Windows XP Professional x64 Edition from a Hardware Perspective
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Finally! Microsoft is going to move XP 64-bit from beta to gold! The hardware has been out for over a year, and the beta versions of XP 64-bit that DMOS previewed earlier have been around a while. Now itís time to see exactly what Microsoft has brought to the table.
Supported processors: AMD Athlon 64, AMD Opteron, Intel Xeon with Intel EM64T support, Intel Pentium 4 with Intel EM64T support
256 MB RAM
1.5 GB available hard-disk space
Super VGA (800x600) or higher resolution video card
CD-ROM or DVD drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Where to get it
Microsoft said that the 64-bit version of XP would be available to OEMís like Dell, Gateway and Alienware. For those people who have purchased a PC from and OEM like the above with an AMD Athlon 64, or other CPU with x86-64 in it, they would be able to upgrade their 32-bit version of XP to the 64-bit version for free, plus shipping. The catch is that Windows' 32-bit serial number would be voided upon installing the upgrade.
Microsoft had said the only way of getting the upgrade would be by upgrading and voiding the serial number or by purchasing a PC from a major company, such as Dell. Although, Microsoft said that retail or OEM copies would not be available, quite a few online stores have popped the 64-bit version up for sale.
Setting up the files to install was like the 32-bit version, even the same screens with no mention of 64-bit anywhere. Everything is the same as with the 32-bit. I saw the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) while installing, then I reformatted and the second time all went well. Then with a reboot I was on my way to the newest member of the Windows family.
Once inside the OS, it was time to install device drivers. This has to be the hardest part of making the jump to 64-bit. None of the 32-bit drivers will work with XP 64-bit. This meant the CD full of drivers would do me no good. To my amazement all of the drivers needed where already in XP x64. Everything was recognized and drivers were applied. I knew I could not be that lucky, there must have been half a dozen drivers for the motherboard alone that need to be installed on the 32-bit version. I rebooted and got stuck in the "repeat reboot" problem that many people are facing. After some investigation, I found out it was my SATA drivers. After downloading the newest version my motherboard drivers, all was swell.
This has to be the biggest set back of the move to 64-bit. The companies now need to rewrite every driver for 64-bit. This means that all that older hardware has little chance that you will ever see it work. You may find some beta versions around for various devices, but a great majority still go without drivers. This could have been one of the reasons why Microsoft waited so long before finalizing XP x64.
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