Upgrading my Tablet PC to Vista x64

Last week I checked at Newegg and saw that I could get 4GB of RAM (two 2GB sticks) for my ASUS R1F Tablet PC for $72. That deal was too good to pass up, so I placed the order. The memory arrived Monday, and I was able to install it in under five minutes. (Thank you, ASUS, for making it so easy to get to the RAM slots. I’ve upgraded other notebooks that required removing the keyboard to get to RAM.)

Next project was replacing the stock installation of Vista Business x86 with a clean install of Vista Ultimate x64 with SP1, using media from MSDN. I was astounded at how easy it was. Here’s a high-level summary:

  • The documentation for this notebook says it only supports 2GB, but it accepts and recognizes 4GB. However, the latest BIOS only recognizes 3.2GB, even with a 64-bit OS.
  • Every device was recognized with the exception of the fingerprint reader (which has new 64-bit drivers and control software available from the component supplier, UPEK).
  • Windows update automatically supplied a few new drivers, including the latest Intel video driver for the GMA950 (confusingly but accurately labeled Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset Family). I had to track down a few extra drivers and utilities, including those for the Synaptics Touchpad, the Toshiba Bluetooth stack, and the wireless console. It wasn’t particularly difficult or complicated.
  • DVD playback is excellent using Windows Media Center.
  • I’ve installed most of the apps I use everyday, including Office 2007, with no compatibility problems.
  • Performance is superb, much better than before. Startup time is roughly 35 seconds. All auto-start programs are loaded and I’m able to open my home page in IE7 in roughly 52 seconds. It’s worth noting that I had previously replaced the stock 120GB 5400RPM hard drive with a 200GB 7200RPM drive.
  • I saved an image of the clean installation using Complete PC Backup. The image fit comfortably on two DVDs.

The whole job took a couple hours, and during most of that time I was able to do other things.

I’m indebted to the folks at Notebook Forums, who have a very nice thread on Vista 32/64 drivers for ASUS systems.

11 thoughts on “Upgrading my Tablet PC to Vista x64

  1. Hey Ed, one sentence in your post today caught my eye the minute I read it:

    “The documentation for this notebook says it only supports 2GB, but it accepts and recognizes 4GB. However, the latest BIOS only recognizes 3.2GB, even with a 64-bit OS.”

    I have a Sony FE890 running 32bit Vista that similarly states that it only supports 2GB of RAM. However, I’ve been dying to upgrade to 4GB from my current 2GB. Do you think shoveling in two 2GB RAM simms would work, theoretically? Trust me, I know it’s just your opinion, but I wonder if you might have done this sort of thing before.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Nycebo, there’s a good chance that it does indeed accommodate 4GB. Many notebook vendors wrote their specs back when all you could get was a 1GB part for those SODIMM slots, so they were technically accurate given the current market.

    In my case, I was able to go to some forums (NotebookForums.com rocks) and also see reviews at Newegg from people who had successfully installed 4GB in this exact system, so I was pretty confident. You might try searching for your notebook’s model number and 4GB to see if you can find any thumbs up/down posts.

  3. I went thru the Vista 64 bit install on a ThinkPad T60, and like you, it was pretty much a uneventful, pain free procedure. And, yes, my Office 2007 apps installed easily, too.

    Two shortcomings I noticed right away:
    -OneNote search doesn’t work very well, even with the updated 64 bit search, but other documents are searched just fine.
    -Office apps and other programs are seen as just 32 bit and don’t open or run any faster. (maybe a tad slower, in fact)

    So 64 bit vista is really not speedier at all. Why bother, other than just to say “I did it”?

  4. Why bother? Future-proofing, maybe. I know any 32-bit app will run on the x64 installation, and in the future if a worthwhile 64-bit app comes along, I can use it.

    In general, I’ve found my x64 desktop installs to be speedier and moire reliable, but not in a quantifiable way.

  5. Hi ed,your blog’s reader for long time but first time commenter.I also would like to upgrade to 64 bit.But holding back due to driver’s. I use sony vaio.Fz 140e/b.You know-sony is providing 1 yr old intel graphics driver.And on intel’s site,latest driver is released in april 2008.How can i get this to run on clean install of vista inspired by your previous post about vaio?Can you show me some directions?I noted you have done similar nvidia driver update for that vaio,.Hope you can help me out.Thanks

  6. An observation & a question:
    – I too am just about to reinstall Vista x64 on my desktop, and like Ed, the impetus isn’t apps but really cheap RAM prices. This may be the real reason for performance gain.

    Before I reinstall, what’s the best method to keep all my preferences and history? I have Google Picasa’s index, Firefox’s saved passwords, and bunches of other stuff in my User’s App Data. Just go through the apps one at a time and try to backup profiles and such?

  7. As a hardware designer please allow me to warn you about adding memory beyond the specified maximum.

    At issue isn’t what will physically fit in slots nor the size of memory modules at the time a machine is designed; it is the maximum physical memory address the implementation is designed to support.

    Specifically, the supported memory size is defined in the specification process and the mapping of the L1 and L2 caches are designed in the implementation process based on this specified maximum memory.

    If you add memory beyond the specified maximum you usually create a situation incongruent with the designed mapping of the cache. The machine may work, but very slowly because caching will disable itself.

  8. I am about to upgrade memory in my R1F to 4GByte, but I can’t access the memory-slots. After unscrewing two screws I thought I could open the notebook, but the plate is still and quite hard closed. What have I to do? Thanks for any advice…

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