by Harrison Malley with Chicago IT Trend Setters, LLC
It's clear that Windows
XP Professional x64 Edition will provide the necessary support for the 64 bit applications, but it will
take another year for their appearance. Until then, those who'll chose to install this version of Windows will have to run
So the next question arises: Is it worth it to install the 64-bit Windows and give
up your old Windows XP? To answer this question, we have put
together a test, whose main objective was to identify if the performances of the Windows x64 are better than the ones of Windows
Test configuration and benchmarks
The systems used for testing on which we have
successively installed Windows XP SP 2 and Windows XP x64 Professional Edition was provided by Senorg Romania
configuration of the test system:
- ABIT AN8 Socket 939 with nForce 4 chipset motherboard
- AMD Athlon 64
bit 3000+ boxed processor, cooler included
- 512 MB RAM Kingston Dual Channel 400 MHz
- SATA Western Digital 120
GB hard disk
- ATI Radeon X700 PCI Express cu 256 MB RAM GDDR3 ABIT video card
- DVD-RW Lite-ON optical device
- 350 W power source
- Eizo 1280x1024@85 Hz monitor
For the motherboard,
the following drivers were used: nForce 6.53 for Windows x32 and nForce 6.39 for Windows x64, being the last available versions
from Nvidia when this test was done.
The driver for the ATI Radeon X700 video card was Catalyst Center 4.5, available
on the ATI site both for Windows XP Professional Edition and Windows XP x64 Professional Edition.
The operating systems were Windows XP Professional Edition SP2 and Windows XP x64 Professional Edition
SP1 build 1433.
The following benchmarks were used:
Sandra 2005 Professional Edition, both 32-bit and 64-bit
3D Mark 2005 1.20
ScienceMark 2005, both 32-bit and 64-bit
Chronicles of Riddick : Escape from Butchers Bay, both 32-bit and 64-bit bit
For both operating systems the size of the partition was 120 GB and it was created with Windows's
installing routine, the hard disk was completely formatted before the installing of Windows XP x64.
For both systems,
the size of the swap file was set double than the installed RAM, and the graphical interface was set to minimum, by choosing
the Adjust for best performance from Performance Options, Visual Effects.
The resolution of the monitor was set
to 1024x768@100Hz, except for the game which was tested at: 800x600, 1024x768 and 1280x1024, at a refresh rate of 85 Hz.
For both operating systems, DirectX 9.0c was installed and the Windows Firewall was activated.
The installation routine of the Windows XP Professional is known by all users and the one for Windows
x64 is not much different, the steps taken being similar. The only noticeable difference is represented by Microsoft's messages
which outline the importance of the new operating system and the advantages
of the 64-bit technology.
Installing the S-ATA hard disk didn;t require the floppy with drivers as for the 32
bit Windows XP. The setup program had the driver necessary for the S-ATA controller and the procedure was greatly simplified.
The graphical interface is almost identical to the one of the Windows XP and the only difference noticed by the user
will be the presence of the 64-bit Internet Explorer in the Start menu.
If the installation procedure for motherboard
and video card drivers were not a problem, installing older equipment could be a problem, the 32 bit drivers being incompatible
with the new operating system. So before installing the new operating system, make sure you find drivers on the producers
sites, even beta versions, because otherwise you will be forced to give up on some components.
Briefly, the migration
from Windows x32 to x64 doesn't require you to accommodate with the new graphical interface, but the fact that a series of
programs don't have 64 bit versions could cause serious problems.
For example, you might have to give up your
favorite antivirus and to choose between Avast Antivirus 4.5 and McAfee Enterprise 8.0i, the only programs with 64 bit versions.
It is expected that once the Windows XP x64 is officially released, the majority of producers will start releasing 64 bit
versions for their programs, so you don�t have a lot to wait.
Installing Daemon Tools or any other program
for mounting CD or DVD images proved to be a total failure.
TESTS AND RESULTS
SiSoftware Sandra 2005 Professional Edition
The first test program
installed and run was SiSoftware Sandra 2005 Professional Edition. The installation procedure allowed choosing between the
32-bit and 64-bit versions, so there were no problems at the installation.
