Should I Upgrade or Purchase Vista 64-Bit (x64)?

   Posted October 15, 2008 by David Kirk in Microsoft Vista

As a follow-up to my popular article exploring 64-bit versus 32-bit versions of Vista, this tech-recipe describes the small subset of users who will receive some benefit from running the 64-bit version of Microsoft’s most recent operating system.

My original article contains a lot of essential information describing the current problems trying to run Vista 64-bit. Be sure to visit the the link above, remember it only takes one incompatible piece of hardware or software to really make the 64-bit transition painful.

If you are not scared off by all those issues, these are some candidates for Vista x64.

Memory Hogs

32-bit versions of Windows caps efficient memory use at under 4 Gigs. Users wishing to use memory greater than this amount will see performance increases with vista 64-bit.

Only New Hardware / New Software

If all of your gear and applications are brand new and updated, you may see some benefit with the 64-bit architecture. Take a while and go through your hardware and software list at Microsoft’s compatibility site. Be sure to select 64-bit when you search.

vista 64-bit search

Even now, I am shocked how much software is not 64-bit compatible.

vista 64x not compatible

Primary Software is Available in Native 64-Bit Versions

Users running primarily native 64-bit versions of CPU monster programs will see the most benefit from 64-bit vista. A 64-bit email program or web browser is not going to be much faster. Rendering huge binary files such as audio or video may be quicker in some circumstances if the application is native 64-bit.

Even CPU monster photoshop is not native 64-bit yet:

Adobe plans to get 64-bit versions of Photoshop software released to customers as soon as possible. Photoshop for Microsoft® Windows® will run 64-bit-native with the next version release….

In early testing of 64-bit support in Photoshop for Windows we have observed overall performance gains in the range of 8-12%. Those who work with extremely large files may realize noticeably larger gains in performance, in some cases as dramatic as 10 times the previous speed.

Most of the “native 64-bit” lists on the internet are inaccurate. Most of the listed applications are really 64-bit compatible and will not run faster than the 32-bit version. Additionally, many of the true native 64-bit software applications have not benchmarked faster than their 32-bit cousins either.

Conclusions:

Only a small focused group of users will receive a great deal of benefit from vista 64-bit: users who process huge data files through native 64-bit applications on high memory systems with 64-bit compatible hardware and software.

 

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

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