This might sound like a duplicate but i couldn't find a clear answer in any of the questions answered in this site or any other.

I have a laptop with AMD Athlon(tm) II Dual-Core M320 processor which supports 64-bit and it has 3GB DDR2 RAM.

Currently I am having Windows 7 64-bit OS installed.Now i'm about to upgrade it to Windows 8.I was wondering whether i should go for a 64-bit one or 32-bit one...

Now i know that 64-bit Operating System is better if you have a RAM higher than or equal to 4GB. Since i have a processor which supports 64-bit would it be a disadvantage to go for a 32-bit OS?

Which Operating System Would be best for me, X64 or X86 ?

  • Go with x64 because of the increased address space. You might have "only" 3GB of RAM, but with Windows 8 x86 that might not all be addressable. Apr 20, 2013 at 10:09

4 Answers 4


While some processes my have a larger memory footprint in their 32-bit variants the difference is usually negligable, so I would go with 64-bit for the following reasons:

  • You may upgrade the machine to have more than 3Gb RAM at a later date: it will be far easier to take advantage of this with a 64-bit base OS.
  • You state you are upgrading from 7/x64: that way installing 8/i386 will essentially be a full over-the-top reinstall rather than an upgrade. While a proper upgrade my leave you needing to reinstall/reconfigure apps anyway, going 64->32 will garantee that requirement.
  • Stability/compatability: I suspect that most developers are using 64-bit environments and expecting new installations to be that way, so if there is a difference in stability it is likely to favour the 64-bit environment as that is what is more rigorously tested against. This would be true for both applications and drivers for new hardware.
  • If you run very memory hungry applications/services such as someimage/video editing tasks or SQL Server then they will be able to use more than 3GB of memory by use of virtual memory (though this will be slow). In fact the default per-process limit in 32-bit Windows is 2Gb.
  • Some applications/services that use memory-mapped files for file access such as some "noSQL" solutions will have files limited to 2Gb in a 32-bit environment even if they only need to have a small part of the file in RAM at any given time.

Of course there are a couple of reasons why you might want to go for 32-bit:

  • IIRC 64-bit Windows completely drops support for 16-bit applications so if you have some really old legacy applications this might be a consideration. Of course you could just run those in a virtual environment (using a 32-bit instance in a VM) instead.
  • Similarly if you have some older hardware that you wish to use and can not afford to replace with newer kit you might find that good drivers for 64-bit environments do not exist.

The only advantage I know that Windows 32 bit has over Windows 64 bit is, it can run 16 bit DOS applications natively (after a fashion). You will probably get better streaming media support when using an 64 bit build of avi libraries.

  • Thanxx! But i won't be running any legacy apps. :) Apr 20, 2013 at 15:13

I am into Computer Engineering and Graphic Design. Some multimedia programs such as Adobe Suite CS6 and upwards need a 64 bit OS in order to handle the heavy processing load better.

Almost all 32 bit applications run effectively in a 64 bit environment. If your processor can handle it, you should always go for 64 bit.


If your CPU supports 64-bit, install Windows8 X64! Installing a 32-bit OS is silly because you can't use the full power of your CPU,

Also, maybe you will want to upgrade your RAM later and 32-bit OSs only support 3.5GB of RAM.

The disadvantage of a 64-bit Os is that some (few) 32-bit software don't work on it.

  • 3
    Please do not highlight random words in your post with backticks. You should only do that for code. Thanks.
    – slhck
    Apr 20, 2013 at 8:19

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