Among the modules offered by SiSoftware
Sandra 2005 Professional Edition, the following tests have been made:
CPU Arithmetic Benchmark
File System Benchmark
Memory Bandwith Benchmark
For each system, the following results were
INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS:
SR1 was installed on the Windows XP 64 bit in the optimized version for AMD64. It seems the optimization led to a significant
increase, especially in the non accelerated arithmetic tests. The differences between the SSE2 accelerated tests, the hard
disk test or the memory bandwidth test (also SSE2 accelerated) are insignificant.
Mark 2005 1.20
Even though 3D Mark doesn�t have a 64-bit version, its installing
went along without problems. On Windows x32 it ran without any problems, but on Windows x64, until we deleted the pcibus.sys
file, installed in the driver section, it refused to start.
For testing, 3D Mark 2005 was configured in two ways
for both operating systems.
The first time it was run without the Anti Aliasing option and with Texture Filtering set
to Optimal the default settings of the program.
The second time, the Anti Aliasing option was set to 6 sample AA,
and for Texture Filtering it was chosen the Anisotropic setting.
The initial resolution 1024x768@85Hz was unchanged
for both tests.
INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS
As you can see, in both tests
(with the initial settings, respectively with AA 6X) the system behaved similarly, the differences being insignificant. Although
Windows XP 64 bit is at the beta version and the drivers for 64 bits are new, the system was stable and it performed well.
It should be mentioned that 3DMark05 doesn't have an executable optimized for AMD64. The fact that the score is not different
from the one obtained by Windows 32 is worth taking into consideration.
Science Mark 2005, one of the most precise benchmark programs, stretches the hardware resources
to the maximum in order to obtain accurate results. It is based on the correct identification of the CPU and the efficient
usage of its extensions during the test.
It's worth mentioning that the 64 bit version of the Science Mark was in the
Beta stage, but is dated the same as the final 32 bit version: March 21, 2005.
The operating frequency of the processor was identified as 1808 MHz, the 32
bit version adding 0.34 MHz compared to the 64 bit one.
|32 bit |
L1 BW: 20728.01 MB/s
L2 BW: 6573.76 MB/s
Mem BW: 4958.26 MB/s
Cipher Benchmark: 15.13797 seconds.
AES Encryption (Rijndael): 100.80 MB/s
The majority of tests for the cache memory didn�t run on 32 bit 6 out 13 tests
were performed. The results for those that did run, for L1 or L2, were clearly smaller than the ones performed for 64 bit.
For the memory test, 4 tests didnt run on 64 bits. The results are again favorable to Windows 64.
The result of
the AES computation is almost unreal, but we repeated the tests 5 times and the result was always the same.
CipherBench is not supported in 64-bit mode. Running AES returns an incorrect result, that is impossibly too
fast. This will be remedied in a future version
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butchers Bay is a new game, with an engine that sucks the
life out of your system and is comfortable only on medium to high-end configurations. It also one of the few games that has
an executable optimized for AMD64, and that is why we chose this game for our test.
To use the game as a benchmark,
we had to record a demo (the game doesnt have its own demo for included benchmark) which was run afterwards from the console
with the time demo command.
Average: 18.66, Min: 7.39, Max: 97.66
1280x1024 Average: 12.00, Min: 4.68, Max: 96.42
Average: 16.56, Min: 8.23, Max: 28.22
1280x1024 Average: 11.23, Min: 6.42, Max: 20.54
The average values were close, with the 64 bit Windows XP being behind XP 32. At higher resolutions,
the difference was smaller. Very interesting is the huge difference between maximum values. One could conclude that the variations
between minimum and maximum of the 64 bit version are very close, which would mean a high number of frames even in complex
scenes; or, the number of frames is reported incorrectly.
optimized for 64 bits is executed much faster, but the SSE 2 optimized one is constant. 3D applications don't benefit from
the migration from 32 bit to 64 bit, probably because of the GPU. The 64 bit video drivers didn't improve significantly the
performance, but didn't decrease it either.
In this moment, Windows XP 64 bits is not an option for AMD 64 owners.
The incompatibility with 32 bit programs is one of the problems of Windows XP 64 bits. For programmers things are different,
the compiling of the programs being done much faster.
The optimization for 64 bits is clearly a step forward, but
momentarily, the only benefit you can obtain by installing this operating system is the possibility of administering more
than 4 GB of RAM.
The test pointed out that as long as there isn't a wide range of 64 bit applications, migrating
from Windows x32 to Windows x64 is not yet justified, the complications regarding drivers and incompatibility being major