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Are You Switching to 64-bit Processors?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the is-64-bit-windows-worth-the-switch dept.

Operating Systems 252

chip_whisperer asks: "I used to be a big time custom desktop builder, making many working boxes per year, but I've been off the bandwagon for about four years now and am trying to get back into it now that Ars Technica has just released their recommendations. The standard seems to be heading towards 64-bit processors, but I'm wondering if it worth it to run a box on XP-64? I've heard that driver support for 64-bit processors can be a hassle. Also, for you fellow Linux geeks, how are current distros (like Suse, Ubuntu, Debian, and others) doing in supporting 64 bit processors?"

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252 comments

Make a list (5, Informative)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272246)

Make a list of what XP-64 will do for you that XP won't. If there's anything on that list that really entices you, consider XP-64. If not, forget it, and go along your merry way. XP-64 is guaranteed to give you more driver problems than XP, so if there are no added benefits in using it (which there probably aren't for you, unless you want to use over 2GB of memory), there's no reason for the headache.

Perhaps a more interesting question would be whether the Windows-users in the Slashdot community plan to run 64-bit Vista, considering its enhanced security (PatchGuard et al.) as well as its enhanced possibilities of restricting you from doing things on your own computer.

Re:Make a list (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272582)

Who cares about Windows? Thanks for posting this trash though.

Re:Make a list (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272958)

Make a list of what XP-64 will do for you that XP won't. If there's anything on that list that really entices you, consider XP-64. If not, forget it, and go along your merry way.

I have to agree with the other post who said "who cares about XP". I've been using 64-bit gentoo for maybe 2 years now (something like that), without driver issues.

Also, instead of just making a list of what 64 bits will do for you NOW, you should consider the fact you'll have your computer for a number of years. What might you need 64 bits for in the future?

Windows user (5, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272980)

Perhaps a more interesting question would be whether the Windows-users in the Slashdot community plan to run 64-bit Vista, considering its enhanced security (PatchGuard et al.) as well as its enhanced possibilities of restricting you from doing things on your own computer.

I spoke to the /. community's resident Windows user and he is refusing to come out his closet unless you will personally guarantee that the hoard of torch and pitchfork wielding penguins outside won't tar and fether him.

Re:Windows user (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273456)

...unless you will personally guarantee that the hoard of torch and pitchfork wielding penguins outside won't tar and fether him.

You just don't understand how open source works, do you? If for some reason the Slashdot penguin horde promises to stop tarring and feathering Windows users, I'll just fork the project and start my own horde!

Re:Make a list (5, Informative)

Mark-Allen (578402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273500)

I am currently running my new Compaq laptop (nx6325) with Vista RTM 64-Bit. Installed in 20 minutes, and found all hardware. It has a Dual-Core 2GHz Athalon and runs pretty good. But the base 1GB is not sufficient so I immediately ordered another 1GB for CHF 220.00 (about USD 183.00). The 2GB modules are still over CHF 1,000.00 so I'll wait for now.

The default apps and such defaulted to the 32-bit versions, so I had to make some changes to the paths but after that all works well. It has been running non-stop for over 7 days, without a single problem. Actually, I haven't rebooted it at all after the installation, so I haven't much experience. This evening I ran through Windows Update and it updated a few things, but didn't require a reboot which was surprising.

The speed isn't bad for a 64-bit system but Vista is ram-hungry, so I won't be able to see much improvement until I add the extra memory.

In the future, I will not buy anymore new 32-bit systems, only 64-bit. I will, however, continue to check out vintage 32-bit systems for a good price, if necessary. At Christmas, Santa Clause is bringing me 2 DL-360s, which he only paid Euro 250.00 each. I'll use these for W2K3, and all the server-related apps.

But the future is 64-bit and so far, so good.

Just my 2 centimes,

Mark-Allen

Why would I? (2, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272258)

This is kind of a dumb question. If you need the processing power, then switch. If not, then don't.

I have no need for 64 bit processing in my business (retail and web). Computer upgrades have to be worth it, from a financial standpoint. There's no reason for my business to spend any money on 64 bit processors.

Re:Why would I? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272508)

But aren't most processors now 64bit?
Isn't it economically cheaper to get a 64bit chip even if you don't use a 64bit OS?

The answer is: because you don't have a choice. (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272554)

All the new processors from AMD and Intel (and IBM, for that matter) are 64-bit. Therefore, if you get a new PC, you have no choice but to get a 64-bit processor in it. And since they're all backwards-compatible to 32-bit, there's no downside.

The only relevant issue here is whether you want to run 64-bit or 32-bit software on it.

Re:The answer is: because you don't have a choice. (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273080)

Unfortunatly there is still a lot of Intel Core Duo and Core Solo on the laptop market. And especially the Core Duo is still a solid offering even in higher-range laptop.

Some brand updated the Core Duo to Core 2 Duo for 'free', but for most, it is still a premium that is not worth it (10% more perf 30% more $). Especially right now before the release of Vista, when you have the choice between a beter graphic card or a marginally beter CPU.

But as you said, probably second quarter next year, that would be a non issue.
Until then, for a laptop, if you plan to change again in the next 2 years, I would go for a good deal for the Core Duo.
Unless you plan to run Linux, if it's more than 2 years with Microsoft pushing all it can to make Vista64 the main Vista release, I would pay the extra for 64bit or delay my purchase until you don't have the choice.

Re:The answer is: because you don't have a choice. (4, Informative)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273484)

Also, Intel's current entry-level notebook CPU, the Yonah-based Celeron M [intel.com], is still 32-bit and won't be upgraded to the 64-bit Merom core until Q1 2007 [dailytech.com]. This is the CPU you'll likely find in many sub-$600 notebooks and has more than enough performance for most users, IMO. I thought Apple should have used it in a sub-$500 Mac mini (it can use the mini's chipset).

So for this significant portion of the notebook market, I think the transition to 64-bit will probably stretch out past Q2 2007. It might go quicker than most, however, because Merom uses the same chipset as Yonah.

Re:Why would I? (4, Informative)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272624)

Your processing power won't improve at all by switching to x64. The only improvement is that you will be able to address more RAM and HD space, nothing else.
In fact, you will even lose out - 64 bit systems waste more memory than 32 bit systems. That's primarily because the 32-bit structures take up 64 bits on 64 bit system, while not carrying any more data. And all the pointers are suddenly 64 bit in length, etc.
In other words, it's worth switching only if you have and plan to use a reasonably larger amount of RAM/HD space than the 32 bit max limit. (in other words, if you want to switch to use 5gb, i'd recommend sticking with 32 bit system, but for 6gb or 8gb the pros start outweighing the cons)

Re:Why would I? (4, Insightful)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272756)

Most programs run at about the same speed, but some programs gain a lot from running in 64 bit mode.

