I have an x86 system. The concept of x64 computing is splendid. But, before you expect too much from it, there are certain things which one should be aware of.
The range of integer values that can be stored in 32 bits is 0 through 4,294,967,295 or −2,147,483,648 through 2,147,483,647 using two's complement encoding. Hence, a processor with 32-bit memory addresses can directly access 4 GB of byte-addressable memory.
In other words, 4GB is the ideal RAM size for 32-bit computers. For a 64-bit computer, that would be 16.8 million terabytes. (Wiki
). Most manufacturers intentionally handicap their microprocessor architecture to avoid that impossible situation. And many applications which are not specifically written for the 64-bit architecture, run in a "compatibility
" mode, which make them run at a comparable speed of their 32-bit counterparts. Also, in order to fully utilise your hardware (provided you do have the perfect components to supplement your ideal 64-bit processor
), the applications must also be written with YOUR very processor in mind, even if written in a high level language. That, my friend, is a very difficult job for most programmers, and even today we don't have that ideal situation as far as software is concerned. So, no matter which 64-bit os you use, you're very unlikely to experience that optimal experience. Linux, being THE os for servers, is truly outstanding. Of course there are other unices, but linux is what most people prefer now-a-days. For the desktop environment though, where people want to do just about anything, comes the dreaded issue of drivers and hardware/software compatibility. Most multimedia apps (or their alternatives
) in linux run sort of ok, but in a more slower-than-jogging fashion, and fixing such issues is a nightmare for even many RHCEs, not to speak of more "general" users. There are hundreds of flavours of linux, and you just don't know which one will make the most of your hardware and run all
your software. Wine
is sweet, but really can't catch up with the stability and performance when those apps run in the real windows. Also, the choice of software is too limited in linux than in windows. Given all these factors, I think XP (32-bit) is still miles ahead of all in terms of compatibility and usability. But of course, when it comes to having the highest possible speed in some very specific applications, such as video encoding or 3d rendering (for development purposes) or running a very busy server, hardware and OS do play a big role. But for the more general user who wants to run various servers, play all
the games available, try out every cool new software, add new hardware like TV tuners, sound cards, PPU etc, do various types of development/reversing etc, XP (x86) is what most people would still