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Re: st: optimal configuration for windows 32/64

From   "E. Paul Wileyto" <>
Subject   Re: st: optimal configuration for windows 32/64
Date   Fri, 08 Feb 2008 10:38:18 -0500

I have been running 32-bit Stata in a 64 bit windows box. (XP x64, not Vista). Works well. Kept the 32-bit Stata because the licensing allows us to install at home as well, and we're not 64-bit at home.

64-bit windows and applications are not for everyone. I use it for Matlab and imaging, but it is overkill for Stata. The OS has idiosyncrasies, and addressing is slower. Unless you are going to work on gargantuan data sets or large images, you will not see a benefit, and things may even slow down.


David Jacobs wrote:

As you probably already know 64 bit Windows machines can access far more memory that their 32 bit counterparts.

And since Stata places data in memory, this is an important advantage if you wish to analyze huge data sets. But there currently are disadvantages. If my understanding is correct, many standard programs now won't work in a 64 bit machine, although this situation probably will gradually improve. It follows that if you plan to use the machine in question only with a few specialty programs like Stata, and you wish to analyze extremely large data sets, than a 64 bit machine probably is a good idea, but you should buy a lot of memory to benefit of the one major advantage offered by this choice.

As far as speed is concerned, I know of two options. Particularly if you are buying thru an academic or a governmental account (but I'm not sure about Dell discounts for non US governments), you can get a good price on a workstation from Dell. I have a four core processor Dell machine that seems to be faster than the standard consumer boxes with a strong chip and I only had to spend a bit more than what you plan to spend.

Another option is to get a middle range box designed for computer gamers. These machines are fast, but I wouldn't let them sell you a computer with fancy paint or other unnecessary items. Also if you only want to use such a machine for data analysis, be sure to economize on the graphics card. Gamer machines come with expensive cards that you won't need for data analysis.

I'd be interested in other thoughts on this issue by people on this list.

Dave Jacobs

At 08:50 PM 2/7/2008, you wrote:

Dear all

I have been searching the statalist archives looking for advice on optimal configuration to run stata in a windows 32 bit and in a windows 64 bit environments, but I did not got a clear answer to my queries.

I need to work with census data uploading into memory about 2 gigabites of data. My questions are the following

1. should I go for windows 64 instead of windows 32?
2. If I go for a Microsoft 64 OS, would I notice a performance improvement if i switch from a stata 32bit to stata 64bit?
2. Any advice about the best processor around? I have around US$ 4000 to spend in a computer that can allow me to work at reasonable speeds with a census database.

I appreciate your help


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E. Paul Wileyto, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biostatistics
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