One example is that bit-board chess engines, including the current top engine Rybka, are much faster. Non bit-board engines gain little or are slower (The extra registers! They do nothing! Or at least not enough to do more than make up for the code bloat).

Large number arithmetic (e.g. encryption) gains even more because one 64 bit multiply does more that twice the work of a 32 bit multiply.

Re:Why would I? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272896)

That's primarily because the 32-bit structures take up 64 bits on 64 bit system, while not carrying any more data.

I can't speak for x86-64 because I've never seen it, but I've played around with 64-bit PowerPC, and that's really not true. Or not necessarily, anyway. Note that in 64-bit PowerPC, there are no "modes"; all registers are 64 bits in width. However, that doesn't stop 32-bit code from running unmodified.

Basically what it comes down to is: it's not the size of your register; it's the size of your load/store. Having 64-bit registers doesn't stop you from doing a "store word" (32-bit store). It would even be somewhat natural to have 48-bit pointers if you wanted. What defines the size of data in your data structures is what conventions you (as an assembly programmer) decide for your loads and stores. As a C programmer, of course, it then comes down to your compiler implementation. On OS X, anyway, the convention is to use 32-bit pointers in 64-bit code.

So it's misleading to say everything is 64 bits in size. You get to play around with 64 bits when it's in your register, but that doesn't dictate how much memory you'll consume.

Re:Why would I? (5, Funny)

bubbl07 (777082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273044)

Basically what it comes down to is: it's not the size of your register; it's the size of your load/store.
Yea, you try explaining that to my girlfriend.

Re:Why would I? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273008)

AMD64 has more registers available. In real world situations the extra 8 general purpose registers effectively triple the usable register set on x86 - this can lead to having fewer loads and stores to the cache which clearly will improve performance.

Some algorithms can be sped up greatly by using 64-bit integers instead of 32-bit integers. OTOH one such class of algorithms, encryption/hashing, is improved even better by on-chip hardware implementations like in the VIA C3/C7 chips.

It shouldn't affect HD space, only the filesystem code which can now use a single 64-bit int, instead of two 32-bit ints to simulate 64-bit capacities. Most filesystems have supported >4GB filesystems for many a year.

Pointers in AMD64 are 48bits IIRC, even though it is 64-bit overall. I may be wrong here, but AMD64 can only virtually address 48-bits anyway (at least in the current implementations) so they didn't want to waste space needlessly. It also doesn't stop you using 32-bit integers where they are sensible.

Re:Why would I? (0, Redundant)

Burdell (228580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273168)

IIRC, the processing power can increase if you run 64 bit apps, because the 64 bit extensions include more registers (which means fewer loads and stores to RAM). 32 vs. 64 bit doesn't affect how much hard drive space you can address, as modern OSes all address >32 bit files already (unless you are still running FAT32).

Also, for the most part, 32 bit structures do NOT take up 64 bits on a 64 bit arch. An int is still 32 bits, and I believe both AMD and Intel can handle (without extra overhead) 32 bit aligned reads of 32 bit data (so no padding is required). Pointers of course are larger, but they do carry more information (with a larger virtual address space, arranging different things in RAM is easier).

Re:Why would I? (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273230)

That's true for Sparc64. Not so much for amd64.

Doubling the number of general purpose registers is nothing to scoff at. Software that takes advantage of that can easily get a noticeable performance jump. Further, the only thing that should reliably be taking up more memory is pointers - x86 & amd64 don't have significant alignment issues like RISC processors, so they can handle short data (i.e. 32 or even 16 bit integers) all day long.

Re:Why would I? (1)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273418)

I didn't know that there are twice as many registers in 64bit version. Of course that's only effective for applications compiled to run natively in 64 bit, not 32 bit guest applications... but I see your point.

Re:Why would I? (1)

tricorn (199664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273718)

If it's that important to save some memory by using 32-bit pointers (and you don't need a 64-bit process address space), then it seems to me it should be pretty easy to compile to code that only uses 32-bit pointers, even with 64-bit code. It shouldn't be hard to mark a process as only having a 32-bit address space so the kernel memory allocation calls don't allocate anything outside of that range (as they'd have to do with 32-bit code anyway). Doesn't GCC support having 64-bit code with 32-bit pointers?

I've been using 64-bit processors for over 10 years, but the Wintel monopoly keeps burying them, damn it, and damn you Compaq and Hewlett-Packard! And Digital. And Apple. Before that I was using 60-bit processors with an 18-bit address space (and one's complement arithmetic, if you needed a further hint).

Realizing that I'm the exception (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272652)

I'm really happy that most processors are now 64 bit. 64 bit means it's easier to access more RAM. More RAM means I can simulate more neurons and synapses in less time.

Gentoo's pretty well along (0, Offtopic)

bssteph (967858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272262)

Can't speak for the other distros, but Gentoo has very good 64-bit support, and it seems that a lot of people feel it is one of the best at it. Both AMD64 and EM64T are supported with the "amd64" arch, so don't get put off by their docs.

You can build pretty much all of your standard desktop software in native 64-bit mode, with some exceptions (generally game console emulators and other games [closed source or sometimes even open source, unfortunately], certain media libraries, and browser plugins), but Gentoo also makes the 32-bit emulation libraries pretty painless to install and use. I've had an AMD64 desktop on ~amd64 for over a year now, and it's been smooth sailing (as far as Gentoo can be considered smooth sailing).

So, as far as Gentoo goes, 64-bit is fine for most things, but if you need some specific software, skip it for now and install using x86 media (which will run the system in 32-bit mode). Example: I run a spare Pentium D mid-tower in 32-bit just because zSNES has been so fragile on my desktop.

Indeed (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272298)

I can't remember whether I have it set to amd64 or ~amd64 though.

Re:Indeed (2, Interesting)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272320)

I'm using ~amd64 and have had no problems whatsoever related to 64-bit compatibility (though if I wanted to install a 32-bit driver, that could change). A few apps, such as Firefox, needed to be 32-bit because of things like the Flash plugin, but for the most part everything is 64-bit.

It's natural that Gentoo would be good at this, considering it's a source-based distribution.

