Author Topic: "32bit to 64bit" windows xp 64bit (2005)  (Read 1371 times)

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Offline chrisNova777

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"32bit to 64bit" windows xp 64bit (2005)
« on: March 04, 2017, 10:03:17 AM »

The magic number of 64 is gradually working its way into all aspects of our PC experience: processors from both AMD and Intel, the Windows XP OS, hardware drivers, and — coming soon — 64-bit music apps. But what should we be aware of as we consider the transition from 32-bit?

Intel's new Pentium 4 600-series 64-bit processors were launched in February, giving anyone about to purchase a new budget PC a rival to AMD's increasingly popular Athlon 64 range. Initial tests with Intel's 600 series indicate that its 3.6GHz P4 model offers almost identical performance to an AMD Athlon 64 3800+ model with the current 32-bit Windows, although as I write this it seems too early to form an opinion about their relative 64-bit performance, as so few 64-bit applications are available. However, as with many past comparisons, an Intel-based solution still seems to be slightly more expensive than an AMD one of equivalent performance.

Microsoft's Windows XP Professional x64 operating system is due to ship in April (so should be available by the time you read this) and will finally enable many existing users of PCs with processors including AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron, and Intel's Xeon and P4 600 series, to benefit from 64-bit computing. However, as I mentioned in last month's PC Notes, only applications that have been optimised and re-compiled to take advantage of its new capabilities will provide better performance.

Most mainstream users are unlikely to get worked up about 64-bit computing, unless the marketing people pull off something really special, as it won't benefit the vast majority of mainstream or even office applications. However, a fully 64-bit PC will theoretically be able to utilise far more memory (64GB in the case of Intel's new range, and 1024GB for AMD's 64-bit processors), which means that some musicians may be able to abandon sample streaming from their hard drives in favour of 'instant' access from system RAM, with correspondingly vast polyphony as a result. However, the actual RAM ceiling of any 64-bit PC is more likely to depend on the motherboard limits than anything else.

The second benefit of 64-bit architecture for musicians is its improved floating-point performance and the greater number of internal registers, each of which is 64 rather than 32 bits wide. This will result in far more efficient audio algorithms: early indications from Cakewalk's Sonar x64 Technology Preview indicate that we can hope for performance gains of up to 30 percent from a 64-bit-capable processor running under Windows XP Pro x64 in 64-bit mode (compared to using a processor of the same clock speed with the Windows XP 32-bit operating system and 32-bit Sonar application).

Fortunately, all the signs are that Windows XP x64 is already extremely compatible with most existing 32-bit apps (subject to a few caveats that I'll come to shortly), which is a relief, considering how much most of us have invested in them. Existing 32-bit apps will also be able to access up to 4GB of memory if the Large Address Aware switch that I discussed in last month's PC Notes has been used.