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Should I Wait For 64 Bit?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by WERA49, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. WERA49


    Jul 26, 2003
    I'm thinking of buying a new computer. I don't buy them very often. Upgrades are too expensive. This one has been upgraded substantially, but I'm still running Windows 98.

    I don't want to buy a 32-Bit at the end of it's life cycle. I'd rather buy a 64-bit at the beginning and ride that out for many years.

    My computer requirements are basic. I tinker with digital photography. I'm looking for Photoshop to help that.

    What do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. JMag


    Feb 7, 2001
    USA:Love it or leave!
    I'm running an Athlon 64 (64-bit capable)but 32-bit Windows XP. You can, I understand, download a 64-bit version of Windows from Microsoft. I'm not sure of the support. Check it out.

  3. fastvfr

    fastvfr Ancient Tech

    Mar 28, 2001
    SW Oregon
    An Athlon 64 FX-53 would do you just fine. FX-55 is better, though. Duh.

    Make sure you get at least 1024MB of fast DDR PC3200 RAM with it...2048MB would be plenty.

    FYI, the 64-bit AMD CPU's are showing better gains in games than they are showing in video encoding and whatnot, since the Pentium is still the multi-tasking champ.

    There will be a small advantage in encoding times with the Intel proc, but only like 15 to 20 minutes of a 2 to 3 hour job...whereas the Intel won't run 64-bit code.

    So go with the AMD CPU and an nVidia chipset. Make sure that the PC you get has a very powerful brand-name PSU installed, as the fast AMD's are rather finicky about clean power with little noise.

    Are you planning on building one yourself? I suggest that you do; it isn't hard at all, and we can help you if you run into problems.

    Good luck!
  4. briantf


    Mar 26, 2002
    First off, the AMD Windows XP 64-bit Edition is XP Professional ONLY, will be available around March, and is only available for the AMD64/EMT64 platform, as the Itanium port has been cancelled. It will ship simultaneously with Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.

    Secondly, if you're interested in digital photography, look into a package like PaintShop Pro (~$100), not Photoshop (~$600). Photoshop was all there was ten years ago, but is not appropriate for even serious home users (or the vast majority of business users either). Unless you have a need for camera ready copy on 4 color separations, have an optical color calibrator ($275 and up) and are shooting (pictures) for coffee table publications, you ought not bother with Photoshop.

    Thirdly, if you are interested in 64-bit platforms, the AMD is far superior to the Intel EMT64 in every respect, and destroys the existing 32-bit Pentium 4 mess at less cost. Intel has decided to scrap the P4 core and drop back to an updated P3 core. The Centrino is a P3 core optimized for power usage and cranks out far more processing power per clock cycle than the P4 does, which is why Intel is changing directions. They've wasted upwards of $6B dollars and now are having to follow AMD's lead. Ouch.

    The AMD64 has the memory controller on the processor itself, which allows hugely greater memory throughput. It also allows glueless multi-processor configurations, but that's mostly important for server platforms, not (most) workstations.

    That said, the next version of Windows XP (currently called Longhorn) is at least a year off, will run great on an AMD64 3000 with 512 MB of RAM, and a decent video card on a PCI-Express bus (not AGP). You can spend more money as you see fit with incremental additions to that specification, as long as you start with the proper basics. There is a drastic price increase going to an AMD64 3800 with no corresponding increase in performance, and negligible benefit for any professional graphics designer, let alone a serious digital photographer.

    Unfortunately, Dell doesn't yet produce AMD64 systems; I would suggest holding out until after the first of the year to see if they decided to produce them. Other than Dell, HP has a nice range of AMD64 boxes at reasonable prices, and they should suffice for your needs. When WinXP64 ships, your manufacturer will be able to get you an upgrade for $30 or so. Keep in mind the benefits of 64-bitness on the desktop are miniscule, so the fact that the AMD64 platform runs 32-bit Windows and Windows applications extremely well is very important.

    Hope this helps.
  5. WERA49


    Jul 26, 2003
    Guys, thanks for the responses and information.

    I'm not opposed to building a computer. However, I've learned that software is critical. The OEM's offer software upgrades for reasonable amounts. A few years ago I went to buy Microsoft Excel and Power Point. (IIRC, they're included in MS Office). Anyway, the software was $500! We can usually upgrade to better software for $130, or so.

    That makes sense to me. This computer is okay for now. Fortunately, I have time.

    You guys are great! I learn something every time I visit this area. :)

    Merry Christmas!
  6. Sinister Angel

    Sinister Angel I'd Hit It!

    Oct 11, 2004
    Traverse City, Michigan
    Actually, Openoffice has a suite that works just fine for me, and beats out office in price by far, to the tune of it's FREE. I'd be willing to say that openoffice would be good for 90% of home users. Plus the files themselves are smaller. Why? Because they are really zipped up XML files. Damn it's a beautiful thing :cool:

    Er... back on topic..
  7. JMag


    Feb 7, 2001
    USA:Love it or leave!
    Open source OpenOffice is a good thing. Love it.