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Paul Nielsen

64-bit Rocks !

64 bit Rocks!

I’m running SQL Server Dev Edition 64-bit and loving life.

Recently I upgraded my 8 month old Dell D620 notebook to 64-bit Vista. At the same time I swapped the 7200rpm 100Gb drive for a new 7200rpm 200Gb drive ( and upped the Ram from 2Gb to 4Gb. I was astounded at how well Vista 64-bit found and installed all the right drivers.  With Vista 32-bit I lived with several small annoyances and driver incompatibilities. From my experience, Vista 64-bit is significantly smoother and more stable than Vista-32 bit, which brings me back to a suggestion I posed to the SQL Server team during PASS.

Drop 32-bit SQL Server. Except for perhaps SQL Server Express, no one who’s upgrading to Katmai for a production server needs to run on a 32-bit server any longer. 64-bit solves so many memory issues and runs so much smoother, I’m voting for 64-bit only Katmai. Comments?

Published Tuesday, October 16, 2007 9:46 AM by Paul Nielsen
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Adam Machanic said:

There are plenty of relatively beefy 32-bit servers still in production, and enterprises do not want to lose their hardware investment.  Dropping 32-bit support, while nice for those of us who have to work with the thing, would not be a good move politically...

October 16, 2007 11:39 AM

Scott Stonehouse said:

That would eliminate in-place upgrades...  

In place upgrades are not always the best route, but Microsoft will want to allow this as it's the easiest option for small shops and therefore sells more upgrades.  You want the 'barrier to entry' set as low as possible.

October 16, 2007 12:09 PM

Linchi Shea said:

In real world, we are still not in a position where 64-bit is a no-brainer choice, even on the performance consideration alone. For some workloads on some platforms, 32-bit still beats 64-bit. Testing and testing again before you commit to 64-bit would be my suggestion.

October 16, 2007 12:16 PM

andy said:

I was just considering doing the same thing on my D620, but was hesitant to make the leap.  Good to hear of someone who's done the same with good results.  

October 16, 2007 12:58 PM

Denis Gobo said:

Does SSIS work on 64 bit? I mean the tools, or do you have to develop on 32 bit and deploy to 64 bit?

October 16, 2007 1:07 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

Adam, consider these facts:

Database server adoption is typically a year or more past the release date. We all know this, but as evidence, the current issue of SQL Server Mag’s letters to the editor page is full of people complaining that Katmai is too soon, they are still upgrading to Yukon, even though Yukon has been out for almost 2 years. Therefore, most production upgrades to Katmai will take place in 2009.

For those who upgrade database platforms sooner, early adopters are typically more willing to invest in technology and are more willing to run a newer machine.  

Go to the server page. Most of their servers are already 64-bit. We’ll see two CPU generations between now and 2009. By then all new servers will be 64-bit. And many of the existing older servers will still be 64-bit.

I believe the vast majority of Katmai installations will be 64-bit. And I’d rather see the SQL Server team spend resources on tuning for 64-bit performance than spend their time supporting two code bases. It’s time to leave the 32-bit code in the dust.

October 16, 2007 2:00 PM

Denis Gobo said:

>>Therefore, most production upgrades to Katmai will take place in 2009.

Actually we are skipping 2005 (on some boxes) and going straight to SQL 2008

We were going to upgrade to 2005 in 2008 but since 2008 has the new date dataype (which will save me some bytes since our data goes back to pre 1900-01-01 and Idon't need the time portion for those billion rows)

October 16, 2007 2:08 PM

Adam Machanic said:


All I can say is, I'm glad you're not in charge of making this decision for the SQL Server team :)  I can think of a few of my clients who would absolutely not agree with your logic.

October 16, 2007 3:03 PM

dbaduck said:


How do your other applications that are 32-bit run?  Visual Studio and Office come to my mind.  Do they run OK under WOW?  I believe that Vista and SQL would run great, it is just all the other stuff that I am concerned about.

