64-bit vs 32-bit

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Synonym, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Synonym


    Hi folks

    i'm looking to upgrade my pc as my current one is decrepit. I'm not very technical and would really appreciate some help.

    The new pc will be for trading only. It seems that currently XP (vs vista) is the way to go for stability, but is that the 64-bit or 32-bit? And which version do you recommend for stability and future scalability?

    Plus, i have seen various OSs offered on different manufactrers sites and i'm not sure if these are actually different OSs or just different ways the manufacturers are terming them. I've seen XP64 and Vista with a downgrade to XP64 - are these the same thing or is the second one what it really sounds like, i.e. vista that emulates xp64? If so is that really inefficient and something to be avoided?

    Something else i'd like to know is that if i went for XP64 and so could support more than 4gb of ram, would 32-bit software (multicharts to be exact), be able to make use of this extra ram on such a system or not? I'm thinking i'd like my backtesting to be as fast as possible. But would i be best observe the 4gb limit for now and upgrade down the line when it can be of more benefit?

    And finally...i've looked at graphics cards and i really can understand which i would need. I'm looking to support 3/4 monitors, up to say 22".

    I hope you guys can help. It's tough finding advice on systems for traders and the manufacturers/retailers sites can less than clear sometimes!


  2. As far as I know, 32bit systems only support up to 3 GB of memory. If you have more built in you should go with 64bit. This is information I got while consulting tech support.
  3. Synonym


    Thanks Palatine.

    Yes it seems that 3 and a bit gb is the most a 32bit OS can use, but i'm not sure about a 64bit system emulating a 32bit one.

    I'm looking for a new system entirely and so i'm trying to figure out whether i should got for 64bit or 32bit from the outset.

  4. Synonym


    Here's what i mean about manufacturers being confusing with the types of OS - see attached shot from Dell's page - what are the difference's of the downgrades?!!
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  5. 32 bit supports up to 4 gb. But less can be available to you depending on your hardware configuration (usually around 3 to 3.5 gig).

    XP64 has never been a mainstream operating system. I haven't used it myself, but I know of people who had troubles because driver support was lacking. I would avoid XP64.

    The main reason to go for 64 bit would be to support more than the 3 - 3.5 gig of ram. If you want to go for 64 bit, take vista not XP. Vista is not really a problem anymore after the release of service pack 1. If you buy your computer in combination with vista, the manufacturer will make sure Vista works flawless on your system. You do need to watch out for peripheral support under vista, old hardware might not work.

    Downgrade means that you buy a Vista software licence, but that they install windows XP on the machine. The business and ultimate versions of vista allow this downgrade.
  6. Vista 32-bit supports up to 3.5GB of RAM. Vista 64-bit supports up to and beyond 3.5GB of RAM. If you install 4GB of RAM on Vista 32-bit, the extra 500MB of RAM is not used, even if you use a laptop with shared video memory. If your platform, charts, etc. need that kind of power today, you better get Vista 64-bit version because software does not need less RAM over time, it needs more. However, if your applications are written in 32-bit code, 64-bit will not help make them faster. If you buy a new PC every year to keep up with the Joneses, just use Vista 32-bit for now, and get Vista 64-bit next year.

    Yes, I know the OP is on XP, but most people reading are on Vista, so it is for their benefit as well.
  7. Tums


    stay with 32 bit XP for now.

    The 64 bit XP might share the "XP" moniker, but it is a different animal altogether.

    Furthermore, 99% of the trading software are compiled in 32 bit... i.e. even if they say it runs on 64 bit XP/VISTA, it is actually running in the 32 bit mode of the OS. i.e. you have no 64 bit advantages at all.

    Regarding the memory limit...
    32 bit OS can address 4GB of memory.
    Windows is built on a legacy system; ~1 GB of the memory address is allocated the video, etc. thus not available to the programs.
    i.e. the most memory available to your programs is ~3GB, even if you have installed more. (there are utilities that can help if you are desperate.)

    p.s. Ask yourself, do you have a need for more than 3 GB memory?
    Open all your applications, then check the Task Manager for your memory usage. Pay attention to the Peak number.

  8. Synonym


    Thanks a lot for your replies guys. They have certainly cleared things up for me - i just wish i'd registered on ET and posted a thread sooner rather than trying to find all the answers myself!

    i know from checking out the softwrae threads that you're a multicharts user. From your advice i'm guessing that MC runs well (slick backtests and optimisation) with 3 gb ram, am i right?

    Anyone have any thoughts on graphics cards for a 32bit system?

  9. I run Vista 64-bit with 8GB of Ram using Intel Quad Core, very solid environment with SP1.

  10. Synonym


    Thanks for your post Daniel.

    What trading software do you run?

    #10     Oct 2, 2008