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Old 12-17-2010, 06:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is my system 64bit?

Hi everyone,

Here's the deal and I'm hoping someone can help me with it, pretty complicated as I've managed to confuse myself!

I'm thinking about upgrading to Windows 7 as I produce music on my current system, and some RAM intensive software synths (such as Omnisphere) need more RAM. I'm aware Windows XP is limited to using 3GB, so an upgrade to Windows 7 is the obvious choice.

Anyway, in looking into this more, I've realised I think I actually have a 64bit system, and have done since late 2008 without even realising it. Then, in looking into it even more, I've really managed to confuse myself with RAM speeds, etc. to the point I think I've been using RAM that's slower than I could have used and I'm even thinking ASUS have got it wrong!

So here's a few questions broken down into sections. If anyone can help I'd be very greatful!

Firstly, the specs and the sources of my confusion:

CPU - Intel Q6600, 2.4ghz. 8mb L2 and a 1066mhz FSB. It's also "Intel 64" according to Intel's website, which I presume means its 64-bit?

Mobo - ASUS P5W64 WS. This is where it get's confusing. The box I have in front of me says "1333/1066/800/533 FSB". However their website, which carries a picture of that very box, says the max FSB is 1066. Since writing this I've realised this doesn't matter as my CPU is 1066 not 1333, however, for memory it says "DDR2 800/667/533". Surely if it's got a CPU and FSB running at 1066mhz, it can use 1066mhz (DDR2 PC-8500) RAM, instead of the 800mhz (DDR2 PC-6400) RAM I've got in it? The box and website seems to suggest that PC6400 is the max. Why?

Memory - 2GB of DDR2 PC-6400 (800mhz). I've got 2x 1gb sticks. They're Corsair and have big heatsinks on them, which means they both look, and run, cool. In fact, by pure coincidence, the picture on the "DDR2 SDRAM" page on Wikipedia, is the exact same as I'm using. (File:High Performance RAM.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - If anyone is interested). But surely ditching this and getting some PC-8500 would be better? Surely using PC-6400 means the FSB, and therefore the whole computer, isn't being used to it's full capability?

I must also point out that this system is very stable regardless. I'm overclocking it to 3.11ghz using ASUS's handy (and safe) AI Booster software, currently set to the "Overclock 30%" profile. Noticably faster (getting 3.11ghz from the CPU) but perhaps not ideal given my RAM situation?

So have I got this all wrong?

I need to know if I can/should do the following:

1. Ditch the current RAM and buy 4, 6 or even 8GB of PC-8500 RAM? Or just buy more PC-6400? I need more RAM regardless.

2. Upgrade to Windows 7, giving me a fully functional 64-bit system.

3. Will my MOTU PCI-324 card and drivers still work on Win 7? It's an old soundcard and the drivers are 32bit. MOTU's website says most modern computers will be unable to use this soundcard, but I've not had a problem yet.

4. Cubase 5 and various other stuff I've got is 64bit, but will all my 32-bit software still run fine?

5. Will 64bit software such as Cubase run better on a 64bit system, or will it be counter-productive given most of my plugins are 32bit?

The last three questions basically concern the fact that I use a lot of 32bit software, and I'm hoping Windows 7 runs 32bit software as normal.

Thanks and sorry for the confusing post and lots of questions.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my system 64bit?

Ok yes the Q6600 is 64bit. IIRC anything C2D and above made from Intel is 64bit. The Q6600 has an FSB of 1066 meaning it can handle RAM speeds of up to 1066 and has an FSB speed of 1066. The board supports Wolfdale/Yorkfield CPUs which actually support DDR3 and have FSBs of 1333. It says FSB of 1333 to give you support for these newer CPUs, but it mentions RAM speed of "up to" DDR2 800. Im pretty sure that board being a WS can easily handle overclocked RAM speeds of 1066+. So basically, it is correct in its specs and support.

You can ditch the RAM for more RAM if you need to, but DDR2 is getting kinda pricey for larger sets.

Windows 7 although much better than XP in areas maybe not be what you want due to compatibility. According to alot of Google you have to do alot of advanced work (.inf tweaking) to make the MOTU work in Windows 7. All other software based things that are 32bit will still work in 7 though. So if you ever want to upgrade that card later youve got a green light on moving up to Windows 7.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Is my system 64bit?

The only thing 64bit important is Win7 and the cpu.

If you go to Control Panel\System It'll tell you if you are 64 it or not right now.

If you have a 64bit software, i don't think it'll run on a 32bit os. But i don't think it'll give much more boost being in a native os.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my system 64bit?

Also I feel like I need to add that not all copies of Win 7 are 64-bit. There is both 32 and 64 bit versions but of course 32 still has limited ram recognition.

As per your software it should run fine I've had no trouble in music software from the transition and I use a lot of 32-bit plugins.

There are 3rd party drivers for sound cards depending on its popularity before the switch. I know the KXProject is one of them.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my system 64bit?

Cheers for the replies.

One slight area of confusion - If the CPU is 1066 and the motherboard can support up to 1333, how come I can only use 800 RAM without overclocking? I thought the RAM speed was defined by the speed of the FSB on the mobo?

As for the MOTU - That's my biggest concern. Even though it's old, I got it second hand for 200. It's a 2408mk1, which isn't much different from the Mk3, which costs around 800. The Mk3 can record in higher bit & sample rates, but I don't even use the Mk1 to it's full capability. The best thing about it is the low-latency it gives me, 2ms at a 64sample buffer size, which is better than soundcards I've used that are much newer and cost a lot more.

I'm also wondering if there's any real advantage to upgrading to a 64bit system. Cubase 5 runs on both 32bit & 64bit systems, much like it also runs on both Mac OSX and Windows, but I was under the (perhaps mistaken) impression that running it as 64bit on a 64bit system would mean I'd have more "headroom" when it came to large projects which can max-out my CPU.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is my system 64bit?

As stated in your original post your RAM is rated at 800 which is why it runs as 800. The 1066 is just the max your mobo will recognize. You can definitely buy the faster 1066 and have it work but you still may need to OC to get it to it's full potential.

Right now with your current build there is no reason to upgrade to 64-bit. You aren't running more than 4gb dedicated and you aren't running programs that require 64-bit. I say wait till you upgrade then worry about switching OS.
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