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  • instant - Saturday, July 21, 2007 - link

    Could the writer please detail what, exactly, is wrong with XP-64bit edition?

    Having run it since it was released and never had a problem with it, I would be interested in knowing what problems I should have experienced.

    Reply
  • BUL - Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - link

    A few things I've found about /3GB in XP...

    1) In terms of "consumer" OS's, XP Pro is the only one to support it. (XP Home and W2K Pro DO NOT!) Vista has a different method, outlined in the article.
    2) If you change boot.ini, make sure you add a "3GB" boot option to your operating systems, not just change the one entry to /3GB. If a new driver gets installed that doesn't like /3GB, you could be left without the ability to change boot.ini back. (I can't find any info on whether /3GB affects Safe Mode, however safe mode may run in "3GB" mode!) So, unless you have the ability to WRITE to NTFS partitions outside of Windows, you may be stuck if you don't. See http://www.gehrytechnologies.com/catia/catia/catia...">http://www.gehrytechnologies.com/catia/catia/catia... for how to do it...

    Now, personally, I feel that a limitation like memory shows the "men from the boys" in terms of programmers. Windows and "endless memory" has allowed for bloatware for far too long and allowed for sloppy, inefficient programming... Just think back how many games & other programs could run on an XT with 640KB of RAM because the programmers wrote highly efficient code. (Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS was written primarily in assembler; Quattro Pro could open even larger spreadsheets than 1-2-3 because it utilized pseudo-virtual memory).

    Now we've come full-circle into the world of Windows, and some of these programs now have to become more efficient. That's what programmers are paid to do...
    Reply
  • Anorax - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    On some of the larger maps in AW2 the game will occasional crash to desktop and leave an error window saying it has exceeded the 2GB memory space. Not that helpful but at least it tells you why it crashed. Reply
  • the Chase - Sunday, July 15, 2007 - link

    Thank you so much for this article. I had a post awhile back in the forums asking for help on why in Vista I couldn't even run PR for bf2 unless I turned down the texture setting to Medium.

    Never figured it out though people here did offer some good ideas for fixes. After reading this article I knew this is what was going on. I searched on the Net and found out how to use Visual Studio C++ to modify the Bf2 executable. Problem solved! (I have the 64 bit version of Vista).

    And to think I was ready(thinkeng about anyway) going to buy another 2 GB's of memory to try and cure the problem. Thanks again.

    P.S. I also did the same fix for XP pro 64 and now PR runs much smoother than before in that OS also.
    Reply
  • spookware - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Just wanted to mention that the description of how windows uses memory is correct for XP and previous versions but it is not quite how windows vista works.

    Specifically, vista does not automatically take the upper 2GB of adress space for the kernel any more. It instead grows the kernel adress space downard on demand. Allthough the associated switches (/3G) have the same prupose in vista what they are setting is actually the upper maximum for the kernel adress space.

    Reply
  • Magumi - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    I guess this means that if I want to buy a computer to last me at least three or four years, I need to get 64bit Vista and 8GB of RAM and hope that drivers and incompatibilities get resolved soon. Reply
  • Greyhead - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Ryan, great article. Some other posters mentioned the use of the /PAE on servers. I recently discovered that MS recommends NOT using the /3GB switch in conjunction with /PAE. I followed their advice on a large SQL server we have and saw immediate positive results. The problem with /PAE /3GB combination is that when the OS is limited to 1 GB, there is not enough room for the size of the heap needed to support the /PAE option! This can be viewed using performance monitor - selecting "memory" options and then viewing total PTEs available (Page Table Entries). There are MS articles that describe the minimum PTEs needed, and before I changed our server it was way under the minimum. We had stupid errors on the server - blue screens, "not enough memory" errors when transferring files to another machine. Once the change was made, these problems disappeared. 2003 server has a more tunable /3GB switch using the /USERVA switch. There are technet articles which provide guidance on it's usage.

    Keep up the great work -

    -bill
    Reply
  • redpriest_ - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    binary is illegal. Reply
  • Kougar - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    The moment I saw the title I was thinking of Supreme Commander. I particularly enjoy the insanely huge 8-player games, but it only took about 40 minutes before these would crash... oddly enough they did not always crash either in some situations, making the crashing appear random and only confusing my attempts to troubleshoot this game. It would have been quite appreciated that this issue would have at least been mentioned in the game's readme file, if nothing else.

