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I am sure many people out there decided that they do not need a 64 bit operating system at this point of time. However I believe them people need to strongly reconsider. Below is my personal experience in details which might help set your mind in the right direction depending on what you have and what you need to do.

After I put together my new machine back in November, I remained the anti vista I have been for the past few years. Then it occurred to me that I am not utilizing the full potential of my machine it being 64 bit but running an XP sp3. Since that the only Stable 64 bit OS available from MS is Vista 64, I decided to give it a shot, if not for anything at least make use of all my 4 GB ram and test my games on DX10 (the ones that support it).

My machine has been running on Vista Ultimate 64 for over a month now  and it is about time I would share my experience – do not get me wrong though, I would not install Vista 32, XP is definitely a winner in that scenario.

For starters let me share my machine specs so you would be able to evaluate your scenario better:

  • Motherboard: Asus Striker II Extreme
  • CPU: Intel Q9550 core quad @ 2.83 (no overclocking yet :) )
  • Memory: 4 GB Ram Twinmos DDR3 1333  (4 X 1GB)
  • Video: MSI nVidia Geforce GTX 280 1 GB
  • Audio:
    1. Soundmax HD audio card (bundled with the board) for playback
    2. Line6 Toneport KB37 for Recording.
  • Storage:
    2 x 500 GB Maxtor 7200 rpm (in Raid 0 configuration)
    2 x 150 GB Maxtor 7200 rpm (in Raid 0 configuration)
  • Screen:  Viewsonic 22″ vx2262wm
  • Peripherals: Logitech Wave Cordless Set

OS installation

Installing Vista Ultimate 64 was really fast, done in about 30 mins start to finish (Without disks configuration, that was done XP days, I just knocked out the XP partition and reinstalled Vista on it from setup). XP on other hand took around 45 minutes in total when I first installed it on the same machine.

The OS recognized almost all my hardware, I just needed to install VGA drivers, Toneport drivers (read the note below) and the software package for the Logitech set – all are available in 64 bit editions.

The edition I have comes with SP1 embedded which is great, windows update was about 400 MBs in total (with many optional items which I added).

After that, I started installing the essential tools I need (and my guess you would as well in case you were a web pro, a gamer or a musician besides being a casual user).

Anti Virus:

With time I learned my lesson well; NOD32 or AVG are the best and lightest out there. My personal preference is NOD32. It is great, cheap, and 64 bit native.

You can get it here.

Compression software:

None better than 7zip! It takes care of all known compression types, it is FREE, and it is 64 bit native not hybrid.

You can get it here.

FTP Client:

FILEZILLA! :D … It is 32 bit. But it is also very stable and very FREE. Plus I love the grid view.

You can get it here.

Photo Manager:

I was recently introduced to Faststone Image Viewer. It functions exactly like ACDSee so if you are used to that you will love this one because it is FREE. It is 32 bit as well but works like a charm.

You can get it here.

Media Player:

I love windows media player and it is usually my default, however lets face it you need another reliable media player on the side iand I know just the one. It never failed me, plays every video format out there, very light, and FREE. None other than VLC ofcourse. It is 32 bit but running perfectly on my machine.

You can get it here.

FLV Player:

Applian FLV player is my favorite. It is FREE and it bundles the flash player packaged . 32 bit only available.

You can get it here.

Image mount (CD Emulation):

This one might be a bit tricky with Vista 64. Many of those have not been functioning properly on a 64 bit OS. However the one I’ve been using flawlessly along apparently many other mates is DAEMON Tools. I have DAEMON Tools Lite which is very lite indeed and does the job for me perfect and stable. It is FREE.

You can get it here.

Screen Capture:

I have been using Snag it for 3 years now. Got used to it from the office and ended up buying it at home. It is extremely light, smart, super easy to use and not expensive. You can do regular print screen, full browser window capture (it auto scrolls), or even a video capture with or without voice.

It’s been working flawlessly on my machine. It is a 32 bit software.

You can buy it here.

VPN:

Another area where things might get tricky because of virtual hardware. Based on long trial and error and experience, WiTopia personal VPN is the best and one of the cheapest. It works perfectly as well with Vista 64.

You can buy it here.

Torrent Client:

I am using the original now, Bittorrent v6.1.2. It is clean, light, and fast as well. It is a 32 bit software and working fine. It is FREE ofcourse.

You can get it here.

Browsers:

The only browser available in 64 bit is the IE7 which is already bundled with the OS (both are, 32 and 64). Unfortunately though despite it is fast and perfect you won’t find yourself using it a lot because there is no Shockwave, Flash, or any proper ADOBE support as a matter of fact for 64 bit operating systems. On the side I have Chrome, Firefox 3, and Safari 3 all working perfectly on the OS. They are all FREE.

Burning:

I am using Nero 7 Essentials which came bundled with my DVD writer. I have been burning DVDs with Lightscribe with no problems at all.

You can buy the latest edition of Nero here.

Music Setup Notes:

Line6 being up to date, smart, and practical (ADOBE I hope you are hearing this) they have released Gearbox with driver support for 64 bit OS. So it is 64 native and it is working like a charm for me.

You can read all about it here.

And you can download it here.

Video Setup Notes:

Besides the VGA drivers which are in 64 bit, I’ve installed Rivatuner v2.22 which is working fine (despite the warning it gives you). The viewsonic has 64 bit native drivers as well.

Media Streaimng Notes:

I have a divx connected device at home. Although some people have been complaining about problems in running the connected server on Vista 64, I have not had any issues whatsoever. I tried both 1.4.1 beta and the new released 1.5 beta and both are working flawlessly. Actually, the performance of the device has enhanced by double ever since I shifted to the 64 bit OS.

Conclusion:

So as you can notice, situation is very different now from how it was 2 years ago when 64 bit OS was just released. From my list above you can see most of my software is FREE and big part of it is 64 bit native or hybrid. To me that is just one main reason why you should consider investing on 64 OS since it is clearly the future. Hardware manufacturers picked it up long ago and finally software developers have been working on it properly.

In general, my machine has been much more stable, responsive, smooth, and blazing fast compared to XP SP3. I could sense the differene in everything I do really.

My music gear has been performing better and my games performance was enhanced by 30%.

Areas of real improvement were OS speed, file moving and copying speeds (I back up 1 TR every 2 weeks so trust me on that), and Internet and networking speeds (enhanced by 30%).

I really spent too much time trying to figure out if I should shift or not because of compatibility issues with HW and SW for one, and if I really needed the 64 architecture for two (for the type of user I am). Now I can only think that I have wasted a month and a half running XP SP3 on my machine (which I really love for a 32 bit OS).

So in conclusion I hope this post will help everyone who Googles questioning whether they should upgrade or not and answer as many questions or converns they might have as possible.




7 Comments to “Should you go 64 bit? Hell Yeah!”

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    Dude..

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    Easy choice!

    Cheers.

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