The tide has turned for 64-bit editions of Windows Vista. Despite a slow debut among the enthusiast and developer communities, Vista x64 is now making some serious headway, according to a post on the official Windows Vista Team Blog.
Microsoft's Chris Flores doesn't just base that observation on a gut feeling—he has plenty of statistics to support it. Looking at the number of PCs connected to Windows Update, Flores says the installed base of 64-bit Vista systems "has more than tripled in the U.S. in the last three months." Overall, 20% of new Vista systems that signed on to Windows Update in the United States this June were 64-bit, up from a paltry 3% in March. And it's not just North America—Vista x64 uptake has also "more than doubled" worldwide over the last three months.
Why are these changes occurring now? Flores points in part to falling memory prices, which makes a whole lot of sense. Looking at our system guides, coupling the $1,000 Grand Experiment build with 2GB of memory cost around $80 in July 2007, while we can now outfit that build with 4GB of slightly faster RAM for the same price. PC makers have seized the opportunity to do the same in a growing number of consumer system—and utilizing all of that memory pretty much mandates a 64-bit OS.