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Sales are perking up for 64-bit after years of dominance by 32-bit OS's

The hottest buzz in the tech industry in 2003 was 64-bit hardware and operating systems. That year the industry seemed on the verge of a computer revolution.  Then AMD CEO Hector Ruiz stated, "Our industry, right now, is hungry for another round of innovation."

AMD released its first 64-bit processors that year.  While sales were decent, there was no consumer 64-bit operating system to take advantage of the hardware.  Then finally in 2005, Microsoft released Windows XP in 64-bit form.  Yet again the 64-bit industry seemed set to explode.

The release was met with much criticism, though.  Part of the problem was necessity -- even in 2005 the average user did not need more than 2 GB, in most circumstances.  Another major hitch was driver support.  All drivers had to be rewritten to work with the new width.

Despite these difficulties, three years later, for the first time, the 64-bit industry is at last healthy and growing.  With virtually all new processors from Intel and AMD supporting 64-bit, 64-bit OS's are flourishing as well. 

In a recent blog, Microsoft's Chris Flores reported that 20 percent of new Windows systems connecting to Windows Update were 64-bit.  This is up from a mere 3 percent in March.  He stated, "Put more simply, usage of 64-bit Windows Vista is growing much more rapidly than 32-bit.  Based on current trends, this growth will accelerate as the retail channel shifts to supplying a rapidly increasing assortment of 64-bit desktops and laptops."

Retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City are also catching on to the trend, offering largely 64-bit OS-equipped machines for their most heavily advertised models.  Many manufacturers are also throwing in their support; Gateway will be transitioning its entire desktop line to 64-bit in time for the back-to-school shopping season.  To put this in perspective, in its first quarter, only 5 percent of Gateway's notebooks and desktops were 64-bit.  In its third quarter, a whopping 95 percent of desktops will be 64-bit and 30 percent of notebooks will be.

Aside from the increased memory, one other possible cause for adoption is the increased availability of software that takes advantage of the increased capacity.  Adobe's various graphical design product lines have been revamped for 64-bit.  Another drive may be gaming, which is typically memory hungry. "64-bit versions of Windows will begin to find their way into high-end gaming notebooks, which increasingly are being used as high-end notebook workstations as opposed to strictly gaming systems," said IDC analyst Richard Shim.

Finally, it may just be inevitability that is helping 64-bit.  While the upgrade will only provide subtle benefits to the majority of users, even power users, it is an iterative advance.  And like most advances, after a period of reticence, people are finally warming up to it.

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RE: What?
By tallcool1 on 8/4/2008 10:18:43 AM , Rating: 2
I have been thinking about building a new pc and was wondering if I should go with 32bit or 64bit Vista Home Premium?

Main uses would be for PC Gaming.
Are there any issues with running 64bit Vista Home Premium I should be aware of? (video drivers, game support, punkbuster combatibility, etc.?)

RE: What?
By FITCamaro on 8/4/2008 10:21:13 AM , Rating: 3
I'm running Vista Business x64 for my gaming system. I'd recommend it over Home Premium if you don't need Media Center. You get the built-in backup tool with it that works very well.

Not having any issues so far.

RE: What?
By Locutus465 on 8/4/2008 10:41:32 AM , Rating: 3
Just go Ultimate if you can swing it.... I use that on both my laptop and desktop and frankly couldn't imagin going with a less feature rich version of the OS :)

RE: What?
By FITCamaro on 8/4/2008 12:43:35 PM , Rating: 2
I just don't need a lot of the features. I don't use Media Center.

RE: What?
By AnnihilatorX on 8/4/2008 1:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
I am running business Vista x64 too and I am a home user. The shadow copy and backup tool are certainly great features. I couldn't care less about Media Centre, and the ripped off ultimate extras.

However you do lose native DVD decode in Vista business and you'd need to install 3rd party DVD codec.

RE: What?
By FITCamaro on 8/4/2008 1:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
I don't watch DVDs on my computer so its not an issue for me.

RE: What?
By kmmatney on 8/5/2008 1:19:39 AM , Rating: 3
VLC player - problem solved (assuming it works in 64-bit...)

RE: What?
By George Powell on 8/5/2008 1:31:47 AM , Rating: 2
Works fine.

RE: What?
By Polynikes on 8/4/2008 2:24:43 PM , Rating: 1
I'd rather save a lot of money on the OS and manually install a codec. :)

RE: What?
By Locutus465 on 8/5/2008 12:38:26 AM , Rating: 2
lol well I guess it's a bit easy for me to say since I got it all from my MSDN anyway... However the OEM option for Vista Ult does exist and Windows 7 should be out soon enough that you don't need to worry about x-fer issues.

There are some Ult. features I enjoy, for instance personally I appriciate the blending of home prem and business since I need the business tools for work and personally love playing around with MC... I also like the extra content though I wish there was move of it... Bit locker is cool and yeah, I do like holdem poker lol.

Personal preference, I can see why someone might make the chocies you made... But there are other options, like I said if it's not an economic burden then Vista Ult really is the best experience over all.