Re:Gentoo's pretty well along (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272548)

I concur. MY office switched to Gentoo 64 bit for our new data center. It works great. No problems with anything we've tried. IF, and thats looking like a huge if at this point, I use vista for anything it won't be for a couple years hopefully the drive situation will be ironed out by then. I'll have to see exactly what happens with the whole drm thing. I personally don't mind the current state of windows drm for wma, but if they reduce the functionality of my computer to prevent me from potentially doing illegal things, while preventing me from doing the idiosyncratic, but legal things I want to do, then forget it.

But 64-bit is overkill for a lot of us (5, Informative)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272600)

I just bought a Core 2 Duo board and processor. I immediately installed the native 64-bit Gentoo on it, but after two months, I decided to go back to running the x86 distribution. I've been using Linux since 1998, and Gentoo on x86 and PowerPC since before 1.4, and I wasn't very happy with amd64.

I'm a desktop user with 2GB RAM, the server is a PowerPC with 1.5GB RAM. I've never seen a system munch memory like this box when it was running 64-bit Linux. Running all those compatability libraries (for Firefox, OpenOffice, and several other apps) seemed to eat a ton of RAM.

Until every app and plugin I use is 64-bit native, I think I'll stay with 32-bit operating systems.

As for 64-bit hardware, you really don't have much choice if you want to buy new hardware. There's no reason NOT to buy 64-bit processors these days, you get the best bang for your buck with AMD64 or EMT64 CPUs. 32-bit operating systems benefit from the new processors almost as much as 64-bit systems do, so go ahead and 'go 32 on 64' if you want a modern computer.

XP-64 (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272264)

I don't think it's worth it to run XP64 yet unless you have a needed 64-bit app. Driver support still isn't great, mainly.

XP-64 (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272278)

Whatever the proper name of it, it sucks. There's next to no improvement over standard XP. That being said, Vista is supposed to have massive improvements. I don't know about any of that though, suse, ubuntu, debian, gentoo, pretty much all the regular distros you hear of have a 64-bit variant and most if not all work well. The beauty of the current 64-bit processors though is you can always run 32-bit code as well. So why not get a 64-bit proc?

64-bit Linux (1)

huckda (398277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272314)

Quite frankly it's been very solid for me at the server level. Thanks to a bunch of other folk's hard work.
NT's 64 bit code for the old DEC Alpha's was much better than XP-64 IMO...
But I have yet to be putting this onto a desktop...the 32-bit is plenty fast enough for desktops, and for MY and my customer's usages...64-bit OS is overkill...

My experiences (1)

dakrin9 (891909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272326)

I've been running 64-bit Windows 2003 server for almost a year now at work. At first I had some driver problems, but soon after the respective companies released 64-bit versions of their products. Since then i've had absolutely no problems with anything i've cared to run. On the other hand i'm not sure exactly how much of a performance boost i'm getting running a 64-bit OS. One thing i did notice was that visual studio compiled MUCH faster on the 64-bit system than my 32-bit system (the 32-bit system being much more powerful hardware wise), but that could just be a coincidence. I'd say go for it.

um. 32 bit? (1)

sporkme (983186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272336)

Using Gmail and flash can be interesting for a 64-bit Linux distro - Mozilla just crashes. I don't know if there is a better fix for this but that is because what I have been doing has Just Worked(TM) since I figured it out, and it was the only way to do it back then. I dug and dug and found that forcing 32-bit flash to run in a 32-bit browser on a 64-bit platform was the way to go.

Here is my posted solution on LinuxForums [linuxforums.org], in case anyone has had the Mozilla-Gmail-flash problem... but I expect that this has been solved differently.

I can't think of a single reason to *not* use a 64 bit processor in a new machine. Upgrade ability and the availability of components pretty much makes this a no-brainer.

Re:um. 32 bit? (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272770)

Using Gmail and flash can be interesting for a 64-bit Linux distro - Mozilla just crashes.

I'm running SuSE 10.0 on my HP Athlon 64 laptop and, surprisingly, I don't have that problem. I just installed Flash - 9.0 beta, no less - and it just worked.

Flash 9 is a big step up from Flash 7, too. For instance, on version 7, it was rare for the audio to be in sync with the video. That works perfectly in version 9.

Re:um. 32 bit? (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272776)

Using Gmail and flash can be interesting for a 64-bit Linux distro - Mozilla just crashes.

I'm using gentoo for intel 64 bits (even new pentium-4's are 64 bits now), and Firefox has never crashed on gmail. I installed a 32 bit version alongside my regular version for the occasional flash page I want to see (but I hate flash). Firefox doesn't ever crash because of flash, it just doesn't display it. I suppose it's possible that this is because Gentoo patches its Firefox, but I don't know. If I were more pragmatic, I would simply use the 32 bit version of Firefox for all my browsing needs.

Everything else works nicely. The newest version of OpenOffice supports 64 bit processors natively. I sometimes install software that is marked ~amd64 (not yet fully tested on amd64, usually marked so because less people are using this platform) and they all seem to work fine. In general, if you are considering Linux, the difference between a 64 bit OS and 32 is very small. Go with the 64 if you want the extra geek points.

I'm no expert on Windows, but the 64 bit editions seem to make more decisions about what the user is allowed to do. This might be good in a corporate environment where fixing computers == time and money (?), but I wouldn't like it too much on a personal computer.

Re:um. 32 bit? (1)

VValdo (10446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272998)

Using Gmail and flash can be interesting for a 64-bit Linux distro - Mozilla just crashes

in 64-bit Gentoo, try this:

emerge mozilla-firefox
emerge netscape-flash
emerge nspluginwrapper


That should let you use the 32-bit flash in 64-bit firefox.

W

switched already (2, Informative)

Keruo (771880) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272354)

I switched all my boxes to 64bit at spring.
Only 32-bit systems left are my laptops and I'm not in hurry to replace those.
After selling the old components, I was left to pay $50-100 per system for the upgrade.

As for XP-64, don't bother, its utter crap. No drivers whatsoever, and the ones you can find are buggy as hell.
If you want 64bit win, you'll have to wait for vista.

For linux, I'd recommend gentoo, but if you're unsure and don't want to compile the entire system, suse or ubuntu works aswell.

Re:switched already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273200)

As for XP-64, don't bother, its utter crap. No drivers whatsoever, and the ones you can find are buggy as hell.
If you want 64bit win, you'll have to wait for vista.

When did you last check? When I first installed x64 nearly a year ago, the only driver I couldn't find was for the sound card built in to the motherboard. Those have since materialized, and I've had no problems with stability.

