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Half of Windows 7 Machines Running 64-Bit Version

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the way-better-than-my-one-bit-idea dept.

Microsoft 401

nk497 writes "Microsoft has said that nearly half of machines running Windows 7 are using the 64-bit version, up from just 11% of PCs running Vista. The 32-bit version is limited to 4GB RAM, while the 64-bit version allows 192GB, as well as added security and virtualization capabilities. While Microsoft is pushing 64-bit as a way to gain performance in the OS, it earlier this year advised users to install the 32-bit version of Office 2010, 'because currently many common add-ins for Office will not function in the 64-bit edition.'"

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401 comments

64-bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875530)

Twice as fast! Thus my Second First Post since I went all 64-bits!!

Re:64-bits (-1, Offtopic)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875618)

Twice as fast! Thus my Second First Post since I went all 64-bits!!

It's easy to get a First Post because Slashdot stories all have zero comments today.

Statistics, statistics (5, Insightful)

mstefan (635858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875534)

The reality is though that 10% of Windows systems are 64-bit (there's actually still more systems running Vista than Windows 7 out there, although the gap is shrinking). The vast majority of Windows desktops are still running the 32-bit version of Windows XP, and that's not going to change until businesses decide they have a compelling reason to upgrade.

Re:Statistics, statistics (3, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875608)

The vast majority of Windows desktops are still running the 32-bit version of Windows XP, and that's not going to change until businesses decide they have a compelling reason to upgrade.

And my guess is that'll happen when they stop supporting XP P3 - which if my memory serves correct is 2014? Can someone back me up on that?

64 bit isn't too far off. As a developer you'd be better off getting a copy soon and work on merging your projects over to work on 64 bit now, rather than wait for crunch time.

Re:Statistics, statistics (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875730)

And I'm running XP-64, so if you love XP and want 64 the possibility exists.

Re:Statistics, statistics (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875946)

I thought most people say XP-64 is crap?

I just bought a Windows 7 PC used for $150. I never even thought about the RAM limit. It's just a 32-bit CPU so that means I can never go larger than 3 gigabyte. :-( On the other hand maybe I'll never need to. My current XP-PC is still on just half-a-gig and works fine. (shrug)

Re:Statistics, statistics (2, Informative)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876366)

Running XP-64 here for work (not by choice- some legacy support needed for projects in Visual Studio 2003, which doesn't work on Vista/7). I've been using it for 3 years.

The desktop/taskbar will occasionally freeze for no reason. That's my only major annoyance.

The driver situation is better than it used to be. Nvidia's drivers have come a long way- up until last year, I couldn't enable antialiasing while multiple monitors were in use (now I can). Coworkers using SLI still have issues, but then again, even 32-bit drivers aren't perfect at SLI. I no longer get blue screen crashes when hot-swapping USB-drives.

Still doesn't hold a candle to Win7-64 though- it seems more stable than 32-bit XP, at least on the 2 systems that have been upgraded from XP to 7 at my home.

Re:Statistics, statistics (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875952)

What's the driver situation like on XP-64 these days? Do you get security updates at about the same time as your 32 bit brethren? I remember in ~2004 when my buddy got XP he had to downgrade to 32 bit due to driver avalibility issues but I'm sure a lot has changed in six years.
 
I recently upgraded from XP-32 to Win7-64 and was amazed that everything I own had recent and fully functional 64 bit drivers... except my netgear brand wifi card, which is 64 bit supported, unless you have more than 3.5GB of ram [nearlydeaf.com] . The workaround of which involves unsigned Spanish language drivers...

Re:Statistics, statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875776)

64 bit isn't too far off. As a developer you'd be better off getting a copy soon and work on merging your projects over to work on 64 bit now, rather than wait for crunch time.

You never needed a 64-bit system to compile for the architecture. Anyone who waited this long to port is stunningly ignorant and about 5 years behind the curve.

BTW, one thing not reflected in pure breakdown of user distribution, is that those "50%" of 64-bit users are the FAR more important ones when it comes to marketing. Users stuck behind the technology train are simply not worth catering to, generally.

Re:Statistics, statistics (3, Insightful)

Zixaphir (845917) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875866)

Unless, of course, they are the majority and it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime soon. I mean, you're talking about being behind the curve, but I also bet you're running an x86 derivative. A 64-bit instruction set doesn't fix the gaping problems of x86. Yet, x86 remains the defacto standard.

