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64 Bit: The best $300 (or less!) you can spend this year?

I’ve had some more thoughts on the ideas of 64bit and it’s value in light of this poor economy.  I mean what’s the point of talking about 64bit if you can’t actually use it?  With that in mind, I set out to see how much moving to 64bit on the PC platform would actually cost the average consumer.

If you’re interested in the original article on 64bit, you can read it here.

In the other article, I outlined what the compelling performance and time saving advantages that a 64bit OS offers users.  It also referenced some actual, real-world time savings tests that were conducted by Event DV writer Jan Ozer.  In most cases, the results were 50% performance increases or better.

So, if you’re a PC user and your system is good enough to run Vista 64 here’s the breakdown for you. 

Vista 64 Ultimate is only $219 as an upgrade for existing Windows user – That’s really not too bad right?  Add to that, 8GB of memory and you’re off to the races.  Now, there’s the really good news – memory is CHEAP!  To illustrate this, check out this link on current memory prices.  8GB of memory obviously varies based on what type of memory your motherboard receives, but on average, 4GB of memory can be around $40.00 per stick and so 8GB can be about $80 or LESS.  Not bad, right?

Therefore, moving to Vista64 with an adequate amount of memory becomes a $300 proposition.  Given the performance benefits that this delivers, it almost becomes a question of whether you can afford not to?  This is where I would appreciate your comments.

I know that someone might say that XP performs better than Vista 64 and this link would tend to agree, but I have to say that Vista and ultimately Windows 7 are the future and so XP will continue to recede.  In addition, I’m sure Microsoft will continue to develop performance increases over time.  And if that weren’t enough, as we move from 4 to 8 to 16 cores, doesn’t this become a moot issue?

And lest you think that this is all about the PC platform, let me recap the Mac solution as it stands today. Leopard has big chunks of 64bit built into the OS already and Production Premium CS4 supports 3.5GB per processor core, so in some ways, the value proposition is even less expensive for Mac users assuming they are already on Leopard (OS X 10.5).

What do you think?


I’ve been running CS4 Master Collection on a Q6600 (Core 2 Quad) with 8GB RAM on Windows 7 Beta and it is very fast. CS4 works fine on Windows 7 Beta despite some GUI bugs.

[DR – great news. Obviously, I am not advocating everyone run out and try the Windows 7 beta, but early indications are that Windows 7 will be a winner OS and that is good news for content creators everywhere. Thanks for the input and comments Nick.]

I agree… it is cheap to go that route, but if I am gonna make an upgrade, buy new RAM and all that… i am going to wait until I can upgrade my motherboard to a Dual Quad Core processor motherboard.

[DR – Hi Topher, thanks for your comments. I think you miss the essence of what I’m saying. I’m making an assumption that you have a decent computer or better and that we’re all looking for an inexpensive way to really improve our performance out of Adobe CS4. To that end, $300 will deliver that. If you take a new mobo, new CPU’s, etc., you’re basically buying a new system. Would that be better – you bet! My point though is that a few $$$ can go a long way in improving performance for CS4.

Check out Topher’s tutorials BTW…]

Very interesting. I still have 32-bit Vista on my desktop and would love to upgrade. One of the things that have been holding me back is a worry about hardware compatibility. I admit that I haven’t spent the time to make sure my video card, processor, etc. are compatible, but just the possibility seems to be a barrier to entry for me.

I have a 2 or 3 year old computer and at this point it seems worthwhile to put that $300 toward a new computer that would sport a quad-core (instead of dual-core) processor.

As usual, food for thought, though.


[DR – Brian, you bring up a very good point in terms of hardware support. It does require a little bit of research, but I think that’s a fairly straightforward process and it seems that MOST (but not all) hardware is compatible for Vista.

To me though, the benefits are worth the investment in time (and possibly $300). Thanks for your comment.]

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