I haven't formatted my main workstation in over 2 years...things have been slowing down quite a bit, plus I've been experiencing random lockups so I decided it was time to migrate from a 32 bit OS over to a 64 bit one. The first thing I learned is that stop error codes are twice as long (16 characters vs 8)...the initial nForce drivers I loaded weren't very well liked. Of course that was easily ironed out and everything is humming along quite nicely (and fast as well...even after reloading all my apps it boots in 2.5 blue bars, desktop in under 30 seconds). Some other changes I made during the upgrade:
- It turns out the USB cable I was using for my external drive was going bad and was more than likely the cause of my lockups. This had been driving me nuts for weeks now, and of course I never even thought to check the actual cable until after having pulled half my hair out.
- There is no 64 bit version of Windows Live One Care, which is 100% fine by me...the initial impressions were fine but overall it was largely a piece of junk; it would regularly peg my processor at 100% with no way to kill it other than just waiting it out. I've been hearing good things about Avast! for a while now, plus they have a readily available (and free) 64 bit version. In short it's much more polished, much less in your face, and easier on the resources.
- Visual Studio 2003 has exited stage left...I will (hopefully) be Visual Studio 2005 only going forward. There is a caveat or I've already run into with VS on XP x64 (see below).
- There are XP x64 drivers for all of my peripherals save one: My beloved Sony DPP-FP50 doesn't (and won't) have any 64 bit drivers...no worries, I can just hook it up to one of my 32 bit machines and share it out.
Some irks (thusfar at least):
- I installed the 64 bit version of Windows Media Player, however it's running as a 32 bit process. A side effect of this is that I can't run it in the task bar (WMP toolbar option is gone).
- All the 32 bit processes show up in task manager as <processName> *32...for long process names this means widening that column. Why not just make them a different color? It looks sloppy.
- Windows Update (understandably) has to be run from the 32 bit version of IE, which takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to load up. Also, there is no 64 bit version of the Google Toolbar (that I've found at least). Granted I use Firefox for 90%+ of my browsing, but the few times I must use IE, it's sorely missed. C'mon Google, at least put out a beta version...how hard can it be?
- Some of the XP Powertoys are incompatible with x64, namely the Command Here toy (along with a few others).
One huge plus (besides the obvious benefits to running a 64 bit system):
- The version of IIS that ships with XP x64 is virtually identical to IIS 6.0 (admittedly I don't know the version number in XP x64)...still limited to one site, but all the other IIS 6.0 goodness is there out of the box. Huge if you're an asp.net developer.
64 bit software? Sure:
- Microsoft has 64 bit versions of a lot of the stuff I've reinstalled. I won't list them here, but they make it very obvious on their site if there is an x64 binary available.
- Some of the mainstream games (such as Half Life 2) have 64 bit versions available. I haven't benchmarked them yet, but have seen various opinions on them around the web. I don't really care if there is an increase in FPS, so long as they are still playable and look good.
And finally, an easy fix for an issue I ran into almost immediately with Visual Studio:
- Set your compilation platform (aka CPU) setting to x86 unless you want a plethora of strange runtime errors. I have not done any truly heavy lifting with this yet, but all appears to be well so long as that flag is set.
I don't plan on turning this into an x64 blog, so this will probably be it as far as my thoughts I care to express unless something major pops up. MS has done a great job because A) it feels like a new OS performance wise but B) doesn't feel like a new OS when it comes to actually using it...it's 99.9% identical to XP x86, which is how it should be.
Fri, Jan 5 2007 5:07 AM