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Re: st: optimal configuration for windows 32/64

From   Statalist <>
Subject   Re: st: optimal configuration for windows 32/64
Date   Sat, 09 Feb 2008 15:55:17 +0000

I just wanted to add a little something to Dave's email below
You can always try XP PRO 64bit for free. Microsoft allows a trial period of 180 days I think. It is easy to install on a separate disk partition and see if it grows on you
That's what I did because I was having problems with XP PRO 32 issues with contiguous memory (which do not exist now with Vista)
Dave is right in that not all drivers are instantly available but with some fiddling on line you can usually find what you need
Most software (but not all) would still run in compatibility mode even if they are not specifically designed for 64bit machines
However, to gain the full benefits you will need a 64 version of Stata. You can buy an extra licence for the 64bit version which to install in the partition where you run the XP PRO 64 bit
Also, I totally agree with Dave's advice on the machine to go for (especially on graphics cards). I just wanted to add that, looking at Stata's website, the advantages of having a MP machine largely depend on what you do with your data. For instance, it looks like the gains in speed are very limited even with a quad core if you run an xtabond, twostep ( I would be interested to know what other users think of this aspect
Hope this helps

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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