I just got a new Dell E-510 and thinking about grabing an extra hard drive to experiment with Vista. I noticed this refurbished computer came with MCE 32 bit installed? Does anyone have scoop on the 64 bit systems? Are they better? Why have 32 bit on a 64 bit computer? Is 32 bit more practical? I guess there is 64 Windows XP Pro and Vista 64 bit. Does anyone have insight about these two?
Your question is intereting, but far reaching. I went ot Wikipedia to see if I could reply "in the essence." Here is what I see as possibly essential:
"A common misconception is that 64-bit architectures are no better than 32-bit architectures unless the computer has more than 4 GB of memory. This is not entirely true:
... [For example,] Windows XP DLLs and userland OS components are mapped into each process's address space, leaving only 2 to 3.8 GB (depending on the settings) address space available, even if the computer has 4 GB of RAM. This restriction is not present in 64-bit Windows."
Memory mapping of files is becoming less useful with 32-bit architectures, especially with the introduction of relatively cheap recordable DVD technology. A 4 GB file is no longer uncommon, and such large files cannot be memory mapped easily to 32-bit architectures; .....
The main disadvantage of 64-bit architectures is that relative to 32-bit architectures the same data occupies slightly more space in memory (due to swollen pointers and possibly other types and alignment padding). This increases the memory requirements of a given process and can have implications for efficient processor cache utilization."
For me 32-bit architecture is perfectly adequate. So, I have a 32-bit machine. I have seen Vista users using both 64 and 32 bit versions with no noticeable functional differences. I would use the Vista version that is consistent with my machine archetecture. Yes, there is a 64-bit version of XP Pro. Apparently, there is not a 64-bit version of Office. You might want to check this read out: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/895361/en-us