x64 Computing on Campus

One of our OU Administrators was recently asking for feedback on using 64 bit versions of Windows. From what I have read it seems that x64 computing has truly arrived and I thought it was worth sharing my experiences with the 64-bit version of Windows Vista.

Previously use of Windows XP x64 edition and even Vista x64 to some extent was restricted to a handful of users with special hardware and dependant on special or modified versions of software and drivers.
This is certainly no longer the case (at least in my experience). I’ve been running Windows Vista x64 on a HP xw4600, Core 2 Quad with 8GB RAM and have never seen anything like it!

The performance increase given by the extra 4GB RAM which x64 allows is immense. I am able to run multiple Virtual machines 1 or more GB of RAM each without any noticeable reduction in performance.

I’ve also had no issues with mainstream software compatibility, Vista x64 seems to take running x86 applications in its stride. The software I am running includes Adobe Flash Player , 7-Zip, Adobe Reader, Apple QuickTime, Office 2007, Shockwave, ServiceCenter, Paint.NET, VMWare Workstation and CDBurnerXP.

Paul Thurrott wrote an interesting article describing his good experiences with Vista x64 nearly a year ago and there is little doubt that things have improved even more since then.

If you or any of your users need high performance computing then I would say that Vista x64 is a safe bet. The current low memory prices may also mean that existing x64 capable hardware with less than 4GB and x86 operating systems may be candidates for upgrade.


Everything Must Go!

Rather than email campus-support every time we have some new equipment to trickle down we’ve created a web page (see campus-support for URL) for *server room* and general equipment.

Desktops\cluster room equipment will still be trickled down in the usual fashion.

The page will be updated as new equipment becomes available so you may wish to bookmark it.

In the spirit of green IT I’m happy to add any surplus equipment from departments too, just let me know.

The Ultimate Steal returns

In addition to last year’s offering, Microsoft now give you the option to buy Visio and a Windows upgrade to Vista Ultimate.

The Ultimate Steal

By visiting www.theultimatesteal.co.uk, and confirming your identity as a student or member of staff with your university email address, you can purchase and download Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate Edition for only £38.95 – saving over 90%!

The offer is available from now until the end of June 2009.

Google join the browser race

Following on the heels of last week’s release of Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, Google has launched a beta of its own browser, called Chrome, for Windows. So far it looks like a very good first entry into the market and while there are issues with some types of multimedia content (the Silverlight site says it’s not compatible) and some sites don’t work because they don’t recognise the user agent string, it’s definitely worth a look.


Addendum: Check out the comments regarding the unusual install location. The way it’s installed means you can just move the Chrome folder and you’ve got a portable app! 🙂