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Author Topic: How much trouble is a 64-bit OS right now?  (Read 18482 times)
urlwolf
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« on: February 03, 2009, 02:03:22 PM »

How much trouble is a 64-bit OS right now?
In my experience (Ubuntu): a lot. You are on your own compiling stuff, in the best case. Or you just don't have some niceties, like flash.
On the other hand, I do need to address 8Gb of memory (or more) so I have to live with it.

I'm considering moving to win 64-bit if there things are more solid.

Anyone with day-to-day experiences? Which flavor of windows would work best on 64-bit?
Should I wait for Win 7 or even use the beta?
How difficult would it be to pimp out Vista 64 so it's not as annoying, and is it worth it at all?

Thanks
PS: I'd also would like to hear from the OSX crowd smiley
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f0dder
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 02:07:14 PM »

I haven't had any major problems with XP64 for quite a while, and Vista64 does very nice on my laptop as well. There's been a few threads about the topic and some of the stuff still applies (shell extensions, drivers for oldstuff, a few apps/games here and there), but all in all it works flawlessly for me.

I'd say Vista64 (run through vLite) is just fine, if you can't wait for Win7. Wouldn't run the beta on a production system, even if it seems very stable - better safe than sorry.
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40hz
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2009, 02:26:57 PM »

XP64 is very solid. Ditto for Win7 beta (but f0dder's beta caveat applies). Don't have enough experience using Vista so I can't comment on that.

IMHO: Using 64-bit Linux for anything other than a very specialized high-performance singleton server doesn't make much sense. And to really gain the benefit, you'd also need to code your application up in native 64-bit, along with whatever libraries it would call.

Still, I guess that's the price you pay when you're responsible for issuing the Launch Codes. Grin

But even then, I'd be more inclined to go with a 32-bit cluster or distributed solution if at all possible. So unless you have a very specific native 64-bit application you want to run, I'd stick to 32-bit for a Linux desktop.

The problem with 64-bit Linux is that it is not full 64-bit binary from front to back. Most of the applications, and virtually all of the libraries included in a "64-bit" distro are still 32-bit. So even though you have a native 64 kernal, most of the code that gets called isn't. And once you go that hybrid route, performance goes right out the window.

BTW: What are you running that needs so much RAM? (Are you responsible for issuing Launch Codes?  tellme)

-----

Sidenote: here's a good website for 64-bit info and news: www.start64.com

Check it out! Thmbsup

------

<edit -removed an erroneous comment> embarassed



« Last Edit: February 03, 2009, 02:58:54 PM by 40hz » Logged

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urlwolf
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 05:52:35 PM »

Quote
BTW: What are you running that needs so much RAM? (Are you responsible for issuing Launch Codes?  tellme)

Just R.
But in general, I handle large sparse matrices, and even in an sparse format, they take up a lot of memory.

So it looks that win 64 works better than Linux. That is all I wanted to know.
Still, I worry about the day-to-day. If I'm going to be a beta tester for every tool I use, I'll waste a lot of time.
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robinsiebler
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 05:56:24 PM »

Honestly, other than being able to use more than 4GB of RAM, I can't think of any good reason to switch to Vista 64.  There's the whole 32-bit vs 64-bit program issue which has made several programs less useful under Vista 64 than they would be under Vista 32.  And I have had significant problems installing/running admittedly older games on Vista 64.
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 06:00:44 PM »

in general I am happy with my 64 bit windows ... on ocassion there are programs I can't install.... I would say what is most noticeable is the lack of 64-bit compatable extensions.  Some of my favorite shell extensions are only available with a 32-bit file manager.
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 06:04:02 PM »

If you have some old hardware (scanners, etc.) you need to make sure there are good drivers for them if they are important to you.  many old scanners and other specialty hardware have not been updated with x64 drivers.
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Curt
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 06:05:28 PM »

IMHO: Using 64-bit Linux for anything other than a very specialized high-performance singleton server doesn't make much sense. And to really gain the benefit, you'd also need to code your application up in native 64-bit, along with whatever libraries it would call.

The problem with 64-bit Linux is that it is not full 64-bit binary from front to back. Most of the applications, and virtually all of the libraries included in a "64-bit" distro are still 32-bit.

However, there seems to be some Linux versions running 64-bits fine:

Quote from: start64
In the beginning only certain Linux distributions were capable of properly using 64-bit systems,
 
http://www.start64.com/in...;limit=1&limitstart=4
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KenR
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 06:20:36 PM »

I run into lots of problems with software on Vista x64. Software won't run, it crashes or hangs, features don't work, etc.