RE: What?
By Penti on 8/6/2008 12:58:10 AM , Rating: 3
If you buy your computer in parts (and play systembuilder) you probably get PowerDVD bundled with your retail graphics card box anyways. If you buy OEM-hardware you can always buy a dvd decoder for Vista that works with WMP for 15 bucks.

RE: What?
By schnazzer on 8/4/2008 1:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
Having built my system, I purchased and OEM copy of Vista Ultimate and I'm currently running it 64bit. The OEM copy was pretty cheap in comparison to the retail version. Only downside is its locked to one computer but that isn't really that big an issue for me.

So far, I'm pretty impressed with the 64bit version.

RE: What?
By tallcool1 on 8/4/2008 2:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, so your saying if you buy the retail version of vista versus the oem version, you can legally install it on more than one PC?

RE: What?
By rcc on 8/4/2008 3:42:16 PM , Rating: 2
No. But the OEM version is locked to one computer. Meaning that in theory if you build a new comp, you can't transfer the OS to it.

RE: What?
By DragonMaster0 on 8/4/2008 3:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
Unlike the retail version. With Windows 7 coming it shouldn't be a problem if you're getting Vista OEM for a new machine.

RE: What?
By bigboxes on 8/4/2008 3:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
No. He's saying that with the Ultimate you can move it to another pc and make upgrades to your pc easier. Once you install an OEM to a pc you cannot easily change your CPU or mobo due to the wording of the contract. With the retail version it's still just one pc at a time, just not the original pc that you are tied to with OEM.

RE: What?
By kmmatney on 8/5/2008 1:24:12 AM , Rating: 2
I've transfered my OEM copy of windows XP to several new motherboards as I've upgraded over time. When the motherboard changes, you need to re-activate windows. This worked fine on the first 3 upgrades - no issues. However my last motherboard upgrade, I had to call up Microsoft and argue that my old motherboard died - they eventually gave me a code to activate. So, you can upgrade with an OEM operating system, at least 3 times.

RE: What?
By tallcool1 on 8/5/2008 9:43:44 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps this is different with Vista?

RE: What?
By just4U on 8/5/2008 2:25:15 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe it is different. One of my computers has been reactivated a half dozen times now (I change out alot of hardware!) and I've not run into any problems with Microsoft on my OEM Premium copy.

It's a hassle mind you calling in but mostly they just want to know if it's the only computer the key will be used on. Usually takes 5-8minutes to do.

RE: What?
By Locutus465 on 8/4/2008 10:34:00 AM , Rating: 3
64bit all the way, you're setting your self to run up against a brick wall pretty quickly with the 32bit OS... There's no excuse not to really, since you're going to be building a new machine, presumibly with quality parts 64b v. 32b drivers won't be an issue, and the 64bit OS is better in every way for a gaming machine...

I could only recommend 32bit Vista in certain cases such as budget laptops like the one I use for software development... 2GB memory, has to run several instances plus potentially a VPC instance with XP running and god knows what else.... Ok yeah in this case 32bit vista is better since my laptop's memory ceiling is 2GB and I'm already there...

But again, for a gaming machine that should have no less that 4GB of memory to begin with...? Go 64bit all the way.

RE: What?
By GotDiesel on 8/4/08, Rating: -1
RE: What?
By jonmcc33 on 8/7/2008 8:39:23 AM , Rating: 1
Windows users. That's what we are. Being that Linux is a small, select community they are the ones known as fanatics.

RE: What?
By Garreye on 8/6/2008 11:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
Ya what he said... plus just think 64 is TWICE as many bits as 32, which results in your computer running TWICE as fast, and makes you TWICE as cool! At least that's what the guy at best buy tells me...

RE: What?
By Diosjenin on 8/4/2008 10:41:31 AM , Rating: 2
64-bit, no question. Video drivers have been fine for a good while now, and any games (or other programs) that have issues you can always run in 32-bit compatibility mode. Even if you're not going with 4GB of RAM, 64-bit will make upgrading or transferring to a new system in two or three years SO much less of a pain. It's just smart long-term planning at this point.

RE: What?
By UNCjigga on 8/4/2008 12:07:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well, other than the aforementioned incompatibilities with IE x64 edition (Vista defaults to 32-bit edition anyway) I have a Minolta-QMS laser printer that just doesn't work under Vista. It's not really MS' fault, though--the f**ktards at Minolta claimed Vista compatibility but never wrote signed drivers for that device--they ask you to use XP drivers instead.

RE: What?
By kamel5547 on 8/4/2008 12:16:43 PM , Rating: 2
Some minor driver availibility issues for older hardware, mostly where you'd expect it (i.e. vendors with poor driver support in the first place). I haven't had any major issues with any of the games I play that couldn't be fixed (i.e. older games needing a patch to the DRM software).

RE: What?
By Chadder007 on 8/4/2008 1:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
64 bit works a lot better for me. It seems more snappy and has been more stable.
Not sure about punkbuster....

