32bit programs on 64 bit machines
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Author: hmwere
Last Post: tpipkpo
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32bit programs on 64 bit machines
#1
Please i need a clarification and advice here.
Supposing i acquired a 64 bit laptop;

1) can i continue running my 32 bit programs on it?
2) what are the advantages of running 64 bit programs on 64 bit machines instead of 32 bit programs on 64 bit machines?

Thanks and regards

And do i need an i7 for structural works!! What would be the minimum, say in terms of specs?
A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER has the ART OF USING MATERIALS That Have Properties Which Can Only Be Estimated TO BUILD REAL STRUCTURES That Can Only Be Approximately Analyzed TO WITHSTAND FORCES That Are Not Accurately Known SO THAT HIS/HER RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT TO PUBLIC SAFETY IS SATISFIED.
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#2
All present consumer CPUs are also capable of 32bit instructions, so don't worry about the processors. All of them, that are above 2GHz are fast enough.

It is the Operating system that matters for the compatibility, not the CPU. Here are the most significant marks:
+ Advantages of 32bit OS: uses less resources (RAM, HDD), runs the 32bit programs faster, complete compatibility and support of all programs (including сrаcks, еmulаtors, drivers, etc.)
- Disadvantages of 32bit OS (on opposite, advantages of 64bit OS): No support for any 64bit program, can't use more than 3 GB RAM, suffers more from viruses.

If you run 64bit program on a 64bit OS then the OS allows the program to address more RAM (compared to 32 bit program), meaning that if the 64bit program is properly made it skips the slow hard-drive, and puts all the data in the much faster RAM. That is an advantage for some 64bit versions of FEA programs (matrix operations), compared to their 32bit versions. But the case is mostly for very large number of finite elements. If the program fits its data in 2GB RAM, then there is no significant advantage of the 64bits.

On any 64bit OS the 32bit programs run in 'emulation environment', and from my test, one 32 bit program runs about 20% slower on Vista64 then on Vista32 (on the same computer).

I will recommend you to use 64bit OS if you know and realize what are the advantages of that. Else go to 32bit OS.

Avoid Windows Vista. Preferably XP, or Windows7. Ask for drivers for WinXP - most of the big brands offers such, but you should check, because it will be a problem to go back to WinXP if there are no proper drivers.

Go for a distinctive video adapter (AMD/Ati, Nvidia) if you plan to use 3D OpenGL programs, and games. In this case go back from Intel's integrated graphics (this is only suitable for 2D and video movies).

If you compare processors only - take in mind that in real life you'll never can feel less than a 20% difference between two processors, and you can't realize which one is faster if you compare. So don't let be fooled by the commercials! Choose using "speed/price" ratio, not "advertised speed". I think that a CPU at 2.5 GHz to be in the reasonable price range. If you go for something that is 100$ more, and 2.8 Ghz - it doesn't worth.

Assume this: if a calculation takes 60 seconds, then why you should pay 100$ for it to take 50 seconds? It really matters when you wait several hours. Then 20% less could make a difference that you are ready to pay. But for the real work of a civil engineer - you'll feel better to spent those 100$ with friends ;)
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#3
Every word of ynopum is right.

Every hardware combination you buy today will be enough for calculations or graphic software as AutoCAD (last 2-3 years processors) and this is right for every structure you want to calculate. The exception is maybe for very, very big 3D models if you use Solidworks, Catia or alike but no one in this forum design a ship or a plane in his work.
I remember the work using an IBM XT (8088 processor) and the more than 16 hours for a not too big model in STRAP (DOS version) or AutoCAD 10 hiding lines in ST. Paul cathedral (from samples) in 37 minutes. Today all is seconds.
I changed many computers in my life (too much) and I'm using in parallel today 3 computers (different hardware and different operation systems) but I can't feel the delay even if I resolve a model with thousands of final elements. One second less, two seconds more are not important.
I used a 64 bit processor with a 32 bit O.S. and now a 64bit processor (faster) with a 64 bit O.S.
I suppose 64 bit programs work faster and can use more memory but almost every 32 program run in a 64 bit system excepting some very old ones.
Some programs (Autodesk but not only) have different versions and work only in the proper O.S.
I used AutoCAD 32 in Windows 7 64 bit using Longbow software because you cannot install Graitec 32 bit in AutoCAD 64 bit even if Graitec 32 bit installs and works in Windows 64 bit. The reason – cracked Graitec was only for 32 bit.
For people trying 32 dongle emulators in 64 bit O.S. – forget it. The drivers are different and the only solution if you have a dongle dump working in 32 bit is to adapt it to work with one of the 64 bit emulators as multikey or vusbbus (I used they in Windows 7 64 bit).
Remember, Vista is a catastrophe, Xp is good and Windows 7 is excellent. For new computers and many new peripherals (mainly for notebooks where you cannot change components) XP drivers maybe a problem. Windows 7 recognize almost every hardware component at the installation time.
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#4
It is claimed that it's the best of both worlds: The new Windows XP Mode lets you run older Windows XP business software right on your Windows 7 desktop. Windows XP Mode comes as a separate download and works only with Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise. Windows XP Mode also requires virtualization software such as Windows Virtual PC. Both are available free on the Microsoft website.

Can anyone share their experience in using Window XP Mode on Window 7 in particular to engineering software?
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#5
Tested in Windows 7 Enterprise a few moths ago, works, but is slow than a real system even with a fast computer.
I built a multisystem boot and finally because i don't need it every day but only for checking (the main is 64 bit), i installed Windows 7 Ent. 64 bit in one disk and Windows7 Ent. 32 bit in another changing at boot time (using BIOS). It's faster than selecting the operation system from software, i can restore from image every disk without worry about the boot sector and the changes the multiboot agent made when i installed the second system.
If you want to use 32 bit system only install Windows 7 only and don't care about the processor. No reason to use XP Mode (32 bit) for running a 32 bit software working in 7 too.
The only reason as i said maybe an old emulator but we all use only legal software (i hope).
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#6
Folks:

I am currently using Oracle VM VirtualBox. I have installed an old copy of XP-Professional inside it and now am able to run the Bentley WaterGEMS and Hammer software inside it, which were previously not possible to run on my Win & Home Premium.

Bets of luck.

Adam
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#7
all present answer are true, but in terms of processor you should search on the web, looking for benchmark and informations of the processor. I recommend u to search for informations on wikipedia.
core i7 have lots of model, what makes them better was because they had more core than the i3 and i5, and possess more instructions than the previous core i3 and i5.
if u need virtualization (windows xp running on windows 7, using virtualbox, or vmware), u need processor that can utilize virtualization (processor that can utilize Intel Vt-x and intel Vt-d), in laptop there is a model of core i7 that didn't support it.
as for me, even though I use windows 7 ultimate 64 bit, if 32 bit programs didn't work on my win 7 OS I run them virtually on virtualbox, or vmware, using XP Pro. SP3 as my OS on my virtual machine. So there is a benefit using virtualization... and u need the correct processor and programs, also more memory (since they're use for both virtual and real).
the bottom line is that you should check out what kind of program you'll likely to use on your laptop, if most of the programs you use are 32 bit, use 32 bit OS, but if you want more power you can go to 64 bit, as for the processor if you want to use Core i7 and virtualization feature skip Core i7-2630QM and Core i7-2635QM as they does not support Intel VT-d, if your using the laptop for work and gaming, you really need big budget for that, numerous benchmark on the web will give you the clue for the right graphic (it all depends on what kind of game u want to play).
.
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