Not right now (3, Informative)

Hexedian (626557) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272362)

If you're building boxes for friends or customers, you'll want to consider the fact that Macromedia has not released a 64-bits version of Flash player, meaning users have to use a 32-bits browser to see flash animations. You don't start appreciating having flash around until you load the latest YouTube movie.

I switched to a 64 bit (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272370)

I bought a Turion AMD 64 a few months ago. I installed Ubuntu 64bit onto it, and then learned that there is less software out there, and that route is not for Linux noobs like I am. So I installed 32 bit instead.

Thank goodness for Automatix for Ubuntu.

Re:I switched to a 64 bit (1)

ztransform (929641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272784)

I tried installing Ubuntu 64-bit (amd64) 6.06LTS onto a Dell Precision 690 (dual duo-core processors). Was fine except it couldn't find the drivers for the SAS drives I were using. But Ubuntu 6.10 installed great straight off the disc!

A point to note, 64-bit Macromedia Flash for linux isn't out yet - so one has to do something tricky, like install nspluginwrapper (http://gwenole.beauchesne.info/en/projects/nsplug inwrapper [beauchesne.info]) that allows the use of 32-bit plugins for Firefox.

Apart from that all the standard 64-bit apps for linux work fine!

Re:I switched to a 64 bit (1)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273212)

64-bit Macromedia Flash for linux isn't out yet

64-bit Adobe (RIP, "Macromedia") Flash isn't out for any platform yet.

But they're working on it.

Re:I switched to a 64 bit (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272900)

I just bought a Turion AMD64 laptop a couple of weeks ago. I'm dual-booting 64-bit OpenSuSE 10.2 and Windows XP Pro 64. Only problem has been with wireless. (Thank you, Acer, for including a wireless card for which there are apparently no 64-bit drivers.)

Wireless with Win64 was solved with a Gigabyte GN-WB01GS USB dongle. The 64-bit driver's on the CD, which won't autorun and complains that "this CD is for a different format than what your computer uses" or some such garbage. Open it in Windows Explorer, navigate to the Utility folder, and run setup.exe, however, and it offers to install the 64-bit driver.

Wireless for the Linux side I'm still working on. I use ndiswrapper to run the Broadcom card that came with my 32-bit Acer laptop, and it works a treat there, but doesn't seem to do so for the card in the 64-bit machine. It also doesn't work for anything USB (silly me).

The GN-WB01GS (supposedly) uses an RT2570 chipset, for which a Linux driver is available courtesy of the rt2x00 Project [serialmonkey.com]. Their source built fine once I remembered to put a symlink in my /lib/modules/2.6.18-2.34-default/build directory. The driver loads (at least modprobe says it does), but nothing shows up in iwconfig.

I may just wind up buying another WiFi card. Otherwise, no complaints here.

64-bit Debian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272374)

Has been great, apart from continuously failing software raid, I didn't test this with a desktop.

64-bit FreeBSD has been wonderful, but I never ran that in a desktop either.

That leaves 64-bit Mac OS X - which isn't truly 64-bit IIRC, only in the Unix layers, not the desktop layers. The next release should (will?) fix that. And Windows, which appears to work apart from lacking 64-bit drivers and 64-bit key tools/applications/functions.

On Linux, just go for it (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272382)

Linux has supported x86-64 for years now. The recent versions of Fedora and other distributions have perfectly usable 64-bit versions. The few remaining bits and pieces like OpenOffice have been fixed. (If you run proprietary software such as the Flash player it may be a different story.)

In any case what sort of question is this? Should you buy a recent processor like the Athlon 64s AMD have been selling for ages, or the Intel chips on the market for almost as long? Well, yes of course. What half-decent i386-compatible processor sold these days doesn't support the 64-bit mode?

Re:On Linux, just go for it (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272780)

What half-decent i386-compatible processor sold these days doesn't support the 64-bit mode?

Core Duo and Core Solo.

Linux is fine (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272386)

I've been running 64-bit linux on my very low power amd64 system (idles in the 30 C's :D) for about a year and a half now. Linux has pretty much been flawless for a while since AMD has been working to get support ready since before it ever came out. The biggest problem in open source was doing pointer math using ints. In terms of closed source software flash needs 32-bit emulation, java64 runs fine but there's no firefox plugin (why!?!?). And of course the win32 codecs are all win32 :P But I've gotten all those things to work in the 64-bit environment wihtout using a chroot by following one of the thousands of guides.

On the server, yes. (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272388)

I wouldn't recommend a 32-bit processor for server use anymore. Linux support for 64-bit processors is as good as any other platform these days. The only caveat is that it's difficult to find pre-built binaries for Itanium2 anywhere.

Not so sure about the desktop. My desktop needs are pretty basic, so I haven't thought about 64-bit for that kind of use yet.

Re:On the desktop, yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272578)

Render nodes, database and HPC servers should be 64bit machines but most servers or network appliances do not benefit. Contrast with the desktop where I envision having multiple images open in an editor running on a virtualised OS, transcoding a media stream and copy pasting between my browser and remote terminal.

I suppose you think 640k would be enough for a desktop computer?

large virtual address spaces (3, Informative)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272392)

x86-64's main use is its address space. 32 bits places a 4 million word limitation on your addressing. systems like zfs that are heavily heavily transactional end up addressing a lot more objects than this. once you've breeched your 32bit addressing, the performance of native 64 bit addressing v. some kind of page extension mode is night and day. zfs's _need_ for x86-64 stems from this; it'll run on an "old" athlon, but in 64bit mode it flies.

my personal belief is that the future, the nebulous area Stroustroupe outlines as "better concurrency," is really going to be implemented at a platform level as this kind of deeply nested transactional data structuring, where instead of overwriting your object to change its state, you simply append the new state in a new part of memory. thus each object accumulates address space (referentiability) as it changes across time. i'll leave the full details implementation & ramifications of Copy on Update up to the user for now.

otoh, a lot of science people want double floats and 64 bit words, but look at the big boys, nvidia. it may bite them in the @#$@# someday, but for now they're sticking to a strong party line: 32bit floating point is sufficient. this works alright for video cards & games, since 4 channels of 32bit fp is an 128bit fp buffer. thats large, but still not entirely that accurate. i'd like to see a time when even game worlds are so massive they straight up require 64bit fp. i'd like to see nvidia release consumer cards with 64bit float performance sometime soon, but i dont think the odds of that happening are very big: its new technology with only a couple scientifc users making any use of it. just as it took the boys at Epic, Sweeny & CliffyB both stating the xbox needed more video ram, without vocal powreful demand we probably wont see it for a while.

hopefully we'll be doing more distributed dispatching with gpus in the future. 64 bit ints are going to be required there.

lordmyren
by 2012 -- the end of time

Re:large virtual address spaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273554)

Did trying to pronounce "Stroustrup" traumatize you so much that you're no longer able to spell it either?

