This post is going to either be extremely helpful, or just show how far my head has been in the sand for the last few years.
I installed Windows 7 64 bit a few days ago, and my FPS in DarkFall went from 25-40 to 80-150. Which you know, is good, really good actually, and far above expectations. Is Windows 7 just that amazing? Not exactly, although installing it was a breeze, and so far so good in terms of functionality and lack-of-annoyance.
You see my previous operating system was Vista 32 bit, because at the time I purchased the rig Vista 64 was still having driver issues that I simply did not want to deal with. At the time my system had 4 gigs of ram and a 512mb video card (8800GT). It ran everything I threw at it like a champ and for the longest time I had no issues. Then I ‘upgraded’ to a 295GTX, and that’s when the issues started. My overall FPS did not really increase, but I started getting BSOD errors sporadically. I was also getting rather low FPS in DarkFall compared to others with similar or even lesser rigs.
One random day I was talking to a real tech guys at work, someone who builds his own server cluster at home for fun and all that. I told him about my issues and he explained to me exactly how the RAM limitations on a 32 bit system work. I knew it limits your system RAM, but what I did not know is that the RAM limit is actually for ALL memory, be it system provided or from your graphics card. So when I went from a 512mb card to one with 1792mb of memory, all that did was ‘replace’ some existing system memory with video memory (or something like that, tech people feel free to fill in the exact details). With so much spare memory, my system would occasionally get mixed up and hence BSOD errors. This also explained why getting the new card gave me such a limited performance increase.
So if you are still running a 32 bit operating system, and are considering upgrading to Windows 7 64 bit, DO IT! With RAM being so cheap, and midrange video cards packing as much memory as they do, you should be able to easily take advantage of the upgrade. And at $110 (amazing special I think?), buying Windows 7 is a really cheap way to see a very noticeable performance increase. Obviously the amount depends on how badly the 32 bit OS is currently choking you, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say my situation is a rare stroke of stupidity.