How to Build a Green Instant-On PC
Bringing It All Together
After assembling our PC, it came time to install an operating system. With performance, compatibility and future expansion in mind, we chose to use the Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit edition. Initially we had some concerns about driver and software compatibility, but as we configured the operating system, we found that all of the components we chose offered 64-bit drivers and all worked flawlessly.
The advantages of going with a 64-bit OS are many, ranging from speed to addressable memory. Thirty-two-bit operating systems (and 32-bit processors) are limited to 4GB of physical memory, whereas a 64-bit operating system can theoretically access 16 exabytes. Currently, Windows Vista x64 Edition imposes a 16TB limit on address space and a 128GB limit on physical memory.
The primary reason we wanted to build a system that could support more than 4GB of RAM was for virtualization purposes. With 8GB of RAM, the system is able to comfortably run several operating systems under virtual machines using VMware or any other desktop virtualization product.