Print 125 comment(s) - last by Alien spoon.. on Feb 4 at 1:16 PM

Microsoft Says Tipping Point Already Reached

According to a source inside Microsoft, over 25 percent of Vista installations in the US at the end of last year were 64-bit. There were several major drivers for the switch to 64-bit, most related to cheap DDR2 DRAM.

Jon DeVaan, Senior Vice-President of the Windows Core Operating System Division, agrees. "From our point of view we believe that we have accomplished the tipping point in terms of 64-bit adoption. Now, this happened to a large degree because memory prices are coming down, and another dynamic that we've seen in the United States is that the retail channel is looking to use RAM upgrades as a way to boost margin. So what that means is that 64-bit machine run rate is increasing rapidly, and that means our ability to support those 64-bit machines fully in the broad ecosystem is a really important thing."

Any PC with 4GB of RAM or more must use a 64-bit installation of Windows in order to address the full amount of RAM. Typically a 32-bit installation would recognize a maximum of 3-3.5GB of RAM.

Instead of purchasing a 32-bit version and then having to change to 64-bit later when they purchase more RAM, many are choosing 64-bit at the start. Over 75 percent of Windows sales are based on OEM installations of new computers.

The majority of Core i7 platforms are also using 64-bit operating systems, due to the triple channel memory setup using more RAM.

If you bought Windows Vista as a retail packaged product, Microsoft offers a free 64-bit upgrade DVD for the cost of shipping and handling. The upgrade will be a full clean installation over the 32-bit version. Windows Vista Ultimate already includes 32-bit and 64-bit versions on the DVD.

Many OEMs also provide a free or low cost option to switch to 64-bit Vista.

Windows 7 is expected to be the last to natively run at 32-bits. The next major Windows revision after it will be 64-bit native, running 32-bit applications through the use of a compatibility layer.

Windows Server 2008 R2, the server version of Windows 7, is already exclusively 64-bit.

With the switch to Windows 7, it would be easiest for PC OEMs to adopt 64-bit exclusively. That would reduce the number of SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and drivers that would be needed by half, not an insignificant number when you consider that Windows 7 will ship in at least 4 editions. Multiply that by at least 34 localized language versions.

Additionally, the price premium of DDR3 will drop significantly as 50nm production kicks in. DDR3 is the memory of choice for AMD's CPUs using the AM3 socket, as well as Intel's Core i7 and Core i5 (Lynnfield). Due to lower power consumption, DDR3 adoption on laptops is progressing rapidly as well.

"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," said Chris Flores, a Director on the Windows Client Communications Team.

Since 64-bit Vista and Windows 7 can run 32-bit applications, the last remaining hurdle is driver compatibility. Many new devices now have 64-bit device drivers available for Vista, and those should be mostly compatible with Windows 7.

An important tool is the Windows Vista Compatibility Center. Devann thinks that 64-bit support will drive sales: "They can go here and look at 64-bit compatibility, and with the trend that we just saw this is a good place for communicating with your customers about your support for 64-bit, so that they can prefer your product if they have one of these 64-bit systems".

Devann addressed the crowd at WinHEC with the following message, "I urge everyone here to make sure that you have the right 64-bit support, and in general 32-bit software runs fine on 64-bit Windows, but when it comes to drivers, that's where the work is. And with this audience, it's something that we're all acutely aware."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: It should be 64bit only
By B3an on 1/22/2009 2:00:19 AM , Rating: 4
If MS just did Win7 64-Bit your'd get all the cavemen moaning that it will not run on there system. Just like with the morons that tried to install Vista on hardware that was obviously not capable, and then got angry about it.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By Bateluer on 1/22/2009 8:33:31 AM , Rating: 3
These cavemen are going to piss and moan regardless. They've moaned when MS released their first GUI Windows OS, they moaned with the release of Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, and lord, we all know how they moaned with Vista. They'll moan with 7 when its released as well. The positive view of Windows 7 now comes from enthusiasts and tech oriented people running the betas, not the general public who gets confused when things like 'My Computer' is renamed to 'Computer'.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By mindless1 on 1/22/2009 10:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
and yet, the cavemen manage to do all the same work on a computer as those who insist more than 4GB of memory is important.

64bit is definitely the future, but a push or abandonment of 32bit when the vast majority of the world is currently using a 32bit OS with no need for more, would be foolish.

As always before, this is a transition period and that means supporting both. Don't ever pretend you are somehow less caveman like if you run 64bit, an intelligent person can use any tech placed in front of them without whining about what doesn't work and a need for change.

I'll bet you think it's necessary to have 8GB of memory and 64bit OS to do basic tasks people were doing with 512MB for years. Don't kid yourself, it is not memory address space that is a problem it is the programmers and users at this point.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By The0ne on 1/22/2009 1:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
I will have to agree. Most users, even hardcore enthusiast, encountered doesn't even use 4Gig or more memory. Even with pre-caching programs and applications that doesn't really mean they're using them all the time.

Now some users and enthusiasts doing technical work and what not will benefit from the increase in memory, ala 64bit OS and apps.

And if you're ever in the service department you know there are still a lot of users out there that still rely on 16bit/32bit apps. Most likely your city council is still using old voting systems, typewriters, PCs, etc :) You can't force some of the baby boomers to change :)

RE: It should be 64bit only
By SlyNine on 1/23/2009 6:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yea but those people who are not enthusiasts will probably want to stick with there computer for a while.

Down the road they may need more then 2gigs of ram and since they don't upgrade much support for more then 2gigs might be even more important because they wont even understand why they cannot just slap 2 more gigs of ram in there system and they'll think, wtf is 32bit and 64 bit.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By Chaser on 1/22/2009 1:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think the "caveman" term is a bit extreme especially when it comes to 64 bit. Many users don't embrace computer hardware and software technological advances like most readers of Daily Tech do. Some "cavemen" are very intimidated by computers just as others could be by car engines, operating rooms or sewage plants.

To many people rocking the boat can be as simple as changing their desktop layout. They see a computer as a necessary part of their job and at times as annoying as their occasionally arrogant or grouchy boss.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
Related Articles
DDR3 Will be Cheaper, Faster in 2009
January 20, 2009, 8:51 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki