View Full Version : Vista 64bit SP1

17th March 2009, 15:33
Some of you might be shocked to learn that I've finally moved over to the dark side. I've installed Vista 64 bit SP1. Yes, that's right, I'm using Vista! :o :unsure::unsure::blink::blink::ninja::ninja:

Now before you all wonder what the world is coming to and if the end is nigh! In building a new system I had to be able to access it's 8GB of ram. As some of you know 32bit versions of OSs such as XP Pro and Vista cannot access more than 4GB of total ram space, and this includes the amount taken up by the graphics card, so if you had a 512MB graphics card you would only see 3.5GB of ram out of 4GB installed.

I could have gone with XP Pro 64bit, bit that isn't that compatible with a lot of software, or drivers, from what I've read. Whereas Vista 64bit has been in development for long enough that it now has stable and mature drivers. Plus it has support from the graphics card makers and the games developers.

Anyway... after building the system I hesitantly inserted the Vista Ultimate 64bit install disc into the drive and began the install. I must say Vista's installer has improved. Especailly over older M$ OSs. No DOS like pages to navigate through. All mouse driven, and hardly anything to select and configure compared to XP or eariler OSs. Installation of Vista was pretty quick and two reboots later I was looking at the desktop!

I've used Vista a lot already on other machines, but I've hated it until now. It has been very slow to boot and very slow to use. However with this new system it isn't any of those things. Vista therefore like XP and 2000 before it, was released before the hardware was ready to run it properly. On this system with a Quad core CPU and 8GB of ram it flies along. None of the horrible waiting to boot or for something to open or load that I've experienced on all Vista installed systems before.

This is also the first 64bit OS I've installed as a main OS. I've tested a couple of 64bit distros of Linux on my older Athlon 64 system and they ran well, but being Linux it felt responsive and fast anyway so that wasn't really a good test to see what 64 bit could do.

Many people go on about avoiding 64 bit OSs due to compatibility. So far I've not experienced this. I've installed most of the applications I normally run, including Office 2003 and Adobe CS4 Master Suite, and these both run very nicely. CS4 even has a special 64 bit version of Photoshop! So full system ram access, and After effects supports 64bit too so loads of preview ram available.

I've not yet tried 3DSMax or Maya, but will give them a go tomorrow. I also want to stick Discreet Combustion and CleanerXL on as well to see how they perform. Especially in rendering tests. The Quad cores should really help with that, as well as the access to the full amount of ram.

I've also found that most of the popular utiltities and tools have 64bit versions sot hat was good. And Vista 64bit has a special 32bit mode to run everything else so most existing 32bit software runs fine as well. It installs the 32bit software in one program files directory, and the 64 bit software in another. So you can instantly see what is what.

Also in the task manager you can see what is running in 64bit mode and what is in 32bit mode is it flags the two in the list. Quite cool.

One thing I hadn't actually realised is that you can have Direct X 9 installed alongside DirectX 10 on Vista. Definitely adds to compatibility a lot. I've even managed to run the 3DMark benchbmark software from the 2006 edition, right back to the 2000 edition. I was quite surprised they all worked. I did try the even older 1999 edition but Vista decided it didn't like that one and said it refused to install it because it wasn't compatible. Fair enough.

Game wise I've not had chance to try much yet. I've installed Assassin's Creed, and on the XFX Radeon HD 4870 1GB graphics card it really does it justice. The graphics look amazing, and the extra particle, lighting and shadow effects DX10 add look great. The game also maxed all of it's graphical settings by default which was great to see. I've not tested the framerate in the game yet but it never stuttered or slowed down once. Very smooth. That was running at 1280x1024.

I've also switched to using an Xbox 360 gamepad with Assassin's Creed, and it is much nicer to play with that, than it was with the keyboard and mouse.

I will be installing a few more games later tonight to test it out some more. :)

So, so far I'm really liking Vista 64bit. It is a nice OS if a system is powerful enough to run it well.

17th March 2009, 15:46
Just thought of something more that might be of use to others in the future. In Vista 64bit M$ have added a different location for most of the programs run entries. The old locations in the registry still exist as any 32bit applications installing programs to run at startup will need to still add entries into those locations, but most native 64bit programs will now use this new location.

It can be found at


Thought that could be useful for some in the future if you switch to 64bit as I found it confusing when i tried to disable some startup items and only one entry was in the run entries of the registry where they used to be.