Since Windows XP Pro 64-Bit was released, there has been a lot of speculation of whether it would help current gaming or anything else in general. I put both versions of the OS through a round of benchmarks to see if the 64-Bit does indeed offer any advantage.
The overall question that this article was supposed to answer is, “Is Windows 64-Bit for me?”. After putting both versions of the OS through 11 tests, I think that the answer stands at a clear no.
Even though 64-Bit processors have been around for a little while, we are still in the very early stages of the technology. I think it will be a while before we see any game, or program for that matter, be developed exclusively for a 64-Bit platform. As mentioned earlier, to have a game or program in true 64-Bit, you would need a 64-Bit OS, GPU Drivers, Processor and an application developed specifically for 64-Bit.
It’s going to take a while for everyone to come together and start putting together solid 64-Bit bases. The first release Nvidia 64-Bit GPU driver, I found to hold back a lot of performance and be generally buggy. This is why I chose to use the Beta driver instead, because it brought the performance back up on par with the 32-Bit. They are still working on it, to be sure, so it may even get better.
As for 64-Bit applications, I am still not sold on the fact that a patch will convert it to operate to the full potential, compared to being written from the ground up. In the article, I’ve used Far Cry 64-Bit and Sandra 64-Bit, both of which didn’t show any performance increase over their 32-Bit counterparts. Simply put, there is no reason to want to get the 64-Bit version of the OS, especially since it still has compatability issues, and decreases performance in some tests. Aquamark3, for example, does not work in x64. That’s just not worth the ~$170US price tag.
Since Longhorn is due out next year, and it’s supposed to be for 64-Bit capable computers only, that’s the next OS you should buy. Since it’s a major release, it would be much more worth ~$300US, than an identical XP OS that costs a little more than half that. If you are still interested in x64 at all, and want to fill your own curiosities, Microsoft recently released an evaluation version, that lasts for 120 days. You can snag it here.
I hope you enjoyed reading the article, and better know what you want to do now. If you believe any of my information is incorrect, or wish to recommend what I should have added, or for general comments, you can feel free to e-mail me at ‘rob [at] tech gage [dot] com’. You can also discuss it, or leave your comments in our related thread instead. You do not need to register to post in the thread, but you can post under any name you wish.