    Having (very luckily) stumbled across MadBorris's thread I made the modifications to XP and SC has been running since. I have not run into any instability or issues with XP configured with the /3gb switch for what it is worth. Am I wrong in that users with video cards featuring smaller onboard memory sizes will have an "advantage" with this problem? There is a large difference between a 320mb GTS and 740MB GTX, or heaven forbid a 1GB HD 2900 card? And while on the subject does a dual-GPU configuration (and therefore dual VGA memory) make things even worse?
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Yes to the first question. To the second question I believe that's also a yes, but I don't have a system configured to test that theory. Reply
  • miahallen - Saturday, July 14, 2007 - link

    What I found extremely interesting is that you had problems modifying your boot.ini file for a lsrger than 2.6GB app space. I have an almost identical configuration, and have modded almost all my games headers, and my boot.ini is set to 3GB app space. When I modded the boot.ini, I was unaware of the possible problems, but since it didn't cause any, I've been perfectly happy with it.

    A8N-SLI Delux
    Opty 165 @ 2.5GHz
    2GB DDR400
    8800GTX (768MB VRAM)
    Vista x86

    I've modded the headers for:
    STALKER
    C&C3
    CoH
    Dark Messiah M&M
    DiRT
    FSX
    Silent Hunter 4
    TDU

    Thanks Ryan, for the great article!
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Sunday, July 15, 2007 - link

    quote:

    I've modded the headers for:
    STALKER
    C&C3
    CoH
    Dark Messiah M&M
    DiRT
    FSX
    Silent Hunter 4
    TDU


    This should be made clear to people.
    If an application is not Large Address Aware there is usually very good reason the developers did not include it that way. There maybe things you break in the game or cause stability problems by adding it.

    So people should not be just adding this to all their games, especially considering many games don't come close to the 2GB ceiling in the first place, so their is no benefit only potential negatives.
    Reply
  • ChristopherO - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    This is true... One shouldn't go setting the binary flag because they *can*.

    I will however confirm that C&C3 and FSX run into the 2GB barrier. FSX is fine once it is patched.

    However, C&C3 is so poorly written that it can easily pass 2GB and run into the revised 3GB barrier on any multiplayer map with the maximum number of AI and/or opponents. Detail settings as low as the "medium" preset do nothing to alleviate this problem.

    Unfortunately C&C apparently has absolutely no code to purge and re-use memory as I've been in huge games, on the downward slope in terms of remaning opponents/units, and the app still hits a revised 3GB memory space and crashes.

    As a developer myself, memory management is *not* that complicated. It takes some forethought, but the EA people apparently never bothered. This is a huge letdown since I've been a C&C fan since the first game came out my first year of college.
    Reply
  • miahallen - Saturday, July 14, 2007 - link

    I have to add one more thing about my system, may be important.....most of my games I play at 2048x1536, as opposed to you test rig at 1600x1200. That and you were using Vista Ultimate, I'm using Home Premium. Do you think this is what is effecting the results? If so, Home Premium (or even Home Basic) is the x86 OS of choice for gamers, not Ultimate! Reply
  • miahallen - Sunday, July 15, 2007 - link

    I was hoping you would comment on this Ryan, do you think the difference in our boot.ini mod was due to the version of Vista we run? Any thoughts? Reply
  • sheh - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    ...and disturbingly it doesn't set off any sort of multiplayer cheat detection in the game in spite of the fact that we have modified the executable in a very visible way.

    The game probably checks the code (and maybe data) section(s) in memory, and not the actual EXE file (makes sense considering you can use memory patchers). The header might not be important for cheat prevention.
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    quote:

    ...and disturbingly it doesn't set off any sort of multiplayer cheat detection in the game in spite of the fact that we have modified the executable in a very visible way.

    Yeah, I remember thinking that the first day I did it, actually in those days it was Securom protected which I was actually more suprised about bypassing. But seriously the exe header should not be something that cheat protection should look for. I can only say glad it didn't or crashing would be a constant problem. ;)
    Reply
  • atlr - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Good job. Reply
  • atlr - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    A lot of good comments have helped edit and tune this article too. (meh, not this one though) Yayyy, community. Reply
  • JetBlack69 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    From a programming perspective, what is a programmer to do? I assume this can happen in a program when "new" returns NULL because the program is out of memory, but what can a program do gracefully?

    I assume it could just display an error message, but if it were during a game, how could it handle it gracefully and not crash or give an error message? Would it lower the texture detail or remove unneeded objects on the screen?
    Reply
  • titan7 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    There is nothing you can do. If you ship a game you could test it and ensure it doesn't run out of memory (e.g. GameCube has just 24megs of system memory and the last Zelda looked great. Quite a ways away from 2048megabytes PC games run into!), but what about a mod?

    When the application starts just allocate 512 megabytes or whatever you feel is reasonable. When new throws an exception free that memory, display a warning you're low on memory and need to upgrade to Vista64, and continue. When it new fails again one microsecond later you're screwed so display a message to the end user along the lines of "I told you so!" End users really like that type of thing. ;)

    You could get a bit fancier by replacing all units with simple cubes or something, but all that does is delay in the inevitable a bit longer.
    Reply
  • ncage - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    1) First step is to detect which OS you are using at startup. Is it 64 bit os or not?

    2) You SHOULD never code your application around a 2GB memory limit. It is very bad coding practice. Going through thorough examples in a short post like this isn't very practicle

    3) Some higher level langauge/constructs abstract this away from you. For example if you are using .Net CLR you don't really have to worry about this unless maybe your doing some crazy pinvoke stuff which in most cases you shouldn't be doing anyways. Of course if your doing VB6 your never going to get around it anyways because vb6 is only 32 bit.

    4) If you are doing C++ or assembly with windows then you can use the GlobalMemoryStatus() Function to Effectively see how much available address space you have.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    The key to any of this is monitoring how much of the virtual address pool is in use; there should be an API call to ask Windows this. The easiest thing to do would be to give a warning at 1.9GB or so and then either do nothing, trigger a crash early, or attempt to reduce detail or flush space to stay below the 2GB barrier. The warning is the easy part, the hard part is preventing the crash, and I don't honestly believe anyone can or will be preventing crashing. Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    I just wish we had a better solution than Vista. Sure we can use 64bit XP but that's only going to last how much longer with full patch support from MS?
    If Vista wasn't such a pile and didn't perform worse in games when using equivalent hardware as the same system running XP, it wouldn't be such an unappealing alternative.

    And even so, when running 4GB of RAM, how much over a LargeAddressAware flagged game with the 3GB boot.ini switch are you really gaining by using 64bit OS? Not much, really. We first need motherboards that are happy running 8GB of RAM, RAM cheap enough to buy 8GB for a reasonable price (which is not too hard with DDR2 2GB DIMMs right now), and do so at full performance/speed settings.

    Really it's not just a move to a 64bit OS, it's also a move to 8GB of RAM.

    OR it's simply having developers who code their games to work properly within 3GB of addressable RAM.
    Reply
  • instant - Saturday, July 21, 2007 - link

    How many more patches do you need for XP 64bit anyway?

    As long as the games work for it, why care about microsoft updating "security" hotfixes or not.
    Reply
  • Tegeril - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Articles like this make me very glad that I opted to go with 64bit Vista. All my hardware is supported at this point with stable drivers (we can argue the Creative X-Fi, but it works fine). I'm just amazed that people saw this coming and yet we have games that just die because of the problem. 64 bit isn't as bad as people make it out to be regarding compatibility :D - except iTunes and Quicktime :( Reply
  • halfeatenfish - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    How do the *nix variants deal with this same issue? Do they even have it? Can someone shed some light, especially in terms of OS X... Leopard, if anyone knows anything there. But Tiger info is just as good. Reply
  • titan7 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    They all do the same thing for 32bit. Bu generally speaking *nix has been 64bit for years (decades) so if it is a problem just run the 64bit version of everything. And being more cross platform their code tends to have less hacks like you get in Windows apps that assume there is an extra bit available on every pointer. A single bit! Bah, we're talking about billions of bytes and elite programmers are trying to squeeze every last bit out of their application at the expense of future compatibility. LAME. Reply
  • The Boston Dangler - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    OSX is a 64-bit system, *nix ymmv Reply
  • MadBoris - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Cool article Ryan. Good to see these issues getting more global attention.
    Since 32 bit seems it is here to stay for a lot longer than we want it to, and with software bloat continuing, this will hopefully continue to put pressure on driver devs to write better drivers that can handle >2GB addresses without issue. So that people can use the /3Gb switch without concern. I personally have never had problems with /3GB with any of my hardware/drivers but certainly 'less mainstream' drivers may not be handled with the care that they should be.

