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I have manually installed Windows 7 Ultimate on my AMD on 32-bit, but I am not sure if I have 32 or 64 bit.

My Windows 7 system (CP) tells me I have a 32-bit OS, but that my processor is a AMD Athlon64.

So, do I have a 32 or 64 bit?

Is it better to use 64 bit? I don't think so; a lot of programs tell at their websites 'only 32-bit'. It still works, but that would be because I have installed Windows 7 as 32-bit.

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You have a 32-bit OS on 64-bit capable hardware.

Basically, this means you CAN use a 64-bit OS, but you don't have to. There's really little point unless you have more than 3 GB of RAM. Compatibility issues are mainly a thing of the past, too - 64-bit architecture can emulate 32-bit architecture just fine in the vast, vast majority of cases.

  • Key point here is emulate which is SLOWER – Jakub Dec 14 '09 at 17:53
  • emulate is perhaps not the right word. It's fast. Very fast. You won't notice the difference sort of fast. – Phoshi Dec 14 '09 at 17:58
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    @Jakub not slower in a way you're likely to be aware of. – phoebus Dec 14 '09 at 18:58
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    I agree, emulate is too strong a word. The problem here is that these days processors have a command dispatcher that breaks down instructions into micro ops, the x86 and even x86_64 cores the OS sees could effectively both "emulated" features of a completely different execution core. I think the 64 bit places an extra burden on the CPU, but I don't believe that the 32 bit "emulation" imposes any speed loss. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-operation – Mokubai Dec 14 '09 at 20:08
  • thank you! I think i'll leave it at 32bit. i've got not much ram, 1 GB. I don't think i want 64 bit :) – Deniz Zoeteman Dec 15 '09 at 15:17
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You have 32-bit Windows and a 64-bit processor. You should be looking for 32-bit programs if you're installing anything. Mainstream 64-bit chips can run 64-bit and 32-bit operating systems. Unless you have 4GB memory or more, there isn't much need for you to have a 64-bit OS.

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There is a good article available here (PDF) which goes into a little detail about the difference between 32bit and 64bit AMD processors which might help you.

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I believe the main advantage to using a 64-bit OS comes when you do computational intensive tasks (video processing, compiling, 3D rendering, etc.).

Your normal day-to-day usage such as web browsing and email will be the same on either a 32-bit or 64-bit OS.

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GRC.com has a great little utility, Securable, that will tell you if your CPU is 64-bit, as well as a couple other useful details. No installer, small download, highly recommended.

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