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Wadmodder Shalton

Microsoft Windows 11 confirmed exclusive to 64-bit CPUs.

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We are all aware that Windows 11 will be released in Late-2021, but there is a price to this. In order to upgrade to Windows 11, you permanently need a 64-bit CPU and other 64-bit hardware to comply to the upgrade path to the OS itself.

 

There won't be a 32-bit edition to Microsoft Windows anymore starting with Windows 11, and there isn't any support for 32-bit IA-32 processors anymore anyways, though 32-bit programs will still be compatible with the OS with some minor compatibility issues.

 

This is the first time in that Windows has dropped support for older processors since the beginning of Windows NT becoming consumer friendly with the release of XP and the discontinuation of the Windows 9x family of operating systems.

 

Though this wasn't the first time support for 32-bit CPUs was dropped in Microsoft Windows, that was with the server operating system side of the OS with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 back in 2009 where that server OS only supported 64-bit processors. So therefore, this is the second time this has been put into place, this time on the consumer operating system side of the OS.

 

Also, because Windows 11 is now a 64-bit exclusive OS, this will also mark the discontinuation of the NTVDM component used in the 32-bit versions of the Windows NT operating system family, though fortunately DOSBox & OTVDM (aka WineVDM) have filled those gaps regarding compatibility for MS-DOS games & software for the former, and Windows 3.1 games & software for the latter, so not all is lost anyways.

 

What are your opinions on this topic? Feel free to provide thoughts & comments on this discussion.

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at the moment im seeing no reason for win 10 users to upgrade to 11

 

11 is more bloated it has even less legacy software support and i dont think the hud changes are enough for people to upgrade but i guess there is hype for win 11

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Microsoft previously supported the Itanium processor in Windows from 2001 until 2010, and has dropped support from it since Windows Server 2012.

 

Also, since few of you ever heard about OTVDM/WineVDM, here's a video of the program in action:

 

We all know that DOSBox has filled the gap for playing old MS-DOS games & software for years, and that digital distribution stores have used it to rerelease old games since the late-2000s.

 

Now all we need is to see digital distribution stores (like Steam or GOG) doing the same thing with Windows 3.1-era games & software via OTVDM/WineVDM.

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I'm just going to get TaskbarX and a discount Apple wallpaper. Badaboom, vanilla Windows 11

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9 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

I agree that being chained to 32 bit forever is bad and stifles progress, but the idea that relying on 16 bit applications is a “personal problem” is silly and dismissive. Some programs that were developed in the 16 bit era have simply not been properly replaced and numerous government agencies and businesses still rely on them (you may say that’s silly, and I’d agree, but it’s still true). 

 

This isn’t an argument to chain newer OSes to dated processors though, just a point that accurate emulation of older environments isn’t some little personal problem restricted to one or two lunatics who still primarily use DOS, it’s actually important for many reasons and to many people. I’m not sure why people are generally dismissive of using older software because a replacement - especially a better version - often doesn’t exist.

to be fair the goverments and the companies using the 16 bit aplications are also the same ones using old operating systems like windows xp or older

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Very true, and you know all that ancient hardware has gotta be close to dying at some point - so emulation of older OSes is actually super important if they want to salvage their existing data and/or transition to newer machines, which they will simply have to at some point.

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2 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

Very true, and you know all that ancient hardware has gotta be close to dying at some point - so emulation of older OSes is actually super important if they want to salvage their existing data and/or transition to newer machines, which they will simply have to at some point.

true i think companies are going to keep using windows and macs forever because of how simple they are for the average person to use since they probaly use it at home goverments however i feel like they have more of an incentive to move on to their own custom linux distros since its more secure more modable so they dont have to upgrade to a new os later and with wine they also have quite the legacy support but at the same time i also dont see they moving on from old windows since its on every computer they use

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

I agree that being chained to 32 bit forever is bad and stifles progress, but the idea that relying on 16 bit applications is a “personal problem” is silly and dismissive. Some programs that were developed in the 16 bit era have simply not been properly replaced and numerous government agencies and businesses still rely on them (you may say that’s silly, and I’d agree, but it’s still true). 

