September 2005 - Posts
Version 5 of Cakewalk’s SONAR audio processing and mixing software will shortly be available from music retailers and registered users can order their upgrade direct from Cakewalk now.
Why should we care in the x64 world? Well, this whitepaper on Cakewalk’s experiences when they first played around with x64 should be informative. Because of the improved efficiency of the x64 architecture, with it’s larger and wider registers and floating point improvements, substantial increases in speed were found even when the overall application wasn’t memory constrained.
A reliable report on the Windows 64 Bit Newsgroup has the Linksys WUSB54G adapter, version 4, working in x64 Edition. This version of the adapter uses the Ralink chipset and Ralink has been very good about drivers. Also listed in the .INF file for that driver are:
Amigo_1, Amigo_2 and Amigo_3
MSI: m2500usb_6861, m2500usb_6865, m2500usb_6869
ASUS USB and ASUSGEN USB
At least in the case of the Linksys, however, it’s very much buyer beware. Earlier versions of this adapter used a different chipset and it’s difficult if not impossible from the outside of the box to tell which version you are buying.
Many users on the Windows 64–bit newsgroup have reported problems with getting Windows XP Professional x64 Edition to boot from the latest NVidia drivers. (Why am I not surprised? NVidia has been a nightmare for x64 Edition users!) Recently, a user who has had nothing but problems with the newer drivers reports that he has had excellent success with an older set that is on PlanetAMD64. The drivers are from May, and appear to be version 6.56, and are boot floppy drivers only. Find them here: http://www.planetamd64.com/index.php?download=266
Note: PlanetAMD64 requires a free registration, but they’re still the best source for x64 drivers out there, so just do the registration. Personally, I wish they didn’t require it for simple downloads, but they do, so there it is.
At PDC last week, Microsoft released the first beta of their new entry in the High Performance Computing arena – Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Solution. Running only on x64 architecture computers, this solution combines a special edition of Windows Server 2003, the Compute Cluster Edition, with management and networking technologies to enable powerful HPC applications to run on commodity hardware. Cool stuff — with a hardware investment of about $4k (USD), you can put 10GFlops worth of compute cluster on your desktop. The equivalent processing power of a $40,000,000 (USD) Cray supercomputer of the early 90’s.
Well, I may not be able to run my Media Center Edition in x64 yet, but it turns out that the latest release of Tivo software(TiVo Desktop 2.2) works just fine on Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and I can happily play shows I’ve recorded on my TiVo in Windows Media Player 10. Oh, and copy videos down to the TiVo to play on the TV as well. Cool. Now, Microsoft — where’s my MCE?!
It looks like Dell is dropping their Itanium line of servers. According to a CNet Article, Dell is transitioning their Itanium server line to Xeon EM64T (x64) based servers.
Dell was never a big seller of Itanium servers, but this can’t be good news for the brand.
Realtek has released new drivers for the AC97 chipset that is on many 64 bit motherboards.
There are both a released version and a beta version available currently.
Many users on the public 64bit Windows newsgroup, and on the forums at PlanetAMD64.com are reporting problems with Windows XP Professional x64 Edition not shutting down properly. The reports say that it gets to the all blue screen and just hangs. Only a power off reboot corrects the problem. In comparing the systems of those experiencing the problem, all of them are running Avast! as an Anti-Virus program. At least one user reports having the problem on one of two machines, with the other working correctly. Both are running Avast! And, finally, one user just reported that updating his BIOS to a later version solved the problem. Clearly there’s a problem with Avast! on some machines, but not all, and if you do have the problem, try checking for a BIOS update. It may help.
Author of >25 books on computers, operating systems and enterprise environments
Unfortunately, you can’t transfer the files that are on your existing computer that is running a 32–bit version of Windows XP by using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard (FSTW) that came with either your 32–bit Windows XP or the new Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. They simply won’t work across the platform boundary. Fortunately, Microsoft has released a newer version that will work to transfer the files off of your 32–bit version of Windows. You then use the native one on x64 Windows to read in the files and settings. To get the updated FSTW, see MS Knowledge Base Article 896344.
Update: An excellent article on the User State Migration Tool (the corporate version of the FSTW) is online now at: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=911814
We’ve seen a number of issues with apparent RAM problems on the 64bit newsgroup and these can be frustrating and difficult to troubleshoot, as I know all too well from my own experiences. There are two utilities that I know about that do thorough memory testing and are free – Microsoft’s own Windows Memory Diagnostic, and Memtest86 which is Open Source and distributed under the GPL. I’m sure there are others, but these are two that I know about and that I’ve heard good reports on.
If you’re experiencing random crashes, or file copy errors, or any sort of unexplainable error, running a quick memory test is not a bad idea. Especially if you’re over-clocking or otherwise pushing the limits. By downloading one of these utilities ahead of time, and burning it to a bootable CD or floppy, you’re prepared should you have problems. And if it doesn’t find anything wrong – good. Now you can move on to identify the real problem. But at least you’ll know it wasn’t bad RAM.
Thanks to mirko, on the 64bit newsgroup, I’ve found a really useful page that lists the current status of drivers for Epson products. You won’t easily find this on the US site, by the way. The page is Epson KB050135EN. I don’t have any Epson products, and I’m not sure if this list is complete, but it certainly seems pretty comprehensive. If your model is there, you’ll at least know what the status is for drivers. And it looks like Epson have recently released a wave of x64 drivers, so if you looked earlier and couldn’t find a driver for your printer or other device, it’s time for another check.