Looking to upgrade. (Switching to 64-bit OS, new RAM)

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#1 Posted by D_W (1735 posts) -


I've been putting it off for too long. I need to upgrade some stuff on my computer. I built my PC about 4 years ago using most of the same hardware in the the first Tested PC Build video. At the time I needed a 32-bit OS to run the version of Pro Tools (audio engineering program which would not work on a 64-bit windows OS because Avid hates the PC and home studio people or did). Now I absolutely need more RAM to do what I currently want to do on my computer which means switching from 32-bit to 64-bit.

Aside from gaming, I use my PC for all sorts of creative work, such as audio engineering, video editing, and game design. So this upgrade will really benefit me.

Apparently the process isn't too painful, but I don't want to fuck it up and am looking for suggestions. Clearly I need to backup my data, but my computer has multiple harddrives. Do I only need to backup the stuff that's on the drive that holds the OS? If so, what about the file (ie games, save files, music, etc) that are installed on the other drives?

My brother suggested that I should just get a new harddrive and install to that just to be safe, but my entire budget for this current upgrade is only about 200 bucks and I'd rather spend that getting a nice big chuck of memory (like 16 gb.)

On the topic of RAM, do you guys have any suggestions? DDR3 type RAM is what fits in the motherboard.


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#2 Edited by Grabbizle (22 posts) -

Seeing how Windows OS 32 bit and 64-bit are entirely different architectures, a backup via the 'Windows Backup' OS program wouldn't work, and so it can be fairly painful, seeing as how you'd have to transfer all of your important or worth-saving files manually over to another storage device, whether it be an internal hard disk or an external disk. If expanding on the current memory, be certain that you attain the correct memory type by matching the following:

The Mhz number

The make of the memory that I own is Corsair, and the brand is Corsair XMS3. Really great memory sticks with heat sinks.

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#3 Posted by Damodar (1983 posts) -

Yeah, it will only reformat the drive that you choose to install the OS to, be that an entire HDD/SDD or just a partition of one. Anything on the other drives should be fine.

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#4 Posted by Vuud (2052 posts) -

When I upgraded from 32-bit XP to 64-bit Windows 7, it was much easier to store all I wanted to save on a cheap Seagate external HD and format the PC's hard disks.

For RAM, people will probably say otherwise but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a game that is capable of taking advantage of more than 4 gb of RAM. That may change in the near future but unless you are using your PC for lots of 3D rendering or protein folding or multivariable calculus, I wouldn't get more than 16 gb. Heck you'd probably do with 8.

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#5 Edited by EXTomar (5047 posts) -

It isn't that 32-bit and 64-bit are completely different or alien but because the way built Microsoft built their "Windows software packaging" is borked and doesn't cleanly support it. This means the only way to handle this is completely clean install.

I would recommend building an entirely new machine where one can scavenge parts from the old one for the new one. Short of a completely new machine I would use a completely different hard drive and install a fresh version. As I wrote, the way the software packaging on Windows works means there is little you can salvage so you might as well start with a clean slate. It should be possible to do a side-by-side install but I also won't be surprised if Microsoft's boot loader borks that leaving you looking for a third party boot loader.

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