While true that Government & Enterprise computers don't have the resources necessary to transition to 64-bit, OTVDM/WineVDM has been around since the late-2010s, allowing 16-bit Windows 3.1 software & games to run on 64-bit, so no longer do you have to use VMWare or VirtualBox to run 16-bit Windows applications on 64-bit PCs. Although, it has a few compatibility problems, hopefully OTVDM/WineVDM can continue development whereas Microsoft decided to discontinue support for NTVDM in Windows 11.

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1 hour ago, Doomkid said:

This isn’t an argument to chain newer OSes to dated processors though, just a point that accurate emulation of older environments isn’t some little personal problem restricted to one or two lunatics who still primarily use DOS, it’s actually important for many reasons and to many people. I’m not sure why people are generally dismissive of using older software because a replacement - especially a better version - often doesn’t exist.

Because the ultimate consequence of always having to cater to someone using something truly ancient piece of software or hardware is a huge pain for us developers. It is also a significant loss of performance. For example, if I supply the compiler with the flags that it should use 64-bit and the full AVX-2 instruction set I'd improve the performance of the Doom software renderer in GZDoom by 25-50%. Probably a 15-20% performance increase overall for the hardware renderer too. Ah but I can already feel someone getting ready to reply that they should just build two or three executables - yeah, they could. But that's exactly where the pain starts for developers when they have to support multiple versions. End result: you all got the same 32-bit .exe file for decades now for most programs, even if 95% of the users could use that 64-bit exe just fine for at least a decade.

 

I'm of course in favor of projects like dosbox and winevdm. However, expecting Microsoft to support what is either a hobby (playing old games) or some really really poor planning (enterprises still needing 16-bit or 32-bit support) is what strikes as unreasonable to me.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, dpJudas said:

End result: you all got the same 32-bit .exe file for decades now for most programs

...and it works. why i need 64-bit version of it, again?

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Posted (edited)

Inject the 100% safe SSE2 assumptions and extra registers directly into my veins.

 

Anyway Windows 10 did away with 32-bit for recent updates. 32-bit was long in the tooth and only really kept alive in the consumer space in terms of regular CPUs by a few Intel Atoms here and there. 64-bit as standard isn't that large an ask, IMO.

Edited by Altazimuth

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Posted (edited)
On 6/28/2021 at 3:39 PM, dpJudas said:

Because the ultimate consequence of always having to cater to someone using something truly ancient piece of software or hardware is a huge pain for us developers. It is also a significant loss of performance. For example, if I supply the compiler with the flags that it should use 64-bit and the full AVX-2 instruction set I'd improve the performance of the Doom software renderer in GZDoom by 25-50%. Probably a 15-20% performance increase overall for the hardware renderer too. Ah but I can already feel someone getting ready to reply that they should just build two or three executables - yeah, they could. But that's exactly where the pain starts for developers when they have to support multiple versions. End result: you all got the same 32-bit .exe file for decades now for most programs, even if 95% of the users could use that 64-bit exe just fine for at least a decade.

Tell me about it. Upon launching Shadow Man we suddenly had a select few individuals complain to us that the game wasn't running on their systems because their CPU lacked AVX-2 SSE4. And you can bet they were requesting us to make multiple executables, which for a game that heavily uses floating point vector physics as well as the renderer itself was not exactly going to smooth over well (plus multiple executables for the same game is just plain confusing for the end user).

 

This came to a shock to us not only because of how old AVX-2 SSE4 was, but also DirectX11 and Vulkan were the minimum GPU specs. They were somehow keeping their GPUs up to date but running some really old CPUs in the process. This just struck me as silly and with this whole thing with Windows 11 makes me wonder if people have been deliberately min-maximing their systems (as it were) entirely because they have been able to get away with it with nobody being able to push even somewhat older tech and security requirements due to the lack of enforcement.