Debian AMD64 is Awesome (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272404)

I built an Athlon64 machine a while back and put Debian Etch on it, and it's awesome.

You have to use the testing or unstable branches to get AMD64 support until the 4.0 release, but testing (Etch) has been working perfectly for me. With very little work, I've even been able to get the few 32-bit apps I need to work. Without a chroot I have Opera (with Flash), the 32-bit proprietary video codecs, and a few others working perfectly.

The only "gotcha" I can think of is that the nVidia kernel module isn't in the apt-get package repositories. So after every kernel update I have to apt-get the newer linux sources and reinstall the drivers. But that's not a 64-bit vs 32-bit issue.

Good for the Linux server... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272422)

64-bit is good for the Linux server market ... not looking so good for the desktop. You can get an Opteron-powered box for a decent price, all the big distros will support it, and you can usually run some sort of "32-bit compatibility layer" in case you've got some precompiled stuff you need to have work. A few years ago, I was having some problems getting certain programs to work with 64-bit support (Swish-E, specifically) but everything seems to be better now. So you can go ahead and add the 8 gigabytes of RAM to your database server with nothing to fear.

Exchange 2007 requires 64-bit (1, Informative)

addikt10 (461932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272426)

Exchange 2007 requires 64-bit processors (Itanium need not apply). Additionally, resellers such as Dell have discontinued sales of Exchange 2003. Looks like Microsoft wants to move to 64-bit, and that is going to be enough for the server world to move entirely to 64-bit, and certainly enough to recommend 64-bit systems to my clients. Exchange 2007 System Requirements [microsoft.com]

Yes, go for 64-bit processors (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272440)

First of all, I prefer AMD processors myself, though I prefer to believe that I am not an unthinking fanboy. AMD does not make any non-64-bit processors anymore, so that makes the choice easy :-)

64-bit support under Linux is YEARS ahead of where it is under Windows! With Ubuntu Linux, 64-bit support "just works." I downloaded the x86_64 Install CD and burnt it, and everything installed flawlessly. Basically every single open source package compiles correctly in 64-bit mode, from the kernel to all the drivers to my favorite games. The *only* things that don't work are closed-source packages (yech!). For example, Flash and the Windows Media codecs still aren't available compiled natively for x86_64... which is entirely the fault of those particular software companies. If you need to install a few 32-bit closed-source apps under 64-bit Linux, you can do it but it takes a little know-how.

Under Windows, I'm told that there are vanishingly few native 64-bit apps and drivers. I haven't tried 64-bit Windows myself, but I gather that support isn't there yet. Proprietary software vendors don't want to release 64-bit versions because it means supporting multiple versions and possibly conflicting configurations.

Moving up to 64-bit makes obvious sense if you need to use >4gb of memory or do lots of number-crunching. But it has advantages for "ordinary" Desktop use as well... for one thing, the x86_64 instruction set adds more general-purpose registers, which allows more efficient compilation of code. Based on the expert information I've read, I believe this alone should result in a 10-20% speedup between 32-bit and 64-bit code.

So if you're using Linux, 64-bit is a no-brainer. With Windows, you probably won't see any benefit immediately, but once 64-bit apps and drivers become widely available, you'll appreciate the additional performance.

Re:Yes, go for 64-bit processors (1)

lavid (1020121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272522)

I haven't had the same wonderful experience with 64bits and Ubuntu. I'm acutally about to download Feisty 32bit since the 64 bit still lacks Wine.

X86-64 Windows (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272460)

It's an interesting question. When I was running Gentoo I firstly compiled it for amd64, and there was quitea performance boost - not noticible, but it felt more responsive. Going to 32-bit Gentoo wasn't really worth it.

I'm running on Vista RC2 x86 right now (and loving it) and will be doing a Christmas upgrade to RTM x64.

While I will get less driver support, it's not much of an issue because I should get increased speed, reliability and security out of it which far outweighs some crappy scanner not working with my system.

Just went 64-bit a few months ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272474)

I ran the 64-bit Windows XP trial for a couple of weeks, but went back to 32-bit XP. Really haven't noticed the difference in speed but have noticed the difference in software support -- there's no decent free firewall with 64-bit support and Intel Desktop Utilities refused to install properly.

I am also currently running Fedora 6 with 64-bit support, and that runs stably but again I didn't notice anything magic about being in 64-bit mode besides having certain things not work (I have to keep a 32-bit compile of Firefox around to run 32-bit-only plugins like Flash for example.)

If you're building Vista systems, go with 64-bit -- it's likely that serious 64-bit desktop applications will be released on that platform over the next few years. Otherwise, I don't know that I'd bother... XP 64 is kind of an odd duck, like Windows 95 OSR2.

Desktop? Beware.... (1)

carney1979 (189847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272494)

I am currently trying 64-bit Vista and it's the best 64-bit distro I've tried to date.

I feel I must add it's only the 2nd 64-bit distro I've tried. In my opinion, 64-bit Ubuntu or any other 64-bit Linux flavors are not yet ready for full desktop use. You have to manually configure too much to run in 32-bit emulation mode, if it will run at all.

64-bit Vista does all this pretty seamlessly so far. But if you run the full-blown Vista with all the bells and whistles, you will need more horsepower than my machine has. It's a AMD 64-bit 3500+ processor and it has 1 gig memory. Vista usually runs alright, but it can bog down some at times.

I never thought I'd see the day that I'd ever recommend Windows over Linux but in my opinion, as far as the 64-bit desktop enviroment goes, Linux has missed a great opportunity to take the lead.

David

I switched over 2 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272500)

No problems here on gentoo but I don't run silly things like flash that require 32bit builds.

Definitely! (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272512)

Slackware Slamd64 [slamd64.com] has had support for AMD64 for a while now and it works just fine, no driver problems or stability problems on the Linux side. On the Windows XP64 side things aren't as rosy, but not as bad as some people say either. I found drivers for all my hardware, including the graphics card (NV7600), and so the OS is functioning very well. Some games don't run, but all the ones I play do. Half Life 2 (64bit version), HL2E1, Sims 2, Flight Simulator 9 and X, all Civilization versions and CTP, Fallout 1 (F2 doesn't work), GTA 3 and SA, all work great.

