decent sized C++ app. I read the maker has no plans of supporting Windows 7.
I faced this question myself. The answer that I chose was to use Windows 7 32bit. The reason being not because of RAM but because of older devices in my system that I wanted to install Windows 7 32bit on.
Some older devices may only work with 32bit Windows because their device drivers are only written to use 32bit Windows APIs. Windows 7 64bit is not universally backwards compatible with 32bit drivers. An example being the Yamaha SW1000XG sound card, which works in Windows 7 32bit but not 64bit.
64bit installed OK on my system but the drivers for the Yamaha SW1000XG sound card did not work with 64bit Windows.
Given that your system has 1Gb RAM, this might imply an older system, perhaps with older devices. (Big assumption though).
You should remember that it's all about getting the max processing power from your pc and getting the feel of win 7. Originally since win 7 contains more of graphical touch to it, a good config pc is reqd to run w7 efforetlessly. So if u really want win7, I would suggest you to increase your RAM first, if you want to get the full experience of win 7.