Re:Statistics, statistics (3, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875930)

A 64-bit instruction set doesn't fix the gaping problems of x86.

...but it does fix some of them, such as increasing the number of registers and support for SSE2 (I think) extensions on all x86-64 chips.

Re:Statistics, statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32876312)

Unless, of course, they are the majority and it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime soon.

'Majority' is almost without meaning. A 64-bit (OS) user is vastly more likely to buy your product than a 32-bit user. He has dispensable funds. Many 32-bit users (often stuck on 5-10 y/o hardware) do not. Furthermore, if you are (still!) writing desktop applications today, you are likely targetting specific hardware capability, which means recent HW is even more relevant.

This doesn't usually apply if you write software for businesses, of course. IE6 is important to corporate aiming web developers for largely the same reason.

Re:Statistics, statistics (5, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875904)

64 bit isn't too far off. As a developer you'd be better off getting a copy soon and work on merging your projects over to work on 64 bit now, rather than wait for crunch time.

Pro-active developers ? You've got to be kidding. It took the "annoyance" of Vista's UAC before developers finally started changing their Windows applications not to needlessly require admin privileges. They're not going to be implementing 64-bit support one second before "crunch time" arrived.

Re:Statistics, statistics (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32876078)

Or they will implement something after the axe falls, but alpha or at best beta quality. When users call in griping how their product doesn't work, the company will say it was MS who did this. Vista got a lot of flack from lazy development houses because they would not bother making their stuff UAC compatible, or even writing solid drivers for Vista's driver model, blaming any crashes and blue screens on MS.

It is funny how on every other platform but Windows, should a major shift happen, devs gripe, but they deal with it. On Windows, just getting companies to separate user/superuser code causes a major trainwreck because the software companies (or the offshore code sweatshops) are too lazy to deal with it.

Re:Statistics, statistics (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876004)

64 bit isn't too far off. As a developer you'd be better off getting a copy soon and work on merging your projects over to work on 64 bit now, rather than wait for crunch time.

Every 32-bit program I've tried to run on 64-bit Win7 have worked perfectly. Some have even benefited, since a 32-bit program in 64-bit Windows can use the entire 4GB virtual memory space for itself, assuming that the correct executive headers are set. And of course having more physical memory makes multitasking easier and allows for more disk cache.

Re:Statistics, statistics (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876060)

For the most part, there's very little reason to port apps over to 64-bit. As the OS level, it's great, allows more memory, and allows you to run 64-bit apps. But at the app level, unless your app can make use of the expanded address space, it's not really that useful to port. The few apps that can really take advantage of it were ported long ago.

Re:Statistics, statistics (3, Insightful)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875844)

And considering so many companies are moving towards web based interfaces for their internal applications, this is going to take a long time. Sure, MS can stop making IE for XP, but get SP3 on the machines and it's pretty damn secure. Add to that Chrome or FF to run the business applications and you have a machine that's going to last for many years to come. Want to go faster? Get faster/more servers! XP can essentially become a dumb terminal as for as those enterprises are concerned. I think that about the only thing they could do is to make new versions of office not run on XP. That'll make a few companies switch because they can't be without outlook+exchange/word/excel.

Re:Statistics, statistics (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875884)

The vast majority of Windows desktops are still running the 32-bit version of Windows XP, and that's not going to change until businesses decide they have a compelling reason to upgrade.

Ah, you mean in a year or two when the machine is upgraded.

Upgraded? (2, Interesting)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876090)

For a long time, when we get new machines, the first thing we do is upgrade them from Vista to XP. This is likely to continue.

Re:Statistics, statistics (3, Insightful)

mstefan (635858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876252)

Businesses don't tend to have that short of an upgrade cycle when it comes to operating systems. They typically prefer to stay on the trailing-edge of technology as long as possible -- "if ain't broke, don't fix it" is the mantra of most IT departments, particularly in larger companies. If you look at a lot of the "droneware" business desktops out there today, they're sold with 2-4GB RAM and downgrade rights to XP 32-bit. So while the system may be "sold" with a Win 7 64-bit license, that doesn't mean it's ultimately how it's being used.

Incoming incessant sopssa trolling. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875538)

Sopssa is a fucking worthless troll. Remember it moderators.

