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From: Lyle Sharp
Date: 09 Jun 2006
Time: 18:18:52 -0400
Remote Name: 184.108.40.206
Now that 64 bit processor prices are closer to normal hardware costs, quite a few of our clients are moving to 64 bit processors. There are still some problems with the 64 bit platform's software support. This means that most moving to 64 bit processors might as well have stayed with a 32 bit processor as they can't use the 64 bit features. How you would know whether you can run 64 bits is dependent upon your intended purposes. With very select hardware, you can get Microsoft's XP 64 or the new Vista to run at 64 bits and give you all the performance and memory storage advantages. Most 32 bit software runs okay in this environment, but hardware support is another thing entirely. Even most of two years after XP 64 was released, few vendors are providing 64 bit hardware drivers or versions of thier software. Vista's latest x65 Beta has the same issue. There are quite few reasons why this has happened, but the short answer is that unless you are building a server or special purpose system, you can't readily use the x64 Windows platforms and when you can, most likely will not see any 64 bit benefits due to few supported applications. The final verdict from Advotech is to be patient and wait for more vendors to support the platform. Between the 286 and 386 processors, it was almost five years before wide adoption of the change to a 32 bit processor was accepted by most software and hardware vendors. 16 bit application support has remained in place with all Windows operating systems uncluding XP for most of the last 15 years. Xp x64, Server 2003 X64 and Vista X64 don't support 16 bit applications any more. This means few old applications will make the switch to 64 bits and users will hang on to the older systems until they fail. The transition to a fully supported 64 bit environment that all of our clients can use is going to take another 30-40 months. Advotech recommends you don't buy 64 bit processor based systems at this time for common computing platforms unless you plan on keeping the hardware beyond 3 years. Special purpose platforms and servers are another matter and we recommend calling us to determine the requirements.