Edited by Edward850

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36 minutes ago, dpJudas said:

Because you like 25-50% higher frame rates?

...limited by vsync anyway. and if the map is so complex that it cannot cope with vsync, that small speedup (it won't be 50% in realistic settings anyway, more close to 15%, or even less) won't help much. definitely doesn't worth a sudden x2 size increase for all pointers.

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4 minutes ago, Edward850 said:

This came to a shock to us not only because of how old AVX-2 was, but also DirectX11 and Vulkan were the minimum GPU specs. They were somehow keeping their GPUs up to date but running some really old CPUs in the process.

If you're a crazy person like me and pay attention to the entire line up of CPUs being released this wouldn't surprise you at all.  Intel has still yet to enable AVX on the Celeron and Pentium CPUs.  Granted these aren't very popular CPUs for gaming, but I do kind of wonder how many people bought the Pentium anniversary edition without realizing that.

 

Now not sure what CPUs your customers were using, but just saying it's possible to buy a brand new released within a year CPU from Intel and not have AVX support.

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15 minutes ago, Blzut3 said:

If you're a crazy person like me and pay attention to the entire line up of CPUs being released this wouldn't surprise you at all.  Intel has still yet to enable AVX on the Celeron and Pentium CPUs.  Granted these aren't very popular CPUs for gaming, but I do kind of wonder how many people bought the Pentium anniversary edition without realizing that.

 

Now not sure what CPUs your customers were using, but just saying it's possible to buy a brand new released within a year CPU from Intel and not have AVX support.

I did not realise this, and that might indeed explain what's up. Though frankly that just makes the situation even more frustrating, this kind of thing can't be constantly left to guess work and uncertainty.

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I feel like this wouldn't be such a big issue if the vast majority of software went open source after being discontinued/ becoming obsolete.

There's so many programs and games that are 32-bit exclusive and either suffer unavoidable poor performance, compatibility issues and bugs under a 64-bit OS.

And there's not a thing people can do about it without going through a massive hassle.

I use a 32-bit machine as my main one specifically because I want compatibility with some older software, which I deem irreplaceable, and I don't expect to run anything modern/ new on it.

There's also the issue of software that still gets updated and right now runs on both 32-bit and 64-bit. I have no doubt many will drop support for 32-bit entirely, I just hope it comes a bit later rather than sooner, I don't mind slower updates if it means that most people get to switch to a 64-bit machine before support for older hardware is dropped entirely.

Also, I think most people don't realize that if Windows didn't make the move, no-one else would've. If you can't install an OS you're going to have to upgrade your PC. But if most people can't run a program because it tells them their computer is outdated, they'll just insult you, refuse to switch to newer hardware and simply won't use your program.

I also believe most people here don't realize that the world is much larger than the first world. I happen to live in an ex-Iron Curtain country and plenty of people still use Windows XP and Windows 7 on their home computers. Hell, Windows XP was still the most popular OS in 2013. There's multiple reasons for this:

1) Customers don't understand technology

Pretty self-explanatory.

2) Customers don't have the purchasing power/ income to keep up with technology

To simply put it, most people here aren't willing to drop the equivalent of two minimum wages to purchase a low-end modern PC (and this is the price if you're building it from parts, prebuilt ones are even more expensive). And that's without purchasing a monitor, a keyboard, speakers, a mouse, a license for your OS and factoring in just how much power a more powerful PC is going to consume.

3) Customers don't see the difference between newer OS and older OS

To most people, an OS is the computer. And not even the whole thing, just the GUI and the programs they use. Why should they switch if they can go on Facebook just as easily with what they have now? There's no huge leap like in the 90's and early 00's. There's no reason to switch.