Peace out!

Re:Incoming incessant sopssa trolling. (0, Offtopic)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875562)

I hate Sopssa as much as the next guy but does he even post here anymore?

Maybe he finally wandered back to join his herd at channel9.

Re:Incoming incessant sopssa trolling. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875964)

I haven't seen him recently, either.

Good riddance! XD

Memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875550)

I'll bet that very, very few of those have more than 4GB of RAM or utilize the security and virtualization enhancements. The reason why half are running 64-bit is that all the major computer manufacturers pre-loaded it on all their low-end sale PCs.

Why, oh why? (4, Interesting)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875554)

Is there a good technical reason for 32-bit Windows 7 not supporting more than 4 GB of RAM, period? PAE [wikipedia.org] has been in use for a long time now, and while you can't have a single process that exceeds 3 GB in Linux (tunable, I'm given to understand, can also be a 2 GB per process limit in some installations), you can definitely go past 4 GB of total system memory. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise supports 64 GB per 32-bit system...

Re:Why, oh why? (3, Informative)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875686)

Why enable a workaround when there is a native way to support it? PAE does also technically have a performance impact, your average desktop user isn't exactly going to understand that.

Re:Why, oh why? (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875744)

As far as performance impacts go, 64-bit systems will use more memory for the same set of running programs than otherwise equivalent 32-bit systems.

Re:Why, oh why? (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875700)

Is there a good technical reason for 32-bit Windows 7 not supporting more than 4 GB of RAM, period? PAE has been in use for a long time now, and while you can't have a single process that exceeds 3 GB in Linux (tunable, I'm given to understand, can also be a 2 GB per process limit in some installations), you can definitely go past 4 GB of total system memory.

PAE can break [technet.com] badly written drivers, which are more common on desktop versions of the OS than they are on server versions.

Re:Why, oh why? (3, Interesting)

mpfife (655916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875736)

Well, the first off, PAE only gets you to 64gb of memory. While that should be plenty for most people for the foreseeable future, we all know that setting arbitrary and somewhat lower limits turns you into the most quoted man in history (640k should be enough for everyone....) Also, as I recall, the 64-bit memory manager in Vista was quite a bit different (and faster) than the one in the 32-bit version. Legacy support(?) However, there is more than just addressable memory to consider with a 64-bit operating system. If you use PAE, your APPS are still running 32 bit. Apps need to be recompiled or even reworked/rewritten to utilize the new 64-bit operating system features. That's probably what they're hoping for more - to get folks to thinking and writing in 64-bit. While I don't think it was a totally cool move - if I'm not mistaken Microsoft has some features available only in the 64-bit api's. In Vista, certain secure driver signing modes didn't exist except in the 64-bit version (not that this is a good thing - they were terrible - but it does show a difference).

Re:Why, oh why? (3, Informative)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875784)

For the 64 gig support on a 32 bit machine you often need special servers with chipsets that bank the memory appropriately and special system drivers (Serverworks is/was famous for this) on top of that - its really only something you need to do if you were running Metaframe (I think its called XenApp server?) because most Windows apps won't go past 2 gigs of allocation anyhow.

My understand is the reason for this is just special hardware/driver support - many consumer motherboards for instance map real world pci resources in the 4 gig address range. Its probably easier on quality assurance to only support what they do on server OS's.

64 bit system doesn't have any of these limitations and you can address all the memory in one chunk without any work-arounds - hence the wider support for more ram there.

Re:Why, oh why? (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875792)

PAE adds another layer to the page tables (as does 64-bit addressing), which makes TLB misses more expensive, so you don't want to enable it on systems that don't have more than 4GB of RAM. Given that very few machines ship with more than 4GB of RAM, but a 32-bit processor, it's likely that this would be a configuration that would get very little or no testing (especially from driver developers) so would be potentially very buggy.

A lot of PCI devices are 32-bit, so drivers need to use bounce buffers to do DMA transfers to physical memory over the 4GB line. This is something that device drivers designed for 32-bit systems won't do, because they can just pass 32-bit physical addresses straight to the device on the systems they were written for.

Re:Why, oh why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875972)

For more than 18 months, I've been running Linux on a (64 bit) Core I7-920.... with 12 GB of RAM. Not buggy, not buggy at all.

Re:Why, oh why? (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875840)

Pure technical reason - short answer: nope.

