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OEM or Retail? 32bit or 64bit?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
First off i would just like to say that i have indeed used the search feature but have found no FAQS on these subjects. If you find them let me know and i will delete everything i have said. Also in the likely event that this is full of none sense then please tell me and i will also delete the thread This is my first FAQ so it isn't going to be perfect

OK I have seen a lot of these threads and so I thought I would try and shed some light on the positives and negatives of these issues.

We will first start with OEM or Retail:

A lot of people have doubts whether Retail is worth the money you have to pay. Some people just wonder why you need Retail when OEM does the exact same thing. Or maybe some people just don’t fully understand the difference of the two.

So I will try and explain in the simplest form possible. However some things may not be easy to put into words so bear with me.

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer

This is a bare bones operating system. Once activated you get exactly what you would get if you bought retail, including service packs and security updates with no limitations to the OS regarding functionality the only differences are behind the scenes regarding things such as legislation and support.

However OEM was designed initially for system builders, you get just ONE install which is bound to the computer you install it on. More significantly it is bound to the motherboard and the other essential hardware. There is a hidden ‘points’ system which monitors your computer and detects hardware changes, once you have done enough hardware changes to classify the system as a different computer. The OS will lock and cannot be re-activated. Typical things like a motherboard change will act as a different system, the OS will become unusable and the key will be black listed so to speak.

You can install this copy on the same system as many times as you want. So don’t worry if you have to re-install the operating system if your OS goes corrupt or if you get a RAID 0 failure some were down the line. Also because it was initially intended for system builders you do not get the Microsoft free phone support that the retail package offers. This is because this is a system builder’s software and they are supposed to provide the support, the only other thing which you do not get compared to the retail package is usually the manufacturers warranty is only 1 month (or so I believe, I couldn’t find much information on this part) but warranty is not a major factor for an operating system so it is negligible to a certain extent of users.

Retail

This can cost more than double the price of an OEM for a few reasons. You get a full warranty, free phone support and un-restricted access with the operating system. You have the freedom to upgrade the machine it is on without the operating system locking and you can also put the OS on any computer you desire. However when you buy this, you only get one license and one key! Which means the OS can only be used on one computer at a time.


Now for the positives and negatives:

OEM

Positives

• Costs significantly less than a retail package
• You still get the exact same operating as any retail package with no limitations or locked features. This includes security updates and crucial service packs
• Perfect for the user who doesn’t upgrade a lot

Negatives

• Can only be used for one computer. Regardless of whether the computer dies, the OS can not be re-funded or activated on a different machine to compensate for the loss of the computer
• Limited warranty
• No free phone support
• Doesn’t allow the freedom for upgrades

Retail

Positives

• You get a full warranty
• Full free phone support
• The freedom to upgrade or change system whilst keeping your OS legitimate
• You get a cool box so you can feel good

Negatives

• It can cost more than double that of OEM packages for the exact same software content
• Would be deemed pointless for those who don’t upgrade

From these I hope you can decide whether OEM or Retail is for you. However if you are an enthusiast and upgrade a lot, it is wiser to pay one big price for the Retail package rather than the possibility of buying multiple OEMs as it will be cheaper in the long run.












32bit or 64bit?

Now onto the Operating System itself. I will have to keep this rather brief as there isn’t much information on the web about these issues. I have seen this question asked a lot so I thought I would try and answer this as well.

The only thing I can really talk about with respect to this is the amount of memory you will want.

32bit operating systems can only accept 4GB of physical memory. Now before you question me and say “no it cannot”, allow me to explain. 32bit has a physical memory limitation of 4GB and so no more can be recognised after that point, however this bandwidth includes other things that use memory such as the GPU and various PCI cards. This takes up some of that memory bandwidth so when you insert 4GB of RAM you will only see about 3 – 3.25GB of it. Due to the other things taking up the space as well, for example a 512mb GPU and a sound card with on board RAM

I am not going to pretend I know what I am talking about on this subject so see here for details Explanation

64bit is coded to remove that memory limitation and can accept 8GB+ of RAM, how ever that much would only be used in industrial servers and such.

This means it will register your full 4GB of RAM as well as your GPU and other things so you don’t need to worry about limitations.

This does not necessarily make your computer faster as having more RAM (which is un-needed) can actually slow the computer down. This is because the computer will have to search through 4GB of RAM to find the data it is looking for compared to looking through 2GB. It is like looking for a folder in one room or an office. It is obviously quicker is the search area is a lot smaller.

