Windows XP 64-Bit Preview: First Look at Athlon 64 Performance

In case you missed the news, Microsoft has just released a public preview of XP 64-bit.  Microsoft officially calls the new Operating System the "Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems".  The Customer Preview can be downloaded for free or ordered on CD for a fee at the 64-bit Edition website.  The CDs will not ship until mid-February, but the free 420MB download version is available NOW.  We couldn't wait to download the preview of the new OS and run an Athlon 64 through some benchmarks.

Your first task after downloading and installing the OS will be finding drivers for some of the components in your system.  Microsoft's new 64-bit Newsgroup is a great place to start your search. Drivers are part of the new 64-bit OS, but they are still spotty in many cases.  We needed to find a 64-bit driver for the 3Com LAN on our Asus SK8V and better video drivers.  XP64 installed a driver for our Radeon 9800 PRO, but it was really basic and not much in the performance department.  After we discovered ATI did not really have a 64-bit driver, but nVidia did have one on their web-site, we swapped in an Albatron FX5950 Ultra video card.  We also found 64-bit drivers for our 3Com on-board LAN and SK8V Sound at PlanetAMD64 and Collosumus.  With the basic features taken care of we were ready to take our first stab at testing 64-bit performance.

Performance Test Configuration


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  • Pumpkinierre - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    #30 they used an nvidia5950 with a released (but maybe not mature) 64bit driver for the tests. I suggested using 32bit drivers (#17) to see if the core of the OS was the problem but INTC(#18) kindly referred me to a post that shows that once the 32bit code goes into the WOW dlls its 64bit thereafter. So its difficult to isolate the problem, one way, as one post suggested, is lower the resolution and take the workload of the graphics card and perhaps use older games that are less video card dependent. If the difference between XP and Win64 result does'nt narrow with these settings then it is the OS core/WOW that is more likely at fault. From the large discrepancy in the older games Quake3 and Comanche4 results, I suspect it is not just the drivers at fault.

    The Lost Circuits post (#18) also indicated that Win64 handled 16bit apps. as well Sniper #28 but probably via a different module.
  • vedin - Sunday, February 8, 2004 - link

    Sniper, you have to take into account the fact that that was, unless I'm wrong, an almost generic Microsoft ATI driver, and NOT a 64bit driver from ATI...seeing as ATI has no such driver. Neither did the chipset maker for that matter, so the AGP "Bus" would lag a bit too. Heck, I'm surprised any of the games worked AT ALL. I expect to see no less than a 30% performance boost on ATI's first released 64bit driver, and I think it will actually BE in the neighboorhood of the exact defficit that we see now. After the second or third revision, I expect the games to get on average of 5-20% faster than they would with the newest 32bit drivers on 32bit Windows.

    Can you say, preview, beta copy?
  • dvinnen - Sunday, February 8, 2004 - link

    It's not emulation. All they did was add another layer for 32 bit code. While this will hender proformance, current code ges through so many layers as it is, it won't be that noticable. Certanly would not hender proformance to the tune of 50% Reply
  • Sniper342 - Sunday, February 8, 2004 - link

    I think this article is promoting some misconceptions...

    When running 32 bit applications, like pretty much all current games, on the 64 bit edition of Windows XP, the 32 bit games will be running through a seperate subsystem, sort of like an emulation or compatability mode type thing. So that's probably why the games are running slower...

    The conclusion in this article regarding 64 bit gaming performance seems false, and the test doesn't seem very logical. To know the 64 bit gaming performance, a 64 bit build of THE GAME must be tested... The 64 bit operating system was only able to run the current games due to the compatability emulation-ish mode, so of course it's usually slower...

    Read Microst's FAQ for Windows XP 64 Bit edition:

    "Q. Will my applications be faster on Windows XP 64-Bit Edition?"

    "Most 32-bit applications should continue to perform best on 32-bit versions of the Windows operating system."

    "Q. Will Windows XP 64-Bit Edition support 32-bit applications?

    A. A key feature of Windows XP 64-Bit Edition is its ability to run 32-bit Windows-based applications unmodified on the 64-bit platform. To enable this capability, Microsoft has added a new 32-bit subsystem to Windows XP 64-Bit Edition. This subsystem—Windows on Windows 64—provides the 32-bit Windows services needed for applications to run properly even if they are not 64-bit. (Note: This subsystem does not support 16-bit applications.)"
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, February 8, 2004 - link

    DivXNetworks is a launch parther of AMD and the official site for Divx. They claim the 64-bit version of Dr. Divx leaves everything avaible in the dust. As soon as Dr. Divx 64 is released we will be publishing benchmarks.

    AMD included coupons for Dr. Divx 64 in the retail version of Athlon64 FX processors.
  • Visual - Sunday, February 8, 2004 - link

    ---- Wesley Fink wrote ----
    XP64 uses DirectX 64 and a Direct X 32-bit version. We were told there may be a problem with enabling DirectX 64 in this Preview Edition. We did run DXDiag for 64-bits and checked to make sure DX64 was enabled.
    well, i'd imagine that the 32bit apps use the 32bit directx anyway, so it doesnt matter if 64bit directx is enabled.

    you know what i think you should add to this article? i'd be curious to see SiSoft Sandra 2004 32bit version on the 64bit windows. that way we can get numbers for "Change 32bit to 64bit OS only" and "Change 32bit app to 64bit app".

    wow if that divx thing gets even better with 64bit app & codec then AMD be kings of the world!

    the article is good news, i like it!
  • sipc660 - Saturday, February 7, 2004 - link

    i'll save my money for a nice gigabyte mobo based on sis 756 and pci express 16x radeon (R423)
    of coarse some DDR2(if supported)

    by then (probably mid 2004) xp64 should be mature as well as drivers.
    then i'll ask these cocks if they still don't beleive the gaming power of 64 bit could not improve.

    they don't kill the rooster because he sings, but because he sings at the wrong time LOL

    so be "as sabirun"= means patient.

    wait and we will wait with you.....

    go amd
  • michael3333 - Saturday, February 7, 2004 - link

    Also, the Microsoft site specifically stated that this Windows will ONLY work on an Opteron/AMD64 based processor system. No mention of anything Intel. If this Windows will work on Intel Xeon CT than Intel will have to used licensed AMD 64 technology right? LOL Reply
  • michael3333 - Saturday, February 7, 2004 - link

    drivers, drivers, drivers. 16 registers. AMD64 can run 32 bit inside 64bit but those 16 registers is what will speed things up. How does anyone say Prescott looks good based on a crappy driver run Preview version of a 64bit windoze using almost all 32bit tests? UH ok
  • tantryl - Saturday, February 7, 2004 - link

    Is it just me, or does it seem strange testing out the capabilities of a 64-bit processor and OS with 32 bit application benchmarks? Reply