This is what I have heard - it's not that 32-bit can't do PAE (as you mentioned, in Server SKU it support up to 64GB), but drivers for client 32-bit SKU are usually written are tested for PAE, which means more bluescreen if you insist doing so.

Re:Why, oh why? (0)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875872)

Actually, I believe it has to do with memory addressing. Applications use a single word for memory addresses. Since each byte is addressable, you are limited by the size of your memory address. And a 32-bit INT has the capacity of addressing roughly 4 billion locations. 32-bit Systems [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why, oh why? (1)

yoyhed (651244) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875896)

Are you actually running MORE than 4GB of RAM with a 32-bit processor? If so, I'd assume it was an older server, in which case you'd probably be running Windows Server which indeed does support more than 4GB for 32 bit. 64-bit Windows compatibility these days is awesome with everything but old 16-bit applications (and you can just run an emulator or VM for those) - no reason not to use the 64-bit version if you've got 4+ gigs of RAM.

Re:Why, oh why? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875944)

Is there a good technical reason for 32-bit Windows 7 not supporting more than 4 GB of RAM, period?

Yes. Firstly it requires applications to be modified to really see much benefit, secondly it hurts performance, and thirdly it breaks a myriad of poorly written third-party drivers and other low-level applications.

Re:Why, oh why? (5, Informative)

bernywork (57298) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875984)

You try accessing more than 2GB of RAM (or 3GB of RAM with the /3GB switch in boot.ini) in a single process. What you end up having to do is (firstly) your own memory management (Which sucks) and having to manage multiple 2GB "windows" so if you want to read data you have to swap in an out of these "windows" to be able to read them as the kernel itself is only 32bit and can only directly address 4GB of RAM.

So you end up coding in what is known in Windows as "Addressable Window Extensions" and they are a pain in the arse. Doing this on SQL server and Oracle was basically a necessity, and when PAE was first thought of, this is exactly what was being thought about, database systems. They have been able to use PAE in VMware etc and other places as they give the upper and lower limits for memory address directly to the operating system (Windows, Linux whatever else is actually running in the VM) and then they address via the hypervisor that memory address space, meaning that the hypervisor doesn't have to do a lot of memory management (Certainly nothing like protected memory)

So in effect, the biggest reason for 32bit Windows 7 not supporting more than 4GB of RAM is because the kernel itself is a 32bit app and doesn't have the 64bit address space to directly address more than 4GB of RAM itself.

In the long term it's just too hard, and it's easier to code for 64bit than to deal with what are effectively kludges to make this work.

If you need to know more about this, I would suggest Mark Russinovich's Windows Internals book.

Re:Why, oh why? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876154)

Pushing people off 32bit so that 64 bit drivers are properly developed for is a pretty good reason.
 
  I bet in two years' time with the wider adoption of 64 bit atom processors we'll see Win7-64 being 80%+ of the install base. Considering both versions cost the same there's no reason to go with 32 bit unless you have some horrible backwards app that can't handle being run in XP-32 compatibility mode as administrator.

limits (4, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875556)

192GB ought to be enough for anyone...

Re:limits (0, Redundant)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875702)

Since the days when 640K would be enough for anyone, memory requirements have been increasing dramatically. But, what real functionality have we've received as a result of the bloat? What can you do today that you couldn't do back then? The spreadsheets are the same. Pretty much the same for Word processors - sure there's more esoteric functionality for any particular 1% of the users but is it really needed?

Is it the games that caused the bloat?

I see this bloat but no real improvements.

Re:limits (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875812)

Games are a big deal. For those of us who *aren't* using Linux, we're well past the days of CGA games that run from a single floppy. Some of us demand more, and all of that map and texture data isn't just going to store itself.

And games are just for starters. What about music and video? You can't play MP3s or watch Blu-Ray video (or any other type for that matter) with 640k of RAM. Some people want to use our PCs for more than spreadsheets or word processors, and 640k is more than a little limiting.

(Admittedly, modern word processors and spreadsheet programs are definitely more bloated than they really need to be, but we've gained functionality as a result -- like the ability to actually see what our documents will look like when they're printed, instead of lines of monospaced text. Being able to edit larger documents and spreadsheets without continually having to go to disk to get more data is nice too.)

