Mar 6, 2006

Who wants or needs 64 bits?

Source: CNET
Written by Michael Kanellos

It looks like the world isn’t clamoring for 64-bit desktops just yet.

Nearly two and a half years have passed since 64-bit processors started going into PCs. But the software to take full advantage of these chips remains scarce, and customers aren’t buying much of what’s out there. The 64-bit chips provide greater performance than their older 32-bit counterparts, but that’s because of speed upgrades and other architectural enhancements.

Except for a few workstation users, almost no one is getting much from the 64-bitness of these computers.

“Sixty-four bit is sellable as bigger, faster, but in terms of what it does for you, there is very little at the moment,” said Roger Kay, president of analyst firm Endpoint Technologies Associates.

The dearth can be seen in a lot of ways. Microsoft released a 64-bit version of Windows for desktops last May but has sold few copies, according to analysts. A site created by Advanced Micro Devices, the biggest proponent of 64-bit desktops, lists only six games tweaked for 64-bit computing and one partial upgrade.

Dell sells 64-bit Windows as an option on two workstations and on a corporate desktop, but not on notebooks or any consumer PCs. Hewlett-Packard sells it as an option on workstations only. Lenovo offers it if a customer requests it. Gateway doesn’t offer 64-bit software on its PCs with 64-bit chips at all.

Instead, most PC makers and software developers will wait until Vista, the next version of Windows

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