A 64-bit OS will still run 32-bit applications... so you have no worries there. The concern will be how well it runs 32-bit code. So far, I think Win x64 is slower in 32-bit than regular Windows.
Yeah i've seen some benchmarks, and the Vista64bit version is a pig..... even booting up the OS takes more than a minute, i think around 78 seconds. lol
I guess M$ put in a lot of debug code in that pre-release version... either that or they have so many "If else" statements in that code that all they can do is display ("Are you sure you want to run XYZ") every 20 seconds. So that is what they've been doing all this time.......... wow norton watch out, MS is busy saving the day... (They will kill you wiht these anoying messages)(Someone needs to invent a MS popup blocker, lol)
M$ should wait another 2 years with the release of Vista, once everyone gets a Quad-Core 5Ghz computer it will be ok to ship the pig.