Re:limits (1)

chrisl456 (699707) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875786)

Haha. But wait... why is there a 192GB limit? Shouldn't it be much higher? Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] that it should be at least 256 TB.

Re:limits (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875822)

They limit up to what they can test. If they had a desktop machine with Windows 7 Ultimate running with 256 TB of Ram, it would be the new limit.

Re:limits (1)

parlancex (1322105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876278)

They also like to impose arbitrary limits to segment their market, such as the limits on the number of physical CPUs supported in most versions of Windows.

Shipped that way (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875564)

The majority are probably shipped that way. The new PC I bought for my wife came with Win7 Home Premium. It's dual boot though, as she has been on a KDE desktop for years and prefers that to Windows. She tried out Win 7 for a couple of days before I got Kubuntu set up for her, and she didn't care for it.

32 at work, 64 at home (5, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875586)

We use the 32 bit at work for the compatability with old the old MS Access databases (don't ask... I just work here...)

I use the 64 bit at home - even though it causes some odd glitches with various games here and there, for the most part it runs everything much smoother. I decided that I'd need more than 4 Gigs of RAM to run Visual Studio to Debug my modified Source game.

Re:32 at work, 64 at home (3, Informative)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875628)

64-bit should be fine for most. For those 32-bit apps that glitch out (or those random Win16 apps, like the old Windows Entertainment Pack games), just run them with XP Mode.

Re:32 at work, 64 at home (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875826)

At work we find a lot of our apps need to run in Compatability mode regardless of 32 or 64 bit. - I mean they were written in like PowerBuilder 4 or something... Just finished getting them working with Oracle 10g.

At home, I find that on the odd occaison, Dragon Age Origins will have a glitchy moment, kind of like tearing but not. I mean I've fiddled around with compatability and video options, to no avail - I would normally suspect the graphics card in that case but I was pretty sure a GTS 240 could handle it.

Re:32 at work, 64 at home (2, Interesting)

shaunbr (563633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875914)

Other than the 16-bit apps, which 64-bit Windows 7 *finally* removed support for, I've had few issues with older programs. I even loaded Might and Magic VI (written in ~1997) and it loaded up and ran without problems -- I didn't even need to use XP compatibility mode.

Microsoft may get a lot of criticism here (much of it rightly deserved), but backwards compatibility is something they've almost always managed to get right. For the last few years I wondered how much pain we'd run into when the 'average' desktop PC finally hit the 4GB RAM barrier and had to move to a 64-bit OS, but Microsoft has managed to make it mostly painless. Of course, backwards compatibility brings bloat, but since many 64-bit users are already over the 4GB barrier, I think it's a reasonable tradeoff.

Re:32 at work, 64 at home (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875992)

XP Mode doesn't support 3D graphics. At all.

Which leaves you two choices: VirtualBox, which supports OpenGL plus DirectX 8/9 if you replace one of the OS's files, or VMWare Player which supports OpenGL and all versions of DirectX out of the box.

Same boat here (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875668)

Just got the word that the desktop team is pushing out Window 7. Unfortunately, there are "a couple" of printers that they couldn't get working 64b drivers for. So they are pushing the 32b version out to everyone...

Blows my mind... It would cost at most a $5000 to replace those printers, compared to the cost of 600+ copies of Windows 7. Crazy.

-Rick

Re:Same boat here (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875894)

If its anything like where I work (community college) actually doing the work to get more printers purchased is more work then installing 32 bit version of Windows.

The other thing - having dealt with this exact issue - often similar drivers will work on older printers. For example - if there are Vista 64 or XP-64 drivers those will work - or failing that a similar PCL-5 driver (that may actually come with the OS). Also many printers support postscript emulation - and while postscript isn't technically device independent its often close enough to work.

What about flash? (2, Interesting)

JasonStevens (1574841) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875612)

We've only been waiting FOREVER for a Win64 version of Flash from adobe...

Although I will say this, the state of drivers for Win64 is far better then the early days (NT 3.1/3.5) of Win32.

Re:What about flash? (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875718)

We've only been waiting FOREVER for a Win64 version of Flash from adobe...

They probably don't feel like they need to rush it, because, as it is, Win7 x64 still ships with 32-bit IE as a default browser (due to need to preserve plugin compatibility), and all other mainstream browsers only release officially supported Windows versions in 32-bit.

