Beginning January 9th, 2009, Microsoft will be officially providing a beta version of Windows 7 to the first 2.5 million downloaders according to the Windows Team Blog. The download, which will be in .iso format will be available via the official Windows 7 website. Microsoft is offering 32 and 64 bit versions allowing the option for fresh installs or upgrades from Windows Vista SP1.
This is an exciting time for Windows users! I don’t remember there being this much hype for a Microsoft product for a very long time. Windows 7 has been receiving a lot of great press even on many high profile blogs. Windows 7 touts massive improvements in the usability of Microsoft’s operating system, updates and upgrades to many of the stock Windows tools and noticeable speed and performance increases.
I have been very happy using Windows Vista. I admit that I did not adopt the OS until SP1 had landed in addition to Nvidia providing stable video drivers (which were the cause of the majority of Windows crashes at that point). I love Vista, it performs and looks great but one of my biggest complaints is the way the company tried to get us to upgrade.
I am a PC gamer. Microsoft attempted to convince gamers that DirectX 10 was going to be some hot new technology that would become essential for new games. Well it wasn’t hard to read through the poor marketing ploy as game developers were brutally honest about the technology not measuring up to the hype and well, the screenshots between DX9 and DX10 didn’t look all that different! A hardware survey by Valve Software as recently as December 2008 reports 23% of gamers systems (of a sample size in the 10s of millions) being DX10 compatible.
So DX10 isn’t the revolutionary technology Microsoft told us it was, so whats the point of upgrading? A visual improvement? Not worth the cash. That was my mindset and was until I required an upgrade from my aging Pentium 4. I purchased a Q6600 with 4gbs of Ram which I got dirt cheap. I assembled the system and installed Windows. Unfortunately I forgot, a 32 bit operating system only uses up to a maximum of 4gbs of memory including system memory and memory from peripheral devices, Windows XP reported I had 2.8 gbs of ram, my video and sound card apparently using the rest. I had 1.2 gbs of ram available that was not being used by Windows. An utter waste! A 64 bit OS now all of the sudden looks appealing. Why did Microsoft not sell me on the idea of 4gbs of ram? Ram is cheap and makes my computer respond fast. Directx 10 was a scam.
Long story short, XP 64 is a compatibility nightmare. Vista 64 is great but expensive as hell. But wait, what is this problem of 64 bit versions of drivers not being available? This is the CURRENT operating system! Why is Dlink, Creative and other big name manufacturers skimping out on 64 bit drivers when they are essential to for my new computer and operating system?
Here is my rant: If Windows Vista was shipped as a 64 bit OS only, it would have forced hardware manufacturers to either release an updated 64 bit version of their drivers or not support the new OS at all. The system requirements for Windows Vista clearly require a 64 bit capable processor. Have you ever seen one user using Vista on a 32 bit only machine? If so I want pics!
Releasing a 64 bit only version of the OS would have eliminated this half-way support manufacturers are doing now. “Well, we support Windows Vista but only the 32 bit version”. Screw you Dlink and Creative. Guess who isn’t buying anything from you again.
Why is Microsoft making the same mistake with Windows 7? What happens if drivers do not get 64 bit versions again! I want all my hardware available in this new OS that appears to be great (I will try it Saturday). If I am willing to pay for Windows 7, I better not have to buy new hardware.
Microsoft is pushing the Games for Windows series. Wouldn’t standardizing 64 bit architecture open up new possibilities for all game developers? Instead of some shops like Crytek which offered 64 bit versions of the original Crysis for a short while experimenting and poorly supporting 64 bit the executables? Wouldn’t it be nice to have all game developers utilizing my new hardware instead of a few just testing the waters?
I for one am very disappointed that 32 bit versions are being offered for download. I genuinely hope that Microsoft does not offer 32 bit versions of Windows 7 when it is released later this year. I hope that you all will join me in protesting Windows 7 32 bit and join in the movement to standardize the next Microsoft Windows 64 bit operating system.