If you are a programmer, you will definitely want to get on x86_64. You get twice (!) as many general purpose registers, twice as many SSE registers, and a much cleaner ABI with most things passed in registers instead of the stack. You also will no longer be using the 387 FPU, as the ABI supports doing pretty much everything through SSE, unlike the 32bit ABI that required returning floats in an FPU register. This should greatly reduce your EMMS headaches. Finally having native 64-bit types rocks! The premature optimization nut in you will crack with joy, I guarantee it.

How to decide between XP and XP-64 (2, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272532)

..but I'm wondering if it worth it to run a box on XP-64?

If you're even considering Windows, then that suggests you have some kind of heavy legacy requirements. Those legacy applications are what matters; check to see if they have been re-compiled. That's how you'll decide which way to go. If your legacy is ready for 64 bits, then maybe you are too. If your legacy isn't ready, then what's the point?

Purchasing cycle (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272536)

This depends on your purchasing cycles. I recommend different PCs depending on the the projected life of the system. Two or three year purchasing cycle -- no x64; four years or longer with expansion room for RAM and mirrored HDDs -- yes.

Can;t justify the cost. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272540)

Nothing I use my machines for would realy benefit from 64-bit processing. I don't use that much memory, and the heaviest CPU load comes from Nero trans-coding AVI files and CIV4.

I'll probably move up to 64, when you guys start talking about 128!

Re:Can;t justify the cost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273374)

But encoding video DOES benefit from 64-bit processors.

Yes and no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272642)

Of course we're switching to 64-bit CPU's. All new CPU's will be 64-but but able to run 32-bit too.

For the software, no I won't go 64-bit, because it doesn't do anything good for me, so why should I?

As far as I understand, 64-bit is useless for most software. Some software do slightly better on 64-bit though.

So most of the system will be 32-bit, but maybe one or two apps will be 64-bit.

Largely a mirage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272646)

Some of the most interesting stuff going on today is 32-bit floating point (graphics card innards). The greater benefit is from increased registers, not some vague notion of 64-bit-ed-ness. With IPv6, we'll probably have 128-bit computers. At some point, everything will just be 1-bit variable or something cool like that. a'o sai loi skami cu ba vlipa

x86-64 is a piece of cake (2, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272666)

Win64 is a piece of cake, for the most part. I picked up an NForce4 AMD64 board about a year and a half ago - they had drivers for all of the on board kit (Ethernet, usb, sound, firewire) and NVidia had drivers for the video cards I had as well. As a server or workstation (lines get fuzzy on a dev box), I had very little problems with finding drivers for even the SCSI kit I added into the mix. I also had 4x1G RAM, which Win64 picked up. I ended up going with Win2003-64 and Win2003-32 (with limited access to all 4G, closer to 3.5G with switches, etc) for the Windows environments as it had better support than WinXP-64. 3rd party hardware stuff may be iffy... scanner/printers seem to get forgotten.

64-bit Gentoo and SuSE both worked like a charm too - but you asked about Windows. Nice to have multiple HDD chassis. (grin)

The thing that you might have problems with were programs. I found that the 'default' install path for the 32-bit stuff would cause some of my programs to trip up. Things like the 32-bit DVD/CD burning software and a few other programs. But anyhow - should you go with a 64-bit CPU? Yes. Win64 is probably more trouble than it is worth for 'generic' gaming rig today. As Vista goes into mainstream, those using a 32-bit processor will be the odd man out.

What doesn't work... (2, Informative)

straponego (521991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272674)

In my experience, both in Windows and Linux, what doesn't work is almost always non-free software. Flash, Java, LOTS of Windows drivers (like cpu monitoring/throttling stuff, etc), and Windows games are examples. There are workarounds for some of these, and some of them will eventually be patched. But it's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind: open source stuff will be updated much faster than commercial.

You can get by pretty well with 64 bit Linux. I see no compelling reason to run 64 bit Windows yet, unless you need lots of memory. Yeah, you could get a small boost from having more registers, and yeah, it's cool; but the Windows world is just not used to porting to other architectures :). The CPUs have been out, what, 3 years? And it is still a royal pain. And if you game... get used to things like Neverwinter Nights 2 going through the entire 6 cd install, only to tell you "Oh, by the way, 64 bit doesn't work. Ha-ha!"

if you can (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272680)

deal without flash and java(or deal with a buggy wrapper). also use a little extra hd space for emulation libs you can live in 64bit land.

Yes! It's faster even on moderately sized problems (2, Informative)

Soong (7225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272698)

I'm not exactly sure what confluence of compiler, instruction set and silicon technology is going on, but on one test I found that compiling a float-intensive compute problem I run the EM64T (x86-64) version was faster. This is on my new MacBook Pro, Core 2 Duo with GCC 4.

From TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272704)

Windows 2003 Server is an excellent OS for those seeking to use the full power of the God Box as a server. A serious OS for serious users...


Or you could install Linux and have a much better server OS, one demanding and consuming a buttload less resources than anything from Microsoft.

And for those frightened of the idea of not having flashy GUI 'wizards' automagically setting everything up for them (usually incorrectly), the good news is that even an MCSE could understand a 'Linux for Dummies' book.

Or perhaps not.

Re:From TFA... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273234)

Here's you:

"Blah blah blah blah blah. Additionally, blah blah blah. And another thing; blah blah blah. Please disregard the fact that I am talking out of my bloated ass."

You're welcome.

Wrong Question (2, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272748)

You're asking the wrong question. Of course you should buy a 64 bit system if you're building a new system, unless you have a specific need for a 32 bit system and plan on replacing it within the year. Ther real questions are: Do I want dual core chips (and the really slick hardware virtualization that comes with the dual core chips)? Do I want Intel or AMD? (I'm a long time AMD fan but the Intel dual core chips are getting better buzz than the AMD dual core chips, although you may want to price out the whole systems, not just the CPUs, to get a real idea. And, have other have mentoned here, do I want to run a 64 bit OS or a 32 bit OS? Even with a 32 bit OS you can switch to 64 later (at no cost if you use Linux) as long as you started with a 64 bit CPU.

Big databases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272790)

The main improvement for 64-bit systems is being able to use more than 4 GB of ram.

Big databases, big file servers, large numbers of VMware images all benefit from extra ram.

Most desktop apps don't benefit from more than 4 GB of ram.

Will I need function X before replacing new PC? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272830)

Make a list of all the functions you think you'll need before replacing your PC. Then buy a PC that can be expanded to meet those needs.