Re:What about flash? (5, Insightful)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875970)

Did you just say that we don't have 64-bit flash because Windows uses 32-bit IE because we don't have 64-bit flash?

Re:What about flash? (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876106)

Yep. Probably the most secure browser in the world is a 64bit one, since you can't run any plugins, and you're using one of the most uncommon stack layouts... :P

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32876374)

Yes, i believe he did.

Re:What about flash? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875774)

What is the deal with those slothful people? Are they planning to make their business obsolete. I thought I'd see 64 bit Flash long before we saw 64 bit Windows hit the 50% mark.

If I was a stockholder, I'd be pissed and selling.

Re:What about flash? (2, Interesting)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875910)

You would? What actual advantage would you get from a 64 bit version of flash over the 32 bit version? None really unless it was an absolutely massive project.

The only reason they did anything about it on Linux is because the default browser (often Firefox) was a 64 bit build.

The two statements not contradictory (1)

TechnoLuddite (854235) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875650)

While the ratio of 50% does seem high to me, there's no contradiction between a 64-bit OS and a 32-bit app. Windows 7 64-bit (and numerous other 64-bit operating systems) can run 32-bit apps.

I'm not sure I see the supposed conflict in the last statement.

In another news (3, Interesting)

miknix (1047580) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875664)

I've been running 64bit Gentoo Linux since I bought one the first models of Athlon 64, which was almost 7 years ago!

Re:In another news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875920)

Compile time doesn't count.

Re:In another news (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875936)

Exactly - for my first computer (about a week and 7 years ago), I made explicitly sure to buy a 64-bit processor - it was the future! I didn't want to be left out when the entire computing world caught up to 64 bit computing.

7 years later we're still waiting for developers to catch on *cough* *Adobe.*

Re:In another news (1)

magellanic (689252) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876330)

I've been compiling 64bit Gentoo Linux since I bought one the first models of Athlon 64, which was almost 7 years ago!

FTFY

Why 64-bit is ready now (3, Interesting)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875678)

One of the most obvious things about the development of 64-bit architecture is how woefully behind its 32-bit counterpart just a few years ago. I had a spare rig which I put XP 64 on in around spring of 2007. The low level of development together with the fact that powerful machines did not often have more than 4GB back then meant little incentive for devs to put time in 64-bit. I couldn't even find hardware drivers, and this led my disgruntled self to format that particular rig, whilst telling myself to research this stuff in future.

I believe Microsoft deserves some cred, along with certain hardware firms like AMD/Intel, with bringing 64 bit to the fore. Not to mention the PS3 and some Macs being of that architecture too. Ironically Microsoft's most stunted OS since the much maligned Windows ME was the first one that could run 64 bit convincingly despite a laundry list of flaws that haunted the entire life cycle of that particular product. Windows 7 is in some ways like XP was to ME a whole 9 years ago.

Whilst it's great for RAM purposes, and thus demanding things like gaming which will soon require 6GB or more for popular titles there are drawbacks. A file in 64 bit takes up more memory, mainly due to alignment padding. Thus one needs a fairly good set of chips to cache efficiently in future years as the levels of memory inevitably increase. However with the amount of progress going on I daresay all but the most budget hardware solutions will tackle drawbacks very well.

That the figure is now 50% compared to about a fifth of that not long ago is indicative that 64-bit has finally become established in the mainstream.

Re:Why 64-bit is ready now (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875860)

Whilst it's great for RAM purposes, and thus demanding things like gaming which will soon require 6GB or more for popular titles there are drawbacks. A file in 64 bit takes up more memory, mainly due to alignment padding. Thus one needs a fairly good set of chips to cache efficiently in future years as the levels of memory inevitably increase. However with the amount of progress going on I daresay all but the most budget hardware solutions will tackle drawbacks very well.

The one thing people keep forgetting is how register-starved the 32-bit x86 is compared to the 64-bit. Going 64-bit on the x86 has performance benefits in addition to the large memory space. Another benefit is an explicit availability of fast vector instruction sets such as SSE(1,2,3+), which are not guaranteed to be on the 32-bit x86 CPUs.

Re:Why 64-bit is ready now (0, Troll)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876140)

I believe Microsoft deserves some cred, along with certain hardware firms like AMD/Intel, with bringing 64 bit to the fore. Not to mention the PS3 and some Macs being of that architecture too.

