Dec 18, 2008
I'd like to do some graphics design and editing using Photoshop CS4, but my graphics tablet doesn't work with my current 64bit installation of windows XP (and I think it's gonna stay that way).

I know that Vista 32bit works with it (and I have a copy of it), but I also know that:
1) Photoshop 32bit would only be able to utilize 2GB of RAM
2) the whole 32bit OS would only be able to utilize roughly 3.5GB (I have a 512MB graphics card, and 4GB of system RAM)

So do you reckon I'd absolutely need that extra memory that 64bit gives me to be able to edit/create images of 8+ megapixels? Yesterday I was creating an image in the GIMP on Linux 64bit (same system, dual boot), which had a resolution of 5120x3200 - which is 4 times the resolution of a 30 inch monitor and just over 16 megapixels. It ended up having a memory footprint of 1.1GB, but it wasn't a very complicated image (as a matter of fact, the tablet works in Linux at the moment).

So what do you think, do I need 64bit to edit large images in Photoshop, or should I jump to vista 32bit to enable my graphics tablet? Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of 64bit Vista (as I'm sure the tablet works in that).

Thanks (and I'm sure my post has made you :sleep:, :lol:)
It appears you are clear on the limitations for a 32bit desktop OS, and are aware you may be likely to run into them at some point in your work.

For heavy graphics work, the advantage is definitely on the 64 bit side of the house. If only because of the ability to utilize the maximum memory supported by your hardware/applications.

Since you have a 32 bit DVD, please be aware that if it is a Retail version then Microsoft will send you a 64 bit DVD for something like $11 shipping and handling.

(near the bottom of the page)


Aug 7, 2009
"Long time-listner, first-time caller...."

I've been trying to figure out some recent ram upgrade issues, I run vista64 and now have 8 gb ram.

Anyways, there's this great article on TH forums that I ran across but didn't bm.

It explains in an interesting way why Vista64 won't really save you on time for graphic/data intense processes....unless you had a mobo that could handle MORE than 8GB of ram.....

I'm sorry I can't offer you more than that. Before you decide, you should try to find that post. If I do I will post it back on this thread!

Good luck.

pat mcgroin

Nov 21, 2007
The increase userva option is to use address space.
A prog. that is written to use the extra space such as windows, photoshop, fsx etc.. will allow for itself to be more able to be put in places that shall we say are "more out of the way".
The extra memory address space allows for the ability to use addresses that aren't commonly used.
It doesnt in any way increase your memory usage and or abilities. It basically allows for the ability to address memory space that otherwise wasnt being used.

Windows allocates 2g of space for itself. It doesnt usually need that much.
In the case of the above mentioned progs. and databases and prolly some others that would like to have that space for addresses, they have the ability to use it.
It is more a matter of record keeping than actual memory useage.

If you have ever run accross a "Out Of Memory" error this is the cause.
It wasnt because you actually didnt have enough.
Its due to the prog. had too many things that it is trying to remember and the scratchpad is full.

I wish you could provide the link as I would like to see it.
I also hope this was helpful Pat
Still, if you have 4GB+, there's not a lot of point in sticking with 32-bit anyway... regardless if you need 8GB+ to see any performance difference or not. There's no reason to be afraid of 64-bit Vista... it will run 32-bit software just fine.


Aug 7, 2009
Found it here :)

Re-read the article before posting this.

This is the paragraph I was referring to, and in retrospect, now realize that what it was suggesting is that if you intend to stay with 4Gb of RAM, then there's no reason to switch to 64.

The upshot is that it doesn't make sense to install a 64 bit version of Vista in order to better utilize 4 GB of memory simply because the 32 bit version would only recognize 3.5 GB. The problem is that while it is true that you would "gain" the missing memory, you would also immediately lose it to the system due to the 64 bit version's larger memory footprint. Thus, using a 64 bit version really only makes sense with larger memory sizes. (Page 5)

There are some good questions at the end that need addressing.

This paragraph, in particular, may be useful to the OP:

With 8 GB and no swap file, the system was fine. Even in some memory intensive scenarios such as opening files in Photoshop CS3 with a total file size of 3 GB, the system remained very responsive and even snappy, never writing to disk once. (Page 6)

And this:

Photoshop is only able to use 3 GB, even though the system is equipped with 8 GB.

In the end, this means that even with 8 GB or more of system memory installed, each 32 bit application can only use a maximum of 4 GB. The only recourse these applications have is to page some of their routines that are currently not in use to the hard drive, which is obviously not going to improve performance.
(Page 7)

Also, I'm not in any way, shape, or form, an expert. I've only put one rig together. Though I did solve the upgrade problem and am now "successfully" running Vista64 with 8GB.

My gut says if you can, go with the 64/8Gb combo for graphic intense applications. I'm assuming you have the adequate residuals to handle that combination.

Good Luck, and sorry to but in.