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1-09-2012 @ 6:24PM
It's probably OK to go to 64-bit with 4GB RAM. It's a small download and you can choose which one to load from the launcher, so why not try it when it comes out and see what works better?I haven't done the research regarding Edymnion's assertion that CPUs take longer to perform 64-bit instructions, but I wouldn't think there's a significant difference between processing time for 64-bit vs 32-bit arithmetic when you have a 64-bit CPU. There's certainly a difference when doing 64-bit arithmetic on a 32-bit CPU, because adding two 64-bit numbers on a 32-bit CPU requires two 32-bit additions plus a third addition to carry the one. This probably isn't relevant to WoW anyway, because the 64-bit WoW client will likely still only be performing 32-bit arithmetic to maintain compatibility with the 32-bit clients.The big difference between the 32-bit and 64-bit WoW clients will be the RAM usage. 32-bit addressing allow you to have 4GB worth of addresses but only half of that is used to access RAM and the other half of the address space is for direct access to hardware, so a 32-bit application can't occupy more than 2GB of RAM because it wouldn't be able to remember where it was putting things after that. 64-bit addressing squares the size of the address space to 16 Exabytes (Exa- is the prefix for 10^18), and even if the tradition of only using half the address space for RAM persists, 8EB is somewhat bigger than we're likely to reach in terms of home computer RAM in the next few years.The 64-bit client will be able to expand to use all available RAM in your computer and will likely give some performance improvements due to not having to unload and reload big chunks of the game to stay under 2GB, but this comes at the cost of needing to use twice as much memory to remember the location of each item it stores, so it will occupy more RAM to have the same data in memory. To borrow somebody else's library analogy from earlier in the comments, the new index cards that let you access all the extra shelf space are twice the size of the old cards and thus your index card cabinet needs to be twice as big.All that said, the extra memory required by the 64-bit client isn't going to take THAT big a bite out of the extra 2GB that's available to a 64-bit app on your 4GB system, so you'll still be less likely to run into out of memory errors.
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