    I like the breakdown of games/apps that support the LargeAddressAware flag, maybe this list can grow for future articles covering more apps/games. I also enjoyed your testing on the "potential" penalty of less kernel space, something I never took the time to do on my own.

    Imagine my suprise today when making my rounds to my favorite hardware site. ;)
    Reply
  • nullpointerus - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    64bit versions of Windows(i.e. XP and Vista) do not suffer from the traditional 2GB barrier, as all the kernel mode addressing is usually moved to well above the confines of the limited 32bit addressing area. As such, these versions of Windows don't need to have their space allocations adjusted for an application to gain access to more addressing space, bypassing the instability and any possible performance problems that occurs as a result of making this adjustment.

    I used 64-bit Vista for a while but just couldn't deal with the BSOD's and other wierd behavior that would happen with 4 GB RAM installed and the BIOS memory hole option set. For example, the nVidia SATA drivers (3 updates on Windows Update alone) for my board would BSOD on every boot when the BIOS memory hole option was enabled, and the PVR-150's driver would randomly corrupt itself and turn into a green/garbled slideshow:

    http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/board/showthread.php?t=...">http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/board/showthread.php?t=...

    I wish the 64-bit driver developers would get off their butts and fix this stuff.
    Reply
  • gersson - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Large Address Aware Status

    it says, "STALKER: Oblivion Lost"
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    I'm not sure I see what the problem is. Could you go in to more detail? Reply
  • gersson - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    You meant to place 'Stalker' cos there is already an entry for oblivion and 'lost' (I assume you mean 'lost planet')
    Read like this:

    Observe first line:

    STALKER: Oblivion Lost Yes
    Lost Planet No
    Company of Heroes Yes
    Supreme Commander No
    Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Yes
    Battlefield 2142 No
    Call of Juarez DX10 BM No
    World of Warcraft No
    The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion No
    Photoshop CS3 Yes
    Dreamweaver CS3 No
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    No. Stalker had the working title of Stalker: Oblivion Lost... Reply
  • gersson - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    hmm ok, didn't know that -- but you can see how I had arrived @ my conclusion :-P Reply
  • The Boston Dangler - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    the game was released as STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl. no biggie Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Fixed. I keep forgetting they changed the name. Reply
  • grant2 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    So this game will crash reproducably when using a large map, with many players, and many units.

    And GPG released it like this? Either their QA department is rather incompetent, or management were buffoons to ignore such an obvious error.

    Very disapointing!
    Reply
  • EODetroit - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    I've been hoping Anandtech would take memory issues more seriously for a while now, glad you're getting your teeth into it for real now!

    "Unfortunately Windows Vista reverted to a non-accelerated desktop at this point, preventing us from capturing a screenshot of the exact memory readouts or the error message."

    Use a camera!
    Reply
  • BabyBear - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link


    This also happens with Flight Simulator X by the way.

    Over on Phil Taylor's blog he makes mention of it awhile back

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ptaylor/archive/2007/06/15/f...">Microsoft's Phil Taylors Blog

    There was also some talk that the June 07 DirectX Redist. seemed to 'help' with Out of Memory problems when using the /3gb switch.
    Reply
  • joetron2030 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    On "Page 4: A Case Study: Supreme Commander", in the paragraph discussing the first screen shot from Sysinternals' Process Explorer, you refer to the "Virtual Size" column as the "Private Size" column (which doesn't exist in the screen shot).

    Had me briefly confused.
    Reply
  • quanta - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Although Windows 2000/2003/Vista server versions aren't exactly designed for gaming, did anyone tested game titles on these server OS to see if these large address aware titles will use the Physical Address Extension feature? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    The short answer is no.

