Vista 64 Bit

So, I was in a Sam’s Club the other day with the wife, and found myself wandering over to the PC aisle, mostly to lust after the 24 or 25 inch monitors. (I need a bigger desk before I get bigger monitors, how sad is that?)

Anyway, this was the first time I had noticed that all of the PCs that were for sale there, were 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. When did 64-bit become the standard OS for home users? Aside from the increased RAM capacities (these had 6-7GB of RAM generally), what is the big benefit to using 64 bit for the kinds of folks who buy PC’s from a non-tech store? What kinds of weird incompatibilities are they risking by buying a 64 bit version of Vista?

I don’t own a 64-bit version of Windows myself, and I’m not really in the market for a new PC, so I really haven’t been paying attention at all. I figure I might want to ask some questions about the up and downsides before someone asks me about picking up a new PC with Vista Home Premium 64 bit and I steer them wrong!

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  1. I don’t think there are that many incompatibilities nowadays. As long as you stay away from Symantec’s AV software you’ll probably be ok. (There are some strange features missing in 64bit and when we first started deploying servers it wouldn’t even load either). I was going to put 64bit Windows7 on my home pc but the cpu doesn’t support 64bit.

  2. I think the reason may be that Windows Vista 32bit is limited to 2Gb. They play some games to push it to 3Gb using the IMAGE_FILE_LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE option.

    But, I think to really use all the 6Gb or 7Gb of address space, you need the 64bit version on Windows. There are a few issues with some application, but most of the pain has been with 3rd party device drivers.

    Some serious game players will use a dual-boot system so that they can use XP for game playing.

    In all fairness to Microsoft, they really do go out of their way to maintain backwards compatibility. Sometimes they may be better off not to.


  3. http://www.vistax64.com

    I just purchased a new Dell with Vista Home Premium 64-Bit and I ordered 8Gigs of RAM and a 1 Terabyte hard drive. I don’t want the thing to be outdated within 6 months, and I can tell you this, the thing is a rocket ship in terms of performance.

  4. The only real issues a home user would run into is older peripherals like printers, scanners, etc. Especially since you cant run unsigned drivers (atleast without hacks) so you cant try forcing old drivers.

    Thats the only true issues I’ve run into.

  5. Thanks for the input guys. I definitely understand the performance boost you get with the larger RAM capacity, I just knew there were definitely some capability issues, that’s why I was somewhat surprised to see it be the default for home PC’s like that. I can only imagine the number of folks who went out to get a new PC and were angry about their old printer not working anymore. *L*

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