I was pretty surprised when we gave out Windows Vista Software at a recent event and the audience was "disappointed" that it was not a 64 bit version of the OS. I do not know how may questions and emails I got about it but it was easily in the hundreds. Though I am running on almost all of my machines the x64 version of Vista (and running x64 on most servers) I was surprised that the demand was so high for x64. I guess the rest of the world has now figured out how much better 64 bit is over 32 bit. In addition to running considerably faster, you get the benefit of being able to address memory greater than 4gb. Now that most manufacturers make laptops that are 64 bit ready and can address more than 4gb of memory, we can do so much more so much faster.
I have found that many are now talking about it. PCStats shares that it is the new "standard" rather than the newest thing. Ed Bott of ZDNet says tide seems to have shifted dramatically. And now all that attended recent events from Microsoft can deploy the x64 version of windows Vista it is much easier to get started. There are plenty of benchmarks out there comparing 32 and 64 bit computing workloads on the same hardware. The bottom line is 64 bit is faster and more secure. Even the most reserved are showing improvements. So how do you make the decision to move to the x64 bit platform? Everywhere I turn people are raving about Vista and x64. Take a look at what the formost expert on Windows Paul Thurrott has to say about Vista x64...
"You've come a long way, baby
My, what a difference a year makes. Whereas the x64 versions of Vista were essentially non-starters a year ago for all but the most technical users, a huge amount of compatibility issues have since been fixed, making it far more of a mainstream solution."
If you see yourself in the future wanting to increase your memory to exceed 4gb it is a no brainer. You can't get there from here in a 32bit world. If you want to squeek the most power you can get out of your box then you should move to x64. Chances are if you bought your hardware in the last couple years (unless it was a low end machine) you likely have the option of loading either 32 or 64 bit OS. So contact your hardware manufacturer or look it up on their website to see if it is capable of running x64. If it is, then go for it. You might also want to look around to see what peripherals you have that you need to connect with to make sure drivers are available. If your printer at home is a 5 year old inkjet, then you may not be able to use that... Don't forget to check the components that you do not use all the time (Scanner and Air Card) to make sure there are drivers for those as well. With the vast improvement of driver support over the last couple years, you will likely be happily surprised that you can make the leap now. Once you get your machine up and running x64, make sure you test all your applications (just in case) in preparation for rolling it out to your power users and then all users. Once you experience it, you will want to roll it out!
PS. My production latop is a Lenovo T61p and I have had absolutely no trouble with it running in an x64 environment. I sent Paul a tip on how to fix his one problem with his Lenovo. Success is all about the drivers... Happy to show you my stability event tracker at our next face to face meeting!