    The longer answer is that due to a combination of chipset support, software support, performance, and driver support, it's not really usable outside of a server environment and shouldn't be used on a consumer system.
    Reply
  • brink - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Wouldn't matter, WinXP SP2 uses PAE, why would you want to install it on a server OS? Only 2003 is a server OS of the ones you mentioned, and I think only Windows 2003 Enterprise is the only 32-bit OS that has the ability to use more than 4GB of memory (8GB seems to be the limit for what modules/mobos are available right now) Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    I'm just reading the remarks about the 386 pushing the memory from 1 MB, to 4 GB. It's patently untrue, unless you think the 386 succeeded the 8086, and not the 286. The 286 had 24 bit addressing (in 64K segments) for 16 MB of memory. This is not only what OS/2 used, but extended memory as well. So, it's not academic. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Just hearing the words "segmented memory" gives me flashbacks - and they're not the good kind. For this article we're talking strictly about flat addressing since I could write a small book on just segmented addressing, but I've updated the article to make this clear. Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Either way, you're using the wrong values. Even on the 8086 the memory was segmented. Actually, so was the 386, but it could handle segments up to 4 GB, so it wasn't important. So, using 1 MB and saying you're not referring to segmentation is inaccurate; that is segmented memory.

    Segmentation was not a bad thing, particularly back then. It saved memory space, and back in 1978 that was a big thing. Addresses were given in 16 bits, you didn't have to specify the rest, and the net result was you had shorter code. You would have to change the registers to point to the next segment from time to time, but overall it saved a lot of memory. You also could protect apps from each other, but that wasn't really used.

    I was an OS/2 developer, and it was a pain sometimes for sure. By the time the 286 came out, which I think was the best processor Intel ever made considering the timing, and the incredible capabilities it had over it's predecessor (the 8086, not the 80186 which was made in parallel with the 286), the extra memory saving was not worth the nuisance of having to deal with, at most, 64K segments. But it really wasn't possible for Intel to do it any other way, as I'll explain below.

    Motorola even added some external memory management unit that added segmentation, which today seems strange. It's widely viewed now as just a bad thing, but back then, it wasn't. Motorola really had a choice though, since the 68K was part 32-bit, and part 16-bit, and part 24-bit (addressing). Although the 286 was a more powerful processor than the 68000, it was pure 16-bit, except for the oddity of the 24-bit addressing. Consequently, allowing flat 24-bit addressing would not have been feasible. So, they dealt with it by just adding more segments. Considering the absolutely incredible improvement in this processor in just about every way, it was not such a bad tradeoff.
    Reply
  • BitJunkie - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Hiya Bill. Reply
  • jay401 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Just FYI, SupCom has already exhibited this problem and crashes once it breaks the 2GB barrier, which can happen easily in longer games with a high unit limit.

    This is mostly due to the poor efficiency in their code and models, something GPG (the developer, Gas Powered Games) reported could not easily be fixed in a patch because they basically have to re-render every unit in the game so they take up less memory. Due to this, it's likely to remain unfixed until the expansion pack (now a standalone game) Forged Alliance comes out in November, if it is fixed at all

    One forum member developed a way to increase the addressable memory to around 3GB on 32bit WinXP and Vista, so if you're running 4GB, this provides a sort of band-aid solution in the meantime.
    Reply
  • brink - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    it's a 2 prong solution for WinXP, you have to set a /3GB flag in your BOOT.INI file for the instance of windows you're booting. Additionally since Supcom doesn't have the LARGEADDRESSAWARE flag, you have to patch the EXE using the tool mentioned in the article ((someone created a batch that uses the tool to patch the supcom exe, easily found in the official supcom forums)

    I mention this since the article doesn't really say how they did it (and they used Vista, which is another boc to contend with) Since HardOCP did a comparison a while back between supcom perf in XP and Vista, I've really only installed/used supcom in XP still. With our fix for a 4GB machine (the machine I regularly use still has 2GB, I just stay away from 81KM maps) XP has still remained stable, but we did have one crash in a 40KM map game on Gentleman's Reef.

    I don't like the article's preference on FPS in Supcom, mainly because I don't look at Supcom as a FPS centric game at all. If you've played, you know when a slow computer enters the game (or you have 7 computers each with 1,000 units on a 81KM map) the in-game timer will start to crawl. 1 second of game time will take 2 seconds, or much much worse. It would have been approx 100x cooler if the bench was "it took this much before the timer started to skew".
    Reply
  • jay401 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    lol funny, now that I am paging through the article I see you mention this very issue. Good! Reply
  • jay401 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    Well you didn't address the 'WHY' - why the game uses so much memory. Hopefully I provided a little light on that subject.