Ken
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Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 06:31:19 PM »

Been using Vista 64 bit for several  months because I have 4GB ram and with 32bit I would only have about 3 to 3.5GB left as Windows will reserve the reset as address space  video card and other system devices. So if you have over 3gb of ram then 64bit makes sense especially on Vista as that's more memory to preload programs into.

I'd say for 95% of all users it's fine to use and I think people should move to 64bit as their RAM increases. The only 2 problem areas are sandbox software (which can't run with patchguard, so no sandboxie for example (waiting on Comodo DiskShield)- run a virtual pc) and if you are a musician or digital dj then good luck finding a supported audio interface that has drivers for 64bit - which I am just running into this week. Also unlocker doesn't have a 64bit version yet. Still working on that one.

But in practice don't let it stop you - 'All' 32bit software works fine, 'all' security software has version for Vista 64bit and 'all' games work. And no I wouldn't say 64bit is faster in practice.
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housetier
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2009, 07:00:31 PM »

Here is a FAQ that also covers Flash in 64 bit, so it would seem there IS indeed a 64 bit version.

In general, I had no problems using a 64bit linux; for greater stability I used a 32bit firefox, because the 64bit version of flash is not very stable atm. Firefox in 32bit runs very well on my 64bit system.

I only recently became aware I was using a 32bit firefox before, because my self compiled version is of course in 64bit where the 32bit flash plugin no longer loads.

(bloody flash)
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40hz
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2009, 08:50:23 PM »

However, there seems to be some Linux versions running 64-bits fine:

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't trying to infer that Linux-64 is broken. I agree that many 64-bit Lunux distros work quite well. Suse has a particularly nice 64-bit implementation.

What I was trying to say is that (largely due to a variety of reasons that go beyond the 64-bit kernal itself) the expected performance gains just aren't there. And if you add in the current compatibility and driver issues that go with running a 64-bit NIX kernal, it's just not worth it right now.

I tend to look at 64-bit distros as something akin to today's crop of hybrid cars: they're fun; they're really cool; they point to where we ultimately need to go...but they're not quite ready for prime time. Sad

Maybe next year. (fingers crossed) Cool
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 09:10:29 PM »

I've only been on Vista64 a few days.  Like the 32 bit it runs the HD more than XP.  Takes awhile to tone down the services and scheduled tasks, indexing etc..

afa the 32 bit shell extensions, you can use a 32 bit file manager like Free Commander, or open 32 bit shell windows.  I have an AutoHotkey freebie that opens selected folders in 32 bit explorer windows to make using shell extensions more convenient:
http://www.favessoft.com/HalfShell.zip

Just select and hit Shift-Enter

So far it seems like I've run into a lot fewer compatibility problems with this than when I got Vista 32 bit in April 2007.  I think compatible stuff is going to flow because all the new PCs over $500 are going to come with 4 GB ram minimum.
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zridling
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2009, 09:59:19 AM »

Silly question: why wouldn't you want to use a 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU? Been running both Fedora and openSUSE 64-bit for months, without a hitch.
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f0dder
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 10:17:17 AM »

Silly question: why wouldn't you want to use a 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU? Been running both Fedora and openSUSE 64-bit for months, without a hitch.
If you don't have >3GB RAM and you don't have any apps that can take advantage of x64 (just having x64 version != taking advantage of x64) then there might not be much reason to go 64bit, especially if you risk driver problems or whatever.

One extra advantage x64 has is that a lot of vulnerabilities are 32-bit specific, and 64bit Windows also has the PatchGuard stuff which helps a bit more. Doesn't mean you're immune, though, especially not when still running 32bit software smiley
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2009, 12:53:58 PM »

At work we briefly used Windows Server 2003 64-bit on our development systems, but quickly changed to the 32-bit version.

The primary reason was that Visual Studio is unstable on 64-bit, and this is a killer for developers. Worse, running VS.Net and SQL Server Management Studio simultaneously (which is how I spend most of my day) is guaranteed to crash within several minutes.

I also found the hidden swapping of folders confusing, especially because they managed to name things backwards. And it was confusing to have different versions of .Net installed; you'd think you made a change to the machine.config, but it didn't have the expected effect; you'd later discover that you were looking in the directory for the 32-bit version rather than the 64 one.
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Darwin
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2009, 03:33:35 PM »

I went from Vista 32-bit to Server 2008 64-bit to Vista 64-bit and haven't looked back. Rather than getting upset about the software/shell extensions/what have you that no longer work under 64-bit, I see it as an opportunity to streamline my operation. Case in point: XP 32 bit machine has 377 applications installed while my Vista 64-bit machine has 145 installed...

I went 64-bit because I am running 4GB RAM and object to (in my case) 1GB of it not being utilized/recognised by the OS! Besides, Windows Server 2008 was free and, when I realised that a lot of my software was licenced for "Home" use but not for Servers, I ponied up $70 to get Vista Ultimate 64-bit through the Ultimate Steal...

I'm very happy with it. If I still had the 3GB of RAM that this computer came with installed, I'd probably still be on 32-bit though. I can't say I've noticed a huge difference in performance (actually, the same applies to the 3GB vs. 4GB upgrade - in everyday usage I didn't notice a difference, but dammit, I have 4GB of RAM. I repeat I HAVE 4 GB OF RAM! Yeah, I know, I'm pathetic). The big boost came when I went from a 5400rpm drive to a 7200rpm drive. Zoom, zoom, zoom!

FWIW I use Vista 64-bit pretty much "out of the box". I've left UAC alone and have moderately tweaked the services that are running, but that's about it.
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f0dder
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2009, 06:06:53 PM »

The primary reason was that Visual Studio is unstable on 64-bit, and this is a killer for developers. Worse, running VS.Net and SQL Server Management Studio simultaneously (which is how I spend most of my day) is guaranteed to crash within several minutes.
Weird, I run Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2005 Express and the SQL management tool under Vista64 without any problems smiley

The SQL stuff is a recent addition and haven't been put under much load yet, but seems perfectly stable. VS2008 has run for a while. And I've used various VS versions for years under XP64 without a hiccup.
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2009, 06:23:36 PM »

Darwin I get the same feel using this new PC.  It's quad core with 8 GB ram but as far as surfing the net with Firefox or opening programs it feels pretty much the same as my dual core with 32 bit Vista.  Where it shines is running a video encoder for each core.  It's fun to watch Core Temp show all 4 cores maxed out with no fan noise!! It's not sports car fast, but once you get the weight movin' it doesn't slow down. smiley
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« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2009, 04:13:07 AM »

I'm using 64-bit OS for almost a year and I find it very very stable with almost no problem comparing with XP (32-bit).
The first problem is I must restart Windows 2008 (64-bit of course) every 60 days  embarassed because my licence expire
(I build my OS using this guide http://www.win2008workstation.com/wordpress/).
The second problem are drivers. I'm missing drivers for USB printer and USB scanner,
but I solve this by installing Ubuntu in VirtualBox and I'm scanning and printing through VM.
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Darwin
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« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2009, 07:49:09 AM »

[*Barely* on topic - I mention 64-bit a number of times] Funny, I went along with a friend while he purchased a Vista Home Premium-64 SP-1 notebook for his wife last week (T3200 2.0 Ghz, 4GB RAM, 5400 rpm 320GB drive). I was taken along to provide advice and insight, which was completely ignored... At any rate, she despises Vista - last night she was heaping vitriol on it because she claims it runs slower on this new machine than XP Home did on the single core (1.73 Ghz, 1GB RAM) notebook it is intended to replace.

I haven't been near the thing, but I find this very hard to believe. I suspect that this is a case of two years of negative press getting in the way of objectivity. Kind of pisses me off. When we bought the damned thing her husband insisted on going 64-bit and 4GB RAM (a similar model with 32-bit and 3GB of RAM was about $80 cheaper) over my objections that there ARE issues with Security software not running under 64-bit (and I knew that he wanted to run SpyDoctor as he has a licence for it and is very stingy), that she would never notice the difference between 3 and 4 GB RAM, given that all she uses it for is webrowsing, e-mail, and word processing. But no, he wanted to "future proof" his investment and go 64-bit. At any rate, sure enough SpyDoctor won't run under 64-bit and now they're lamenting Vista and want to put XP on it. I'm telling them to get rid of the crapware and let me direct them to some tweaking tips (Ed Bott and others), but they're pretty insistent... Note that they're considering installing 32-bit XP on it. There are so many opportunities for "I told you so's" at so many levels here that my head is spinning  Grin  [/*Barely* on topic - I mention 64-bit a number of times]
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f0dder
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« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2009, 10:07:20 AM »

Fools smiley
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Darwin
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« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2009, 12:11:56 PM »

Fools smiley

Knee-jerk reactionary fools!
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40hz
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« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2009, 12:38:11 PM »

These are friends?
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« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2009, 12:43:58 PM »

Older USB devices where they provide the driver on CD instead of hotplug seems to be the only real issue I've run into, other than cleaning off preinstalled crap.

This little 2 PC setup I have works out pretty well because stuff I can't use on the new PC I can keep running on the old machine until the software is updated or I find new freeware that does the same thing.

I've given up trying to give advice.  People have their habits and emotions locked in.  One guy asked me to take a look at his PC.  He started the thing up and windows and dialog boxes were jumping around all over the place.  I asked when was the last time he updated his anti-virus database. He replied, "it came with anti-virus, I don't have to do anything."  I think he had the machine for about 4 years at least. That was the end of that diagnostic session.
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