Which architecture would that be? PS3 has a 64-bit PowerPC CPU, and so did Power Macs with the G5. Does this have something to do with the 32/64-bit transition in x86?

If you mean 64-bit architectures in general, don't forget the Alpha which was released in 1992.

Of course, despite the bitness upgrade, the closed Microsoft world remains stuck in the x86 world. Meanwhile, others are free to choose the best/nicest platform for the job.

Re:Why 64-bit is ready now (1)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876216)

I believe Microsoft deserves some cred, along with certain hardware firms like AMD/Intel, with bringing 64 bit to the fore.

Sadly, that's largely a reflection on the distorting effect that Microsoft has on the market. Intel and Microsoft were just following where just about everybody else had gone before.

Re:Why 64-bit is ready now (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876258)

Vista was actually a much better implementation of 64-bit than WinXP-64, and Vista's limited driver and software support was *nothing* compared to the wasteland that was XP-64. I realize there was a lot of pissing and moaning about Vista, but you probably would have experienced far less heartache by going that route in the Spring of '07 than "sticking with" XP (which you weren't actually doing anyway, since 64-bit XP comes from a separate codebase).

Well the other thing (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876362)

32-bit compatibility in 64-bit Windows is completely seamless. Any user mode app just runs. You are unaware it is 32-bit unless you check the process list, it suffers no noticeable (and hardly even measurable) speed degradation and so on. It just works, you don't have to know or care if the app is 32-bit or not.

That means, for most people, there is no reason NOT to run 64-bit. It is very rare that you have an app that runs on a 32-bit OS but not a 64-bit one. The only real cases are ones that use kernel drivers and don't have 64-bit versions and old 16-bit apps. So very few users are effected.

As such running 64-bit just means the flexibility to run new 64-bit apps, as well as have more RAM, and no real downsides for most people.

Artificial limits R US (tm) (4, Interesting)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875762)

Is there a reason they can't go above the artificial limit of 192 GB?

64 bit CPUs should be able to access up to 18,446,000,000 GB of memory space, so I see no reason for the arbitrary limit.

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875838)

money, dear boy

Microsoft defines 'defective by design', and you should know that FAT32 is limited to 120GB and is outdated (lies)

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (3, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875852)

Is there a reason they can't go above the artificial limit of 192 GB?

Because then Windows Server wouldn't look very impressive.

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32875864)

If they can't test it, they don't want to ship with it.

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (3, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875932)

Is there a reason they can't go above the artificial limit of 192 GB?

Is there a realistic way of testing it past that amount?

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876094)

What, you mean software is supposed to be tested on what it claims to support? I thought we could just assume the coding was fine. ;)

Seriously though, you're right. You don't claim to support something unless you tested it on that, usually. Perhaps this is different with *cough cough* most free software, I don't know (I wouldn't blame them particularly, since I doubt most free/open-source devs have access to copious amounts of ram).

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875940)

Most (even server) CPU's don't support more anyway. It isn't a hard limit like the 640k or 4GB limits though, the next version can support more while remaining binary compatible with user programs. Given that it's hardly a problem.

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32876022)

18446000000 / 16GB = 1,152,875,000. Note at 400MHz(the minimum DDR3 speed) light travels about 1 meter per clock cycle. Such a memory array would be much larger than 1 cubic meter, making DDR latency numbers impossible to meet even with lightspeed interconnects.

Yes, IAAAD(I am an ASIC designer)

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32876038)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit#Current_64-bit_microprocessor_architectures

The x64 has a 48 bit limitation on the virtual address space.

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (4, Insightful)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876174)

x86-64 can only address 48-bits and Windows only addresses 44-bits (16 TB). The Windows limitation is interesting because no windows release to date can even touch that address limitation.

My best guess would be that OS releases are artificially limited to the amount of memory they actually test internally against. Home Premium probably doesn't get serious testing beyond 16GB while Ultimate might get tested against 192GB workstation hardware. High end server releases probably get tested with up to 2TB (probably the maximum amount of hardware available at time of testing). 32-bit desktops probably don't even get tested with PAE enabled at all since chances are desktop hardware drivers will crash and burn so they get a 4GB limit.

Hardware, memory limits. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32876262)

The size of your address bus is going to affect how much RAM your hardware supports; 64 address lines costs more on die than, say, 36-40 address lines. Likewise, storing 40-bit or 48-bit (5-6 byte) address mappings saves space over 8-byte mappings when dealing with virtual memory, paging, etc. When you have that much RAM, you're going to have to start trading off space for page size or suffer some performance issues.