October 16, 2007 3:06 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

So far, I've run Office 2007, CCleaner, PerfectDisk, Dell Mobile Broadband Verizon Utility, VPC 64, , and SQL Server. All run great.  

What I haven't tested yet but will soon: Camtasia, Visual Source Safe, Adobe Reader, and maybe World of Warcraft

October 16, 2007 4:52 PM

Scott Stonehouse said:

Just want to confirm Paul's experience - I've been running Vista 64 at home for a few months, no problems yet.  

October 17, 2007 7:17 AM

andy said:

Paul, is Vista recognizing the full 4GB? My D620 is only showing 3326MB with x64 ultimate loaded.  

October 19, 2007 3:48 PM

dbaduck said:

My question is more around the Visual Studio 2005 and Office. So I got the confirmation on Office 2007, but would love to know experiences around Visual Studio. I will do some more searching.  I would love to go x64 on my laptop or even my desktop.

October 19, 2007 4:35 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

Hi Andy,

Even with Vista 64 and 4Gb of RAM, only 3326Mb is usable. The rest is space needed for firmware, video, etc, just like in the 286 days when a machine with 1 Mb RAM could only see/use about 640Kb of that (or 712Mb if you really tweeked your machine).

Ben,  I haven't played with VS yet. It;s on ly list. I'll keep you posted.


October 19, 2007 11:37 PM

andy said:

Thanks for the info Paul - I was a bit confused on that.  Now to get all my apps loaded and see how it runs...

October 20, 2007 6:22 AM

Paul Nielsen said:

Casmtasia, SnagIt, and Sizer all run great - 3 tools that I can't live without.

October 20, 2007 11:05 PM

Glenn Berry said:

I agree that 64-bit is the way to go for any serious, new deployment of SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008, mainly because of it's memory advantages. Pretty much any server CPU sold in the last two-three years supports x64, and Windows Server 2008 will be the last Server OS to support 32-bit.

Microsoft is pretty far into the Katmai dev cycle, so I don't see any advantage for them in dropping 32-bit for Katmai, but I think they should for Katmai +1.

October 24, 2007 10:36 PM

Paul Nielsen said:

Hi Glenn, realistically, I think you're right abotu Katmai and Katmai + 1


October 25, 2007 12:38 PM

Jonathan said:

>> Even with Vista 64 and 4Gb of RAM, only 3326Mb is usable. The rest is space needed for firmware, video, etc, just like in the 286 days when a machine with 1 Mb RAM could only see/use about 640Kb of that (or 712Mb if you really tweeked your machine).

Actually, that's not really true. When I first put 4GB in my Vista 64 machine it only showed 3326MB available, but after a little digging I found that by enabling "Hardware Memory Hole" in my BIOS that Vista was able to see the whole 4GB.

Hope this helps

November 29, 2007 11:15 PM

Dave said:

Paul or Andy,

Have you guys found a fix for the 3326MB usable ram limit on your d620? I'm thinking of upgrading to vista64 and 4 gigs too but really want the entire 4 gigs of ram usable. I use photoshop extensively and need to squeeze every bit of ram out as possible. Does Jonathan's suggestion of Hardware Memory Hole work? Thanks guys.

November 30, 2007 3:05 PM

James said:

I'm trying to install Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition on my Dell D620 but it won't even start up off the Windows Installation CD.  When I put the CD in the drive and try to open in I get the following message:

D:\ is not a valid Win32 application.

Am I missing something?  Do I need to update drivers or BIOS to install 64bit OS?

March 9, 2009 9:00 PM
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About Paul Nielsen

Paul Nielsen believes SQL is the romance language of data. As such he’s a hands-on database developer, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, trainer, and author of SQL Server Bible series (Wiley). As a data architect, he developed the concepts of Smart Database Design and Nordic – an open source O/R dbms for SQL Server. He lives in Colorado Springs.

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