    Also on Page 5 none of your graphs are labeled as to what they are measuring. Please note if they're measuring fps, which is my gut but I'm not sure because they are unlabeled.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Well you didn't address the 'WHY' - why the game uses so much memory. Hopefully I provided a little light on that subject.


    Although you are right in part, the lead engineer did mention the units are one reason for large memory consumption. (BTW, I had heard that they are all being/were rerendered for November). There is another issue beyond that though that becomes obvious. The initial virtual address space at the beginning of a game between a 20k map and 81k map is only about 150MB difference. But as unit count climbs, the larger map gap grows somewhat exponentially compared to the smaller. So something else is askew.

    As Ryan mentioned the whys and wherefores aren't really the point, this issue is a global one and 2GB is a real hard limit now for games since we have the horsepower(CPU & GPU) for larger memory consuming texture maps, larger resolutions, yet the 2GB memory limit for a game is a definitive roadblock to forward progress so I am glad the issue is coming to the forefront.

    As much confusion and fear there is on this /3GB subject for the laymen, this is still a great rabbit in the hat for us with 32 bit OS's if more driver writers get on the ball, fears can subside. Hopefully devs like Crytek can continue to push demand for 64 bit with a nice 64 bit Crysis patch too, and we can start making the transition leaving 32 bit behind as drivers/apps also make the transition.

    I think articles like these help the cause.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    To be honest, we didn't address why because it really isn't relevant. Even if Supreme Commander was done perfectly in every way, the result would have been the same once it reached the 2GB barrier. Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    They should have made Vista only 64 bit to put pressure on the transition. Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    The problem with going 64-bit only this time around is that there are too many 32-bit programs around that simply won't run on 64-bit windows. I have several myself that I depend on daily. They are slightly older programs that the developer doesn't intend to upgrade to be 64-bit, but that doesn't change the fact that I need them. If these apps didn't work with Vista because it was released in 64-bit only form, then I wouldn't be running Vista. Millions of others are (or would be) in this same situation, which would significantly harm Vista sales.

    If the next version of Windows were made 64-bit only, around the 2010 time frame, I think that would be quite reasonable. By then most 32-bit only programs will have been replaced or rendered obsolete.

    I think Microsoft has handled the 32/64-bit issue correctly so far, for the most part. XP64 should have been ready sooner and should have been better supported though.

    Related question for anyone who knows: I know retail Vistas include 32-bit and 64-bit on the same disc, and the user is free to install either. I also know that OEM Vistas include only the one version on the disc. What about the OEM keycodes though? Can you install a 64-bit Vista using the keycode that came with a 32-bit disc? Or has MS limited the keycode as well?
    Reply
  • StygianAgenda - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    To answer your question about the Windows Vista Retail package, I have 2 copies of Vista Ultimate retail, and it was packed with 2 DVDs, 1 is 32bit, the other is the 64bit build.

    The set comes with a single key, and the key is bound to the 64bit version, so if you opt to use the 32bit version instead, you'll most likely have to call into Microsoft's activation center and manually activate your copy. I've had to do this 4 times now, due to hardware changes, because Vista detects system changes, so if you remove 1 or 2 boards and boot into Vista, the system will automatically de-activate. Now, granted, the call to MS was fairly painless, but it's annoying all the same.

    Out of the 4 Vista systems I own currently (3 of which are laptops), I've had great success with the OS, itself. Unfortunately for me, the motherboard I've been using on my custom built workstation is flaky... I've done my research though (tonight), and might have a fix in the works, if it works, that is. Otherwise, I'll be ordering a new motherboard, and calling Microsoft yet again to transfer my license to the new configuration. By the way, they always ask "Is this copy running on more than one PC?". In light of all the hoopla over the licensing scheme in Vista, I would hope that no one is stupid enough to try to use a Vista Retail license on multiple PCs, because it'll cause all of them to be blacklisted. Oh, and the new Vista Enterprise edition is only available in lots of 25 licenses or higher, and requires a licensing server on the LAN with the deployed workstation licenses. It's either that, or expect to have a couple of extra hundred MB or so of net traffic from all of the Vista Ent. workstations checking in with MS everytime the systems are booted. Makes me glad that I also work with Linux very heavily, and all things considered, if Linux + WINE can run all of my criticle Win32 apps, then this will be the last Vista Licenses that I buy. I'll still keep Vista on my laptops, and I'll continue to run my XP workstations, and 2K3 servers, but MS is going to have to really do some impressive work to get me convinced to migrate to their next platform... such as maybe... a *real* 3D desktop... which is already available, stable and totally badass on Linux (check out Kubuntu + compiz).

