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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  • gmenfan - Sunday, May 16, 2004 - link

    I would like to see performance benchmarks with Windows XP 64-bit on a socket 754 platform. I am curious to see if the dual memory controller makes a difference in a 64-bit environment.
  • DallasTexas - Friday, February 13, 2004 - link

    I sure see lots of apologies here for the initial crappy gaming performance shown. But anyway, I'd like to add to the chorus anywahy "yippeee, 64 bits is here ".
  • TrogdorJW - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link

    What really makes me laugh at this whole situation is the fact that people have been saying Windows XP-64 was ready to be released months ago and that MS was just delaying it so Intel could create their own 64-bit chip. Where are all those stupid comments now, people? As I said on numerous occasions, gettings drivers and the critical OS paths ported from x86 assembly to AMD64 assembly is a difficult task at best. However, it's a task that must be done for the OS to reach its potential.

    WOW-64 would most likely not account for the 20% performance decrease in games that are witnessed here. It is a type of emulation (actually, just an extra layer that system calls have to go through), so it would definitely be slower than running the same application without that layer. However, if the 64-bit drivers and everything else are tuned properly, the extra work done in WOW could be negated by the potential performance boost that 64-bit drivers and such would experience.

    I would be curious to know what version of Nvidia's drivers were being used in testing. They said they used a version number that was "close" to the XP-64 driver version on the XP system, but that doesn't tell us a whole lot. If the 64-bit Nvidia driver is three months old or more, it might be back in the 45.23 driver era, which might explain the performance difference better.

    Still, the thing that is illustrated best by this article is that XP-64 is *not* ready for prime time right now. Fool around with it if you want to, but until all of the drivers are fully ported to AMD64, you're better off running XP or a 64-bit version of Linux. Even once all the drivers are available, I wouldn't be surprised to see companies like ATI and Nvidia releasing new versions that contain better 64-bit optimizations for the next year or two at least.
  • DallasTexas - Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - link

    "...Performance of current 32-bit games under SP64, however, was below expectations..."

    BELOW EXPECTATIONS ? WOW, the understatement of the year and it's only february.
  • CrossfireAction - Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - link

    20% Performance loss in games shood realy be a driver problem as you can check out here:

    These guys testet the new Beta XP 64 with an ATI Radeon 9700 non Pro with Microsoft 64 bit drivers based on OEM Catalyst 3.6 from August 2003
    As you can see the gameing performance is increasing about 4,8% to 8% !!!
  • ZapZilla - Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - link

    Even if the gaming performance of 32bit games stays poor, 1 year from now, when faster CPUs/GPUs are out and the 64 bit OS is mature, it won't matter, because:

    1) new games will be 64 bit or DX9++ and require new hardware anyway to get best performance or

    2) 32 bit games (then called 32 bit legacy games) will benefit from faster CPUs/GPUs and get higher FPS to make up for it.

    How many FPS does Quake n get on a modern system these days compared to when the game was released?

    So why all the fuss? Its all good.
  • sipc660 - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    some say its emulated others say its not
    some say its emulated others say its not

    i agree with no.33
    just shut up everyone and wait till the guys from anandtech bring us the revised performance with some decent drivers and real 64-bit benchmarks

    hail anandtech

    go amd
  • FalcomPSX - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    I plan on doing some benchmarks using sandra soon, using the 32-bit sandra and 64-bit as this should show a good raw increase in performance, albeit an early example. But this is the best way to guage performance based on what we have now. 32-32, 64-32 and 64-64. Once this is done, we will have a early estimate in the gain 64-bit provides and the hit( eumlating 32 bit in the 64bit os provides.
  • Phiro - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    This article was _not_ a waste of time and I applaude Anandtech for spending the hours neccessary to put it together for us.

    The lack of intelligence and sheer stupidity (and trolling) in the comments for this article on the otherhand is overwhelming.

    Comments like "this just makes Prescott look better and better", "This is an AMD only version of Windoze what will Intel do haw haw haw", "a 15% increase in number crunching but a big hit on game playing - I don't think consumers will swallow that" and the hair splitting going on between the definition of "subsystem" and the definition of "emulation" make me want to put a gun in my mouth and just pull the trigger.

    Holy gosh people, please give me intelligent comments to read while I eat my lunch, the drivel coming out of most of you is enough to spontaneously create another CRAMITPAL.
  • araczynski - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    this is akin to putting in a new engine into a car and taking it out on the track before you put on its tires. the results are obvious and the whole excercise is a waste of time. you might as well start benchmarks on prescott's successor and discuss the results with a straight face.