Also in most general applications 64bit has not shown many improvements over a 32bit OS.

This however does not make 64bit pointless. It is strong when used in conjunction with 64bit operations that are RAM intensive like coding. An average user will not see the benefit of this until 64bit becomes more main stream and is coded for a lot more programmes.

64bit also has driver issues, because it isn’t mainstream companies tend not to code drivers for hardware/software for 64bit compatibility due to supply and demand. However that is all changing, Windows is steadily forcing 64bit and programmes are steadily needing more and more RAM. So for the long run, yes it is a wise choice to go 64bit. However for the near future you may encounter some bugs and incompatibilities with things such as printers, scanners or even software. So do your research before you upgrade and see if all your hardware/software is supported by 64bit.

If you are unsure, wait it out. Wait until they force 32 bit out the window just like they did 16bit. Then they will have no choice but to provide drivers and make things compatible. That is when you will see a performance leap in 64bit programming.

Obviously this isn't the most in-depth FAQ you have ever seen, but programming and coding aren't exactly my area of expertise.
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post #2 of 12
This explains almost everything.
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post #3 of 12
Quote:
64bit is coded to remove that memory limitation and can accept 100GB+ of RAM, how ever that much would only be used in industrial servers and such.
You might want to change this to 8GB+. All versions of 64-bit OS artifically limit the maximum RAM. Vista Premium is allowed only 16GB while Ultimate is allowed 128GB.
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post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TaiDinh View Post
This explains almost everything.
I disagree, i decided to remove the FAQ title off it. Because IMO someone else could do a hell of a lot better. So when that time comes they can do an official FAQ

EDIT: Thanks Duck, will change that. Just went by what i have read and researched.
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post #5 of 12
64-bit application also benefit from a 64-bit system and OS. For example, I know a MatLab program use to take around 2hrs to run under 32-bit. With 64-bit, process time was reduced to around 50 mins.

These programs tend to be mathematical, scientific, model, etc type applications.
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post #6 of 12
Nice......

There is a lot of 64bit drivers out there...

I think that some issues evolve from the new vista supporting currant apps.

Most games run on 64bit as well..... I would go 64bit vista and dual boot XP32bit.... use the xp32bit for biz apps that don't work with vista and are not 64bit compatable.

Just my two pennies,,,,,, I could go on and on.....
    
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post
64-bit application also benefit from a 64-bit system and OS. For example, I know a MatLab program use to take around 2hrs to run under 32-bit. With 64-bit, process time was reduced to around 50 mins.

These programs tend to be mathematical, scientific, model, etc type applications.
Yea, from what i gathered it was only beneficial when specifically coded for a certain thing (and not for the average user). Looks like that will all change now it is becoming mainstream though, well hopefully it will anyway.
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post #8 of 12
Cool. So if the laptop I'm gonna buy doesn't have Vista (which I don't mind now), OEM is the perfect solution when I'll want to change
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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by IcedEarth View Post
This does not necessarily make your computer faster as having more RAM (which is un-needed) can actually slow the computer down. This is because the computer will have to search through 4GB of RAM to find the data it is looking for compared to looking through 2GB. It is like looking for a folder in one room or an office. It is obviously quicker is the search area is a lot smaller.
I don't agree with this.
Applications allocate (reserve) an amount of memory when they first start, and may add more later as need comes.

But they don't *search* the memory. I don't actually know this for a fact, but it wouldn't make sense to search the memory when each process has its own area allocated (which is why programs like Tsearch can tell the difference between different processes), and it knows the boundaries of it.

When an application creates, say, a string 10 characters long, it writes 10 bytes into the memory.

When a programmer references that string in code, the program knows where the data starts and how long it is. So if it starts in 371, it'll read 371-381 and the output will be that string. It doesn't do any searching - if anything, this only happens when memory is first allocated but I'm pretty sure the operating system does this by keeping track of which parts of the RAM are unused.



I don't think extra RAM can slow down your system: if it's there and unused, then it just does nothing.

If it's being used, then it helps games load faster (especially MMOGs, which constantly load files) that would otherwise be done with the virtual memory, which is muchmuchmuchmuch slower. (personal experience - went from dual channel 512mb ddr1 200mhz to single channel 2x256mb and 1x512mb 200mhz and loading became a LOT faster in WoW! I would lag very badly in flights and in cities.. and then it all went away.)
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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm just going by what i have read. And everyone on the forums i frequent say this as well.

However, i am not discarding your information. If you can find me some proof i would gladly change the information if it is incorrect.
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