The choice between the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 7 appears to be shifting toward the latter.

With the new operating system less than nine months old, 46 percent of all computers running Windows 7 are using the 64-bit edition, said Microsoft in a Thursday blog post. That compares with 11 percent for the 3.5-year-old Windows Vista.

The major benefit to running a 64-bit OS is that it can address more memory. A 32-bit version of Windows can see only up to 4GB of RAM, and effectively use only around 3GB, since that extra gigabyte is reserved. A 64-bit OS can theoretically address around 17 billion gigabytes of RAM. In the real world, though, the more expensive and advanced versions of 64-bit Windows 7 can handle up to 192GB, while the lower-end editions are more limited.

Full story: c|net