In reality, modern hardware supports even larger address sizes (48-bit on AMD architectures, according to Wikipedia). But there is still some storage overhead on the OS end. One would expect Windows 8 to support something in the 128-256 TB range, etc., as hardware and memory density improve, but probably not go all the way up to 64-bit addressing.

Re:Artificial limits R US (tm) (2, Interesting)

janeuner (815461) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876340)

In this context, bit-width refers to the size of a data register, not the size of the address space. The address space of an x86-64 processor varies between 40-bits up to a full 64-bits, depending upon the generation of a particular architecture.

Further, consider the purpose of such a mechanism. DD3 can move data at a rate in the range of 2^34 bytes/sec. If we had a memory pool of 2^48 bytes, it would take 4 hours just to read the full contents of that memory space one time. This is clearly unusable, so that "artificial limit" is practical and efficient given current technology.

If only PAE wasn't disabled in software (1)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875854)

... people could still use 32bit in computers with up to 64GB of RAM in Windows. ;)

However I'm not really sure if 64bit Windows is good or bad, now the amount of compatibility craft is multiplied by two because Windows cannot run without 32bit libraries vs. Linux/other Unix'es where you can have a pure 64bit environment.

Only half? (4, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875888)

Everything I've ever thrown at 64 bit windows runs just fine, and usually somewhat smoother than 32 bit. Even some really old stuff. The only software I ever found that don't run on 64-bit are some really old dos games and utilities, but then they didn't even run under 32-bit XP either.

It boggles my mind why so many people with 64-bit hardware would still install a 32-bit version of windows. I wonder how much of this is actually ignorance and/or just force of habit rather than actual knowledge that they have something that actually doesn't work under 64 bit.

Re:Only half? (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875982)

I run 64bit Win7 just fine as my gaming/art box, haven't found anything incompatible yet.
I don't run Office, though - just portable apps, Adobe CS video/graphics, and games.

Re:Only half? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876056)

The Intel Atom netbook and nettop computers require 32 bit OSs. So there really are new, popular computers being shipped which just can't run 64bit.

Re:Only half? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32876228)

While I'm sure most of the Atoms out now only support 32-bit I doubt there are many new ones released with that limitation since the second generation atoms released late last year all support 64-bit. Some of the older models (Atom 200, Atom 300 and the higher end Atom Z) also support it.

Blame MS's Pricing Plans (3, Insightful)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876096)

There are multiple version with multiple flavors at different price points that confuses "people". Add to this the finicky way upgrades behave and "upgrade upgrade" software and it is no wonder a lot of people don't care or realize a 64-bit version exists.

Printers (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876214)

I'm informal tech support for an older lady. I just recently replaced her crappy Dell 2350 with a nice little i3 Gateway (nee Acer) that came with Win 7 64. But I had to also replace her Lexmark Z80 as no real 64 bit drivers exist.

why I'd pick 32 bit (3, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 3 years ago | (#32875928)

I had to work on someone's Vista 64 bit machine and I hated it. Not only were half the programs running in 32 bit mode but almost none of my virus removal tools worked so I couldn't completely disinfect it. Three different antivirus programs wouldn't install properly on it either. Almost no software I had ran on it and for some reason, Java 32 bit was installed and 64 bit wouldn't install. If I wanted a computer that no software ran on, I'd buy a mac.

Re:why I'd pick 32 bit (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876134)

So, because of experiences with Vista x64 (which everyone agrees was not exactly a great OS to begin with), you have decided that 7 x64 is bad. Even though almost everyone in this thread has reported GREAT experiences with the x64 version of Windows 7.

I ran Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64 and had few problems with either (none with 7, a couple with Vista). So now we are even with our one-on-one anecdotal evidence. ;)

Re:why I'd pick 32 bit (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876328)

My only complaint is that drivers for my old Spaceball 4000 serial 3D mouse aren't available for Win 7/64. I had to drop $120 on a newer model that isn't as comfortable to me.

HP (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 3 years ago | (#32876152)

I have noticed quite a few HP computers running 32 bit version of 7 with 6 gigs of RAM I thought that was kind of weird that HP would do something like that.
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