Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 has been released! As of this moment, you get pick up SP1 from Windows Update; MSDN Subscribers can also download the full version of the OS with SP1 built in… in addition to this, the 64-bit version of Windows has been shipped. For Windows Server, this is the 64-bit edition – one for AMD and one for Intel – in the form of 2003 with SP1, and there’s also a new Windows Client version: Windows XP Profession 64-bit edition (which includes SP2).
I’ve yet to play with the Intel 64-bit CPU, but I have toyed with an AMD 64-bit system, and I have to admit that I was impressed. Actually, I accidentally installed a 32-bit version of Windows on it the first time, and it installed just fine… I realized that I had oops’d and repaved it with an RC of Server, and that too went on without a hitch… gotta admit that having a x86 core is a useful thing… and in addition to that, the 64-bit OS felt faster on the box.
I remember well the migration from 16-bit to 32-bit, Back in the Day, but seems to be different. First off, when Windows went from 16-bit to 32-bit the entire UI shifted with it, so it was extremely hard on developers: if you wanted the newer controls, you ruled out 16-bit support, and it took time for people to upgrade their OS’s. Remember Win32s? *shiver* And then there was the speed of the machines at the time… people instinctively think “oh, 32-bit is faster than 16-bit” but that’s crap. Better? Sure, but how does better imply faster? You’re moving twice as much data per grab and you’re asking the machine to do it for you. Add to that the new features of the new UI (think Windows 95 versus Windows 3.11) and it would start to task the system… that doesn’t seem to be the case here – I think the chips are designed to handle the new 64-bit load.
With the 32-bit to 64-bit migration, the same UI is being used this go-around, so it’s an easier process for everyone involved. Also, the 64-bit version of Windows support Windows-32-on-Windows-64 (WOW64) which allows 32-bit applications to run on the 64-bit platform. In addition to that, there’s the whole notion of the .NET Framework: install the 64-bit framework and do 32-bit apps work? I have no idea, but I’m hoping so! If anything, 32-bit apps should always thunk down via WOW64. What I also know is that there’s now a reason to buy an AMD or Intel 64-bit chip…
Assuming I was planning on upgrading right now – while I am due for a desktop update, I have no desire to do so – but it might be something to consider after I boost a mini.