    (btw: Sorry if I seem like I'm on a rant here... no offense intended toward the readers, at all... it's just that when you work with OS's at the level that I do, after a while stupid mistakes made by OS vendors start to get beyond aggrivating.)
    Reply
  • instant - Saturday, July 21, 2007 - link

    And when we are talking about GAMES, how if at all is this relevant to the current discussion?

    x64 has been the way to go ever since it was released.
    Reply
  • miahallen - Saturday, July 14, 2007 - link

    That is incorrect, Vista x64 will run x86 apps without problem (so will XP x64), that's the nice thing about it. I ran x64 for quite a while, and ran almost nothing but x86 apps on it.

    The keycodes for x86 do not chnge for x64 installs...they use the same key. And the retail versions I bought did not have both versions on one disc, I had to order a x64 disc online (and pay $10 for S&H).
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Saturday, July 14, 2007 - link

    We are both right. While many 32-bit apps run fine on 64-bit windows, some don't. In particular, any app that employs any sort of driver (I'm talking software drivers, not hardware drivers) must at least have the driver compiled in 64-bit mode. In my case the example is a file synchronizing application that installs a driver to monitor file system changes. There are many apps that wouldn't appear to need a driver, but in fact they do. If you want to see the software drivers on your system, go into Device Manager and select Tools->Show Hidden Devices. Now look in "Non-Plug and Play Drivers". Everything in there is a software driver. If you're running 64-bit Windows, everything in there MUST be 64-bit. Applications can also install drivers at runtime, which also must be 64-bit.

    There are other 32-bit apps that for whatever reason just won't work on 64-bit windows. I believe AutoCAD 2006 and earlier have this problem. Likewise, any apparently 32-bit app that still has some 16-bit legacy code won't run either (for example some rather old but still perfectly useful 32-bit apps use a 16-bit version of InstallShield; the app itself might run, but there's no way to get it installed.).

    Regarding the Retail version, I've never had a retail version of Vista in my hand. I recall Microsoft saying at one point that both versions would be on the same disc and had never heard anything contrary.
    Reply
  • Christopher1 - Sunday, July 15, 2007 - link

    So this 64-bit software driver problem doesn't apply to things like games, I would assume, considering that they usually do not install software drivers?

    Well then, I think I'm going to contact Toshiba and use their 'Upgrade to x64 version of your operating system' option that recently appeared, if this doesn't effect games.
    Reply
  • miahallen - Sunday, July 15, 2007 - link

    No, all games should run fine on x64...however, tests have shown that most games run slightly faster on Vista x86. Reply
  • miahallen - Saturday, July 14, 2007 - link

    OK you are right, I stand corrected. I knew about this, just wasn't thinking about it. But from my experiance, those particular apps (that use SW drivers) seem to be the ones getting the quickest attention. I do recall having a couple issues related....a freeware plugin for MCE called mymovies. x64 is not supported at all. Also, Daemon Tools & PowerISO were having issues...but I believe they have both been resolved since then (I went to x86 about four months ago, not much point for me to go back until my next upgrade - 8GB RAM). Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Somehow I'm doubting that the "average computer user" who buys a prebuilt system without knowing or caring about OS design will stand for random peripherals not working due to a 64bit OS. Probably part of why finding 64bit versions of Vista on prebuilt systems is hard. What should happen is Microsoft state right now that the next version of Windows will be 64bit only; then try and educate consumers that some things won't be compatible, and notify companies that they really need to have their 64bit drivers working by then. Reply
  • jay401 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    No, they should have rendered their units properly (if that's even the real reason... somewhere though they aren't doing something right in their coding, given the way SupCom eats memory). Reply
  • jpeyton - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    On page 5, under Software Test Bed, the RAM should read (4x512MB) instead of (4x512GB). Reply
  • fic2 - Thursday, July 12, 2007 - link

    First sentence on the front page summary:

    "As applications being to approach"

    I assume that "being" is supposed to be begin.
    Reply

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