I'm upgrading my system in August and need some advice on the OS.
Current specs: AMD X2 4600+ | Foxconn 690G | 2GB DDR2-800 | HD 4850 | Windows XP x86
New Build: Q9450 | Asus P5Q-E | 4GB DDR2-800 | HD 4850 | ...
The last item on my list is the OS. I already have licenses for XP x86, XP x64, and Server 2003. I was going to go with XP x64, but found out I can get a copy Vista Business x64 for $80. Is it worth the upgrade? I work mostly with the Adobe CS3 collection along with some light gaming when I get the time. My needs are an OS that's stable, reliable, and will take full advantage my new hardware. I'd even be willing to take a hit to the memory and run XP x86 if its better in that regard.
My advice: DL a trial version of Vista Business 64 and try it, without activating it, you get at least 30 days. It will PROBABLY work fine. Lot's of people report that it's running CS 3 fine with no issues. There are a few reports out there of some issues with some parts of the cs 3 suite however on Vista 64. These reports may well be isolated and may even have been fixed by now but they are worth considering I guess.
If it works then buy the $80 version. You should be able to avoid re installation by simply activating the DL version with the purchased key.
I'd say it's worth trying though because Vista 64 makes the most sense otherwise. 64 gets you maximum RAM and Vista gets you the future. In general Vista is working great now BTW. Particularly well on new equipment and with all the accumulated fixes to it and to drivers. No need to fret over the anti-vista FUD, in other words.
You may be able to get the final word on compatibility at an Adobe board or else from someone else here.
Check with Adobe regarding Vista 64 support - Their current iterations run on Vista 64, but the last I heard Adobe wasn't going to officially support it. (Stupid decision, IMHO, given how having great big gobs of RAM help Video/Photoshop apps) But they may have changed their minds since I last looked.
Early performance differences betweem XP and Vista were mostly due to poorly optimized drivers. The situation has been resolved since.
As you probably know, Vista is much more aggressive about managing system resources. Especially RAM - Superfetch being XP's prefetcher on some serious steroids. By default, Vista also indexes everything on your hard drives - I do really like the improved search functionality that results from that. Actually forgetting paths because it's so much easier to simply type the name, and have the OS presenting possibilities as fast as I can type.
There are also some decent management tools to log events and such. And in forcing makers to NOT write drivers which work in Kernel mode the end result is a clearly more stable environment - Vista can recover from certain types of driver errors by itself. I can say for sure that no application or driver error has taken down my Vista 64 installation since I built my current machine some 10 months ago.
An awful lot of people seem to hate those very things, though: They view memory 'usage' as too high (never mind that cached space is surrendered to active programs just as if it were empty), complain about their hard drive working, or have a hard time tracing driver errors which result in poor performance instead of a crash with research-able blue screen error code. Plus the different UI, and the more intrusive security warnings (never mind that XP has been eternally flamed over security), and you have a lot of people hammering the OS just because they don't "like" it and can't/won't be bothered to learn the why's and how's of the differences between the two.
Regarding 32 bit programs: Vista 64 includes a set of libraries (WOW64) which are a massaged version of the ones on XP64. These handle the address and file location redrirections needed to run 32 bit code. But besides that: an x86 binary is an x86 binary is an x86 binary - Your processor (obviously) doesn't care. In practice, my 32 bit apps run every bit as well/fast under Vista 64 as they did under XP or Vista 32. In and of itself, the V64 is noticably snappier than V32.
You do lose a little bit of RAM space due to larger sized messages/datasets. But the flip side of that is larger sized datasets can be moved per clock cycle (broken into 64 bit pieces rather than 32), and there are some efficiency gains from being able to combine some of the simpler/common 32 bit messages into a single 64 bit one. Not a whole lot of programs being written currently take advantage, though.
If it were a choice between XP64 and Vista 64, to my mind it's a clear cut answer strongly in Vista's favor. Not least because from now and forward, to earn Microsoft's "Windows" seal the app has to run on Vista 64 as well as 32. That isn't the case for XP. Quite honestlly all Vista really lacked at releast was the "killer app" to drive people to use it. I remember pre-Service Pack 1 as well as SP1 XP, and Vista is easily far far better at the same point in it's development than the older OS was.
Thanks for the reply. I will definitely go 64-bit, but I'm still undecided between Vista and XP. It seems like I'll eventually have to go Vista for x64 hardware and software support, but I may put it off a while longer. I tried Vista RC2 a while back and it seems like no matter what I did the UI fonts always came out blurry or hard to read. My eyes just dont agree with the new system font for some reason. Even with clear type disabled. I suppose the answer to that to go with the Windows Standard theme or maybe I just didn't give it enough time. Did you have any adjustment issues when going to vista? Are there any tweak you might recommend for someone who's been on XP for 6 years
P.S. Got a copy of Vista Business x64 to try. Thanks for the tip.