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Revisiting An Old Debate: 32bit vs 64bit

Revisiting An Old Debate: 32bit vs 64bit

If you are looking to buy a new system, should you buy one with a 32bit operating system or a 64bit operating system?

Short answer:

Long answer:
Some years back there existed a heated debate in the technology world about the pros and cons of moving from a 32bit operating system to a 64bit operating system.  

At the time, most operating systems were 32bit Windows XP or Windows 7.  Those operating systems were using less than 4GB of RAM and typically had harddrives smaller than 500GB.  They were also at times being called upon to run legacy software that dated back to Windows 2000 or even Windows 95/98.  In that environment, it made sense to stick with a 32bit operating system because the performance would be fine with that amount of RAM and running the legacy software.  

However, current systems come with at least 4GB of RAM, large harddrives, far faster processors (optimized for 64bit processing), and running software applications that natively handle 64bit.  Legacy software that dates back to requiring 32bit has decreased or fallen from use due to security concerns.  As such, the reasons for sticking with 32bit have faded away.  For these reasons, the last couple years Erickson Solutions has been encouraging clients to switch to 64bit.  

This has become even more true with Windows 10 which runs on new equipment far more smoothly in 64bit form than in 32bit.    Most systems made in the past 18 months (in Windows 8.1 or 10 trim) will come with 64bit for the operating system.  In fact if you see a system sporting a 32bit operating system (be it Windows 7, 8/8.1, or 10) you can be pretty sure that it is running on some hardware that is older or under-powered.  You will want to stay away from that hassle.

In rare cases you might have a system running a 32bit operating system and want to upgrade it to Windows 10.  The only path to do so (without a complete wipe/reload) will be to upgrade to the 32bit version of Windows 10.  You can expect to see a little slower performance.. but that is to be expected since you are dealing with older hardware in the first place.