RE: What?
By Quiescent on 8/4/2008 11:00:40 PM , Rating: 1
I totally agree. I was just noticing this when I installed XP on my desktop when I brought it to my workplace and used it. I noticed that XP 32bit seemed to load a lot slower than XP 64bit. I wouldn't know why it would, but it just does. And my desktop is pretty outdated with an AMD 3000+ 1.8Ghz proc with 1GB of RAM.

I frankly don't do much gaming, so I have no problems with XP 64bit like people so claim. I still fight for it, because it has been so good to me. I use my desktop mostly for Fruity Loops Studio, Photoshop, and other stuff, while using my EeePC for basic usage. I have "experimented for experience" with many programs and I have things like CYGWIN, VMWare, Cain & Abel, Ethereal (The old version, before they changed their name), RealVNC, etc that I have used before or use now.

It has been good to me even in my continuous frustration with "slow" and now I have found the reason I have "slow", and it's because this house is a PSU killer - Being that because it is underpowering, it is doing something to make capacitors mess up in PSUs. Now that I know that I have a problem, I have RMAd my last purchase of PSUs, and wait to use my desktop until I move, because obviously it doesn't affect my Eee.

One thing I noticed, and am not sure if it's because of something different, but when comparing my XP 64bit install on my desktop to my nLited XP install on my Eee, I notice that no SVCHOST takes up as much RAM on XP 64bit as they do on my Eee. At one point one SVCHOST was taking up more RAM than Firefox at a whopping 384MB. This SVCHOST (I discovered by *cough* being dumb and killing it off) is for sound AND internet usage. While on XP 64bit, none of them will take up more than 60mb of RAM or VM at a time. And my Eee and desktop pretty much have the same amount of RAM.

Either way, I am still confident about XP. I have had no problems with either versions. And while it's not practical, you don't have to recode all the drivers to support 64bit. You just have to change one line. It's kind of like how AutoCAD 32bit will check for wow64.exe and then refuse to install if it detects it. It's still a 32bit driver, but it will run in XP 64bit.

I think the worse support for 64bit is still in Linux. There are way more problems with 64bit linux and I can safely suggest XP 64bit over Linux 64bit.

RE: What?
By Quiescent on 8/5/2008 9:26:54 AM , Rating: 1
It's really odd to have my post downrated when I only speak from experience and truth. I'm sorry that you either jump on the same bandwagon that we call the "Vista SUCKS" bandwagon that you feel for XP 64bit. I'm sure you've never used it as long as I have. And if you feel the need to downrate my post, I expect a response. Because otherwise, it is just you on your little bandwagon with no experience using XP 64bit, ranking up against my experience with it for almost 3 years, on the same box, without reinstalling it, even while experiencing the slowness created by dying PSUs.

Now I did forget to mention, so as to balance my post from being biased, is that nLited XP on my Eee is great. It's smooth, fast, and still as responsive as it was when I first installed it 7 months ago. However, I didn't use nLited XP as my example of explaining the difference in performance. I used the same hardware (my desktop) for both experiences, and XP Pro and XP 64bit (Pro). Comparing my experience with XP 64bit in the almost 3 years of usage to about 3 weeks of usage with XP Pro. And it's kind off teetered taughtered because I have had so much software installed on XP 64bit compared to the XP install. For my XP install, all I had was Pidgin, Firefox, Everest, and Microsoft Office 07 suite, while on my XP 64bit install I have Fruity Loops Studio, some games installed, VMWare, CYGWIN, Ethereal, Cain & Abel, Tressize, Nero suite, Audacity, Firefox, Microsoft Office 03, at one point Maya and 3DSM, way way more on XP 64bit.

So in otherwards, you can KMA if you feel the need to downrate my post. Because you can not and will not change the fact that XP 64bit has been really good to me, and you can not and will not change the fact that my experience is of truth. To downrate a post on experience is like to downrate a post because you're a fanboy of something and someone who thought that product would be nice, but had problems with it, commented on their experience, and you downrated their post. I truly feel sorry for you.

RE: What?
By jabber on 8/4/2008 2:19:35 PM , Rating: 3
If its mainly gaming then save some cash and get Home Basic.

I've been running the 64bit version of it for 8 months now on my gaming rig and it works a treat.

Its a lot more sprightly/leaner than my mates Ultimate setups.

For a supposedly 'stripped down and feature less' version is seems pretty well stocked with all the core stuff you need. Ultimate just seems bloated to me.

You can spend the saving over Ultimate on some new hardware.

RE: What?
By Sulphademus on 8/5/2008 1:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
if I should go with 32bit or 64bit Vista Home Premium?

64bit for sure. Games are one of the few common things (with video editing and graphic arts) that could currently or in the near future surpass 2GB of RAM. Driver support is fine, both with my former GTS8800 and my current HD4780.

The Windows Backup function works great (with Business and Enterprise editions). I have Premium on my home machine but really havent used its 'premium' features because they have nothing to do with TF2, WoW, the Simpsons, or pr0n.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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