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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 jonmcc33 on 8/5/2008 8:52:24 AM , Rating: 3
Got any proof XP64 isn't flourishing?

Unavailable as an option on new OEM computers (Dell, HP)? I mean really. The statistic comes from Windows Update. Has Windows XP x64 gotten any major updates compared to Windows Vista x64 (think of SP1)? Not really.

RE: What?
By Myrandex on 8/5/2008 11:14:06 AM , Rating: 1
Ummm XP x64 SP2 has been available for a little while now...

Its been working great on my PC as well...esp since I can't afford Vista x64.

RE: What?
By jonmcc33 on 8/6/2008 10:33:54 AM , Rating: 1
Windows XP x64 SP2 came out in March 2007. Considering that no new Windows XP licenses are available how would that account for the jump from 3% to 20% between March and June of 2008 for systems connecting to Windows Update?

Use some common sense. Besides, the Microsoft blog even states "Windows Vista 64-bit Today" in the event you even want to read it!

The installed base of 64-bit Windows Vista PCs, as a percentage of all Windows Vista systems, has more than tripled in the U.S. in the last three months, while worldwide adoption has more than doubled during the same period. Another view shows that 20% of new Windows Vista PCs in the U.S. connecting to Windows Update in June were 64-bit PCs, up from just 3% in March. Put more simply, usage of 64-bit Windows Vista is growing much more rapidly than 32-bit.

So please! Pay attention next time you read and post a reply to me. At what point do they mention Windows XP x64 in there at all?

RE: What?
By Sulphademus on 8/5/2008 1:50:50 PM , Rating: 3
I count 13 .NET x64 patches and 41 Windows XP x64 patches in addition to SP2. I'd say it is being adequately supported despite not being very well adopted by the masses.

XP 64 introduced the Program Files (x86) structure which Vista 64 uses and it works perfectly in a 32bit ADS structure. Really though, I think XP 64 (released in 2005) was the testbed for Vista 64 and more important as a learning experience for Microsoft than its market importance.

RE: What?
By 16nm on 8/5/2008 10:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it was Windows Server 2003 x64 that introduced the Program Files (x86) folder.

RE: What?
By jonmcc33 on 8/6/2008 10:36:46 AM , Rating: 2
And how many of those patches (along with the Service Pack) came out between March and June of 2008?

Besides, read my reply to Myrandex above. The article from Microsoft about the boost of 64-bit systems updating from Windows Update had nothing to do with Windows XP in any way!

RE: What?
By TheJian on 8/5/2008 10:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
Is that because MS won't let them sell it or because they don't want to? hmmm? Currently HP is selling Vista Business lics just to get away with putting on XP.

Also, as if the updates mentioned by the others weren't enough, all current vidcard drivers/chipset drivers are dated the same as their 32bit xp counterparts/vista ones. So clearly Nvidia/ATI/Intel still FULLY support XP64. They even mention specific game fixes AND directx enhancements in their driver info file SPECIFICALLY for XP64. So they even want your games to still work in it... :)

Also, note how Dailytech/Anandtech get all silent when you talk about XP64? The same happens everywhere when you point out all drivers etc exist and are fully up to date. How much does MICROSOFT pay all of them to shut up? Tweaktown responded to me before I mentioned benchmarking XP64 vs Vista64. Then completely ignored my posts/emails politely asking for them to do some tests. Not even a response from their editor or the article mentioned previously. MS have everybody this scared or what? The very mention of XP64 scares everyone into silence on hardware sites. WTF?

I at least got dailytech/anandtech editors to say "it's not supported at all...blah blah". But then when pointing to countless drivers previously (that were up to date as I just stated) they got silent...ROFL. They know the truth, or they'd benchmark it and prove me wrong. Problem is, they can't. I'm NOT WRONG. What really pisses me off is they are allowing MS to get away with this. Windows 7 is just another copy of Vista with a new name. Originally I had read it was a puny kernel, and brand spanking new, built for speed. I'm now resigned to the fact that I'll be using XP until 2014. Longer if MS can't actually pull the plug on it then as their EOL says...I'm thinking companies everywhere will freak on them since a good number will pass on Windows7 as well now that the cat is out of the bag that it's Vista SP2...LOL.

Worse yet, this will take resources away from PC software. Look at mac sales since Vista hit the shelf. Apple has went from 2% marketshare to 10% in a year or so (the mac didn't get that much better, rather windows got that much worse). If they get much bigger software makers will start paying more attention to the platform taking resources from my PC! I kind of like a dominant OS platform, but not a crappy one that sends people running in all directions but windows when they can. It must cost MS a lot to hide the fact that XP64 runs fine and FASTER than FISTA :)

FYI, I'm running SP2 and all the updates the others mentioned (yeah, a TON of it's being updated). Only SP3 is not out, and partly because the 64bit version doesn't has some of the problems of the 32bit one. You're forgetting MS has to support XP64 until 2014 as a business OS it MUST BE FIXED and supported as needed. So regarding your statement about "major updates compared to Vista 64". Are we done now? :) I'm thinking of SP2 for XP64 and a ton of updates after it...LOL. Not to mention all my UPDATED drivers that coincide with dates from 32bit versions (heck the info file for xp32 is the same for xp64 because they are co-developed together). Chipset, sound, vid, lan, tv tuner etc. All up to date, no older than 32bit versions. Get it yet?

Now can we get some benchmarks from DT/AT? Anyone with balls big enough to do it? :) Chickens...heh.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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