Aside from the long-running Longhorn project, Microsoft’s XP Professional x64 Edition continues to be one of the most closely watched releases by the enthusiast community. The install base of X86-64 compatible processors is rising every day, and the technology is now available to system buyers at almost every price point. We’ve been promised all along that our Athlon64 / Opteron processors will flourish when used with a 64-bit operating system, but to this day, almost all users are stuck using a 32-bit operating system. While 64-bit Linux variants been available for well over a year now, a 64-bit version of Windows is what AMD needs to show the world that their 64-bit performance claims were grounded in reality.
We’ve been tracking the progress of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition since late in 2003, when we tested their first public build (1039) which was released in a pre-beta state. We’ve since followed up with reports of their later public builds, 1069 and 1218, both of which saw the operating system making huge strides in terms of stability, driver support, and software compatibility. While the operating system has been progressing nicely, the constant delays are enough to make anyone lose hope of a final release. We were beginning to think that the operating system would ever see the light of day, as we are now entering 2005 without a final copy in our hands and without a firm release date.
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I’m still in a tugg of war here, whether I should go for a Tablet PC or 64 Bit system. Writing on a computer is very exciting compared to an OS such as 64 Bit XP that is no different from its 32 bit counter part. Plus, the existence of incompatibility is still there, and I’m really afraid of that. We just have to wait and see, but I think a lot of existing 64 bit PC owners will acquire the OS just to see if they will get any extra performance boost and benefits our of their hardware purchases.