Sure, you'll guess wrong but it's a good start.

Here's some things I'm thinking of:

Take your initial* system and multiply speed, storage, and if you use them heavily, sound and video by a factor of 2-4 or more. If you buy a 1GB/200GB PC today, plan on it being at least a 2GB/400GB machine when you retire it.

Ask yourself "If I had to upgrade my video, sound, LAN, hard drive controller, and other built-in peripherals with new-and-better versions, how many expansion ports do I need and what kind?"

This usually means a PC with only 3 PCI slots isn't enough.

--
Example:
You are a semi-serious gamer with a modest collection of media files, and you grow your collection by a few 10s of GBs per year. You also do some movie editing but nothing too serious. You decide you need a dual-core 2.5GHz Windows XP Home machine with 1GB RAM/300GB SATA HD, and are willing to spend $150 on video and another $50 on an audio card. You also buy an affordable video-capture card with analog and digital inputs. Your system sports the usual USB 2.0, 100Mbps LAN, and 16x DL DVD drive. You have a "g" wireless router and will pick up a cheap "g" USB stick. Of course you will repartition the drive and install a real OS, using Windows for certain applications as needed.

By the time this machine is retired, plan on 2-4GB RAM, 0.6-1.2TB usable disk space, perhaps another drive or two for SATA RAID mirroring, a new video card or maybe two, same with sound and video-capture cards, MS-Vista and of course new releases of at least one real operating systems, adding a new optical drive, replacing your WLAN infrastructure with "n" or better, maybe 1000Gb Ethernet, better/faster/more USB, and probably at least one add-in card for something you haven't thought of yet.

This means your initial PC should support SATA RAID, at least 1 available IDE device for the 2nd optical drive, at least 4 additional SATA devices should you choose to use 2 HD drives with mirroring/total 4 drives plus an SATA optical disk, plus 6 or 7 expansion slots including 1 high-speed video.

You'll probably have to settle for 5 PCI slots plus a video slot. If you wind up wanting video, audio, video-in, replacement usb, replacement LAN, additional SATA capacity, you won't have a spare. Well, maybe Santa Clause will come early in 2009.

*Some people wait until prices drop to stock up on RAM, hard drives, etc., if you are one of these people, count "initial" after buying these goodies.

64 bit CPUs offer more than just 64 bits... (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272850)

64 bit is just one of the improvements. CPUs have also gotten faster. It's a package deal, although the two are not necessarily related.

Even if you don't run an OS or software to utilize the 64-bit aspect of the CPU, all the current faster chips are 64-bit. Consider the 64-bit aspect as a bit of future proofing your new, fast machine. Go for SATA-2, PCI-E, and dual core, and you're set for a while.

My Experience (1)

DLG (14172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272892)

Windows XP-64 bit works fine for me. It seems alot more stable in many ways than the 32 bit xp. It definately starts up faster. I haven't had any driver issues, but I use obscure hardware by companies named NVidia and HP. I would check if you have anything strange.
On occasion I have run into programs that acted up because I was in 64, but there are usually alternatives.

In Linux I have had 0 problems using Ubuntu. The packages are all built for my AMD64. There are occasional issues in terms of things like Flash where you need to run a 32 bit browser for that. Since browsing doesn't much care on the 64 bit front, I don't sweat it. Where it probably makes a real difference is if you are doing work with SQL or graphics where 64 bit integers are more common.

Switching? Now? I switched years ago. (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272910)

The kernel and packages have had 64-bit support for years. I have run Linux, WinNT, and BSD on a DEC-Alpha processor, no trouble.

No, I have no supercomputing requirements. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272928)

I do not need more than 4GB of memory (nor will I in the forseeable future).

If you are not running a supercomputing application (e.g. meteorological models etc.) then you do not need a 64 bit processor.

It is amazing how many people have been sucked into thinking they need more than 4GB of memory to run an average web server or play FPS games.

Don't get sucked in.

If you are buying an HP Superdome (or similar) for a huge server application or calculations for physics research or demanding rapid data aquisition such as new MRI applications, then yes, get 64 bit processors, otherwise it is simply a waste.

Re:No, I have no supercomputing requirements. (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17272954)

I'm a composer (amateur/beginner) and I have 2GB of memory and it's not enough. I plan on, going to 4 or possibly more so i can load orchestral samples. Once i get my full MIDI setup I should be able to span my orchestra over several PC's.

Go for it - 64-bit is the only way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272946)

I've tried XP64, Vista x64, Ubuntu 64-bit, SUSE 10.2 64-bit, all worked perfectly.
There is no reason to stick with 32-bit that I can see.
There was no reason to stick with 16-bit once 32-bit became the norm, it just takes a while for the transition period to settle. But there will be no more 32-bit OSs released. All will be 64-bit from now on.

XP=No Vista=Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272952)

There is no reason to install Windows XP 64 unless the customer definitely runs specific software and needs the additional memory. If a machine does not even have more 2 Gigabytes (the process limit) there is no reason at all to use it. Microsoft has already pretty much dropped XP-64 like a dog.

Vista will get all the real 64 bit attention from Microsoft so if a customer is going to get Vista, it's possibly better to go 64 bit just to be ready. But it's murky.

64 bit processors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17272996)

I use an AMD 64 3500 (Venice). These are now selling for $100 or so. The biggest advantage I have seen is that they run *much* cooler. The cpu fan spins much slower which reduces noise a lot. I'm not a gamer so I use a motherboard with onboard video which is excellent for 2D graphics - another fan gone.

The system is very quiet which is important to me.

The downside to the latest 64 bit processors is that they are virtualization platforms, so they are vulnerable to rootkits that run *below* the installed operating system. Ruskowska(?) the security expert believes that these processors should have been delayed a while until a suitable security defence had been developed.

Not a valid question. (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273058)

The valid question is "Are you switching to a 64-bit Operating System?"

Name one major processor currently available that ISN'T 64-bit. Athlon has been 64 bit for a few years, Even Sempron is 64-bit now. Pentium 4, Pentium D, and even Celeron have been 64-bit for over a year. The only major chip that ISN'T 64-bit is Core Duo, and that is being totally eclipsed by Core 2 Duo now. (I'm not even touching the server space, which is likewise all 64-bit.)

Software that runs fine on a 32-bit processor will run perfectly on a 64-bit processor. (Assuming you mean x86 architecture. I'm also not going to consider the possibility of switching to Itanium or other non-x86 64-bit ISAs.)

