64-bit verses 32-bit . . . What’s right for you?

By powerpivotgeek (dwickert@microsoft.com), on March 25th, 2010

Recently we been hit with a rash of inquiries around whether folks should install the 32-bit version of the PowerPivot client, or go with the larger capacity 64-bit version. Office 2010 is the first version of Office to offer a native 64-bit option. In previous releases, you had to install the 32-bit version to run under WOW (Windows-On-Windows) mode. WOW emulates a 32-bit environment under the 64-bit OS. That is cool and all, but you were still limited by the 32-bit address space (2GB of memory). Now with Office 2010 64-bit the memory use is virtually unlimited for a client application.

So where to begin . . . Being a geek, let’s start off with a technical topic. When you are running in a 64-bit process, then you can only use dlls and other executables that are build as native 64-bit applications. Therefore whatever our choice, 32-bit or 64-bit, the ‘bit-ness’ of our approach has to hold for the entire process. For example, if we pick 64-bit, then we need the 64-bit version of Excel 2010, we need the 64-bit versions of any add-ins, such as PowerPivot for Excel, and we need 64-bit versions of any OLE DB providers or ODBC drivers (using the 64-bit version of the OLE DB Provider for ODBC here). So let’s keep that in mind.

Ok, here we go:

Read more…

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