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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 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.

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