The real question is "Should I upgrade to 64-bit Vista?" or "Should I switch to a 64-bit build of Linux?" For Vista, I'll say sure. Vista alone will break enough stuff that you might as well go all out. With Linux, I'd say stick with what works, unless you specifically have a 64-bit compiled application that will benefit from the extra registers that the 64-bit extensions add, or that will specifically take advantage of more than 4 GB of memory per thread.

As for Mac OS? It's already 64-bit on 64-bit architectures, for the UNIX-layer. And Leopard will be fully 64-bit on 64-bit architectures, no choice on your part.

64 bit Operatings Systems (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273646)

The valid question is "Are you switching to a 64-bit Operating System?"

SGI Irix and OSF/1 on Alpha users switched over a decade ago, Solaris went 64 bit on Sparc in 1998 and 64 bit on AMD64 in 2005.


The 32 to 64 transition was handled better on Solaris than on Linux (Sun had a lot of practice with supporting Solaris on 32 and 64 bit Sparc's before tackling the 32 to 64 bit transition on x86) as there is a standard way of providing both 32 and 64 bit bit support in applications and drivers.


Kind of fun seeing another transition, having lived through the 8 to 16 bit era (early 1980's) and the 16 to 32 bit era (1986-1995).

32bit improvement (1)

john_is_war (310751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273070)

Well the 64 bit processors have a larger L2 cache, which does cause an improvement for 32bit applications.

64-bit the future... but (1)

ricky-road-flats (770129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273110)

In my business, we're completely 32-bit right now, and we will stay the same for a while. We've decided to stay with 32-bit XP until there are compelling reasons to move to 64-bit, at which point we'll go 64-bit Vista.

On the server side we'll go 64-bit when the apps demand it (Exchange 2007 for instance).

Don't Bother With XP64 Especially on Corp Network (2, Informative)

thomsonr (1040822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273136)

XP64 never reached critical driver support. I do high end GIS at work and thought XP64 would be great for a workstation......wrong. I can't find drivers for many of the printers on the network and my scanner does not work. Also many of the software developers for don't support XP64 so if you have a problem they'll blame it on XP64 noteably Autodesk with their latest bug ridden Autocad Map program. Also during the Vista beta program I had nothing but trouble with Creative products using Vista 64. All problems disappeared when using Vista 32. I am removing XP64 from both my home and work computers. Not a chance I'd buy Vista 64.

Yes (1)

LauraW (662560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273152)

The new PC I built a home a couple of months ago had a Core 2 Duo in it, so it's 64-bit by definition. It's still running the 32-bit version of XP, though. I only put 2 Gb of RAM in it, so there didn't seem to be much point in installing XP-64. (I'm tempted to install Ubuntu on it instead, but I still use Photoshop and Quicken and a few other Windows-only apps occasionally.)

At work, I use a workstation with a 64-bit processor and 4 Gb of RAM. It's running a 64-bit Linux kernel but most apps run in a 32-bit user space. I'm not much of a Linux expert, but it seems to work quite well. All of the 32-bit desktop apps like Firefox and Flash work just fine, but I can still use all of the memory on the box and can run applications compiled for 64-bit mode when I need to. Now I just have to talk someone into buying me a box with a faster processor and even more RAM.

XP-64 (4, Informative)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273264)

XP 64 is a workstation OS (and has always been marketed that way by Microsoft, FYI). Unless you're doing heavy stuff, or your hardware loves it (i.e Dual Opterons with NUMA), stay out. You can chuck all your older hardware while you're at it too. Personally I haven't had any real problems with it, apart from it being a massive I/O hog.

XP 64 is based on the WinServer 2003 x64 base, and IMO, Server 2003 x64 makes a better 64 bit workstation OS. I guess M$ frucked up big time when adding all the consumer end stuff to it. Pity 2003 x64 doesn't have the full multimedia support that its 32 bit version does.

No issues here.. (2, Informative)

Pluhveso (1026052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273276)

I am currently running Windows XP Professional x64 with 64-bit processor types nearly since its release.

The only potential hiccup I encountered was finding an x64 driver for my HP printer; but there is a nice group that came out with drivers that while they claim aren't perfect, I have never had any problems with (both printing and scanning).

If you've ever low-level coded for x64 it can be slightly more painful or new; but its definitely worth it in the end (as well as multi-core).

I made the switch about a year and a half ago (1)

heffel (83440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273328)

About a year and a half ago I bought an AMD 64 laptop. I dualboot 64bit Fedora and 32 bit XP (came preinstalled, hardly ever use it).

The only (minor) problems I've had is that there is no 64 bit version of the Java plugin, and there is no 64 version of Flash player, therefore I run a 32 bit version of Firefox with the 32 bit version of the Java plugin and Flash player.

I'm still on FC 5, which includes a 32 bit version of OpenOffice.org, runs just fine (I heard that FC 6 includes a 64 bit version of OO.o).

64-bit Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273586)

Really?

AFAIK, Sun has been shipping 64 bit JVMs for years..?

Ubuntu x64 here (5, Informative)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273362)

Add me to the tally of folks running 64 bit Linux. For most purposes, the performance boost is unnoticable. However, I do get a few more FPS when transcoding video and I've noticed no other difficulties compared to 32bit Ubuntu. As others, I run 32 bit Firefox, but this is a breeze to install via automatix. About the only things that don't work for me are Google Earth and RealPlayer. I haven't bothered to look for others having similar troubles with Google Earth (app loads just fine, but imagery is all scrambled) and I don't care that much that RealPlayer barely runs (skips, audio out of sync, hangs inexplicably . . . but it did that on 32bits too).

As far as general day to day use goes, if you've got a 64 bit proc w/ a 32 bit OS, it's probably not worth the hassle to reinstall 64 bit builds. If you're starting over from scratch anyway, you might want to give it a shot.

64 is better on Linux than Windows (2, Interesting)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17273472)

From what I've seen people using Windows-64 have had far more problems than people running Linux. Linux 64 bit support has been out for a long time now and is pretty stable.

XP-64 seems to have all sorts of driver problems that are unlikely to go away as Vista comes out.

Vista-64 has the problem that you've got the uncertain future of a heavily DRMed machine. This may or may not prove to be a show-stopper, so I'd say wait and see..

DEC Alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273564)

I've already been using 64-bit processors for over 10 years now, they're called DEC Alphas.

Oh wait, you meant 64-bit x86.

Switch? I've had 64-bit since 1999... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17273652)

with my Sun Ultra-1, running Solaris (and Linux). Maybe 64-bit is new for you johnny-come-lately x86 types, but not for me.
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