 

I understand most people here are probably tech-savvy and feel frustrated but fact of the matter is that you're a minority of people invested in a niche hobby and the world at large is completely uninterested in your field, and you can't really expect them to understand you when there's no tangible leap in technology that anyone can observe. Your average person doesn't know and doesn't care about 32-bit and 64-bit. They see bad graphics and simple programs and want them to run on anything. They buy new, but low end hardware and they want to be able to run anything new on it.

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36 minutes ago, rzh said:

Your average person doesn't know and doesn't care about 32-bit and 64-bit.

and they're mostly right. because most of the time the difference between "older" 32-bit software and "newer" 64-bit software is in memory and speed: 64-bit software requires more memory, and is slower than 32-bit software. most people don't do processing of huge video/audio, and don't host multiterabyte databases with alot of clients. so there is no real reason for them to "upgrade" only to see that their systems became slower and less responsive.

 

(disclosure: yes, i am developer myself. yes, i'm still using 32-bit OS, and have no plans to "upgrade" yet. yes, my hardware can run 64-bit OS. ;-)

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21 minutes ago, ketmar said:

(disclosure: yes, i am developer myself. yes, i'm still using 32-bit OS, and have no plans to "upgrade" yet. yes, my hardware can run 64-bit OS. ;-)

 

Enjoy being stuck with 4GB RAM then (in practice, it is even less than that, around 3.3 GB).

 

As for the 32-bit ditching by Microsoft, I am glad they have finally done it. In fact, if you ask me, they should have done this back in 2015 with the launch of Windows 10 (lets be honest here, Windows 10 on 32-bit machines runs like ass anyway so why MS even bothered with it).

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29 minutes ago, ketmar said:

and is slower than 32-bit software.

 

It is only slower on 32-bit hardware because then you need 2 instructions per 32 bits of word. People want more than just a couple gigabytes of virtual address space per process nowadays, you know. Why? Dunno, ask big software developers, not me. 64-bit hardware makes 64-bit software faster because you get access to operating on around double the bits per instruction with registers twice as big, and I didn't even mention SIMD yet. It's the instruction count that matters, not the size of a word, unless said word is bigger than your process can handle – and that's exactly why 64-bit hardware is so much more powerful, not to mention that it simply eliminates the restraint on memory space.

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Posted (edited)

I wonder how Valve will transition from 32-bit to 64-bit, now that Microsoft no longer provides a 32-bit version of their operating system now.

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Just now, Gustavo6046 said:

People want more than just a couple gigabytes of virtual address space per process nowadays, you know. Why?

because it is available. see "UDMF vs old Doom map format" threads, lol.

 

2 minutes ago, Gustavo6046 said:

and I didn't even mention SIMD yet

it is orthogonal. there is no restricion on, for example, using SSE in 32-bit code.

 

3 minutes ago, Gustavo6046 said:

It's the instruction count that matters, not the size of a word

this is true for the architecture with infinitely big caches. otherwise there IS a difference if your data is suddenly 2x bigger. that's why people sometimes using indirect access via indicies and lookup tables on 64 bit -- because lookup table access overhead is still better than your data trashing cache twice as fast.

 

6 minutes ago, ReaperAA said:

Enjoy being stuck with 4GB RAM then (in practice, it is even less than that, around 3.3 GB).

hm. my box has 8GB of RAM. all of it is used. enjoy your sub-par operating system, i guess.

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Good riddance. About time that ancient trash stops wasting dev time to support it.

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1 hour ago, Wadmodder Shalton said:

I wonder how Valve will transition from 32-bit to 64-bit, now that Microsoft no longer provides a 32-bit version of their operating system now.

Microsoft didn't nuke the ability to run 32-bit applications from Windows 11, so the transition will be much later when Microsoft announces plans to discontinue support for 32-bit applications.

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Posted (edited)

I'm just wondering why the hell Microsoft is suddenly farting out a new OS at all. I thought their plan was just to update Win10 in perpetuity from now on. Not entirely sure who gave me that idea, but that's what I thought was their plan at this stage. I just hope that, unlike what they did with Win10, Microsoft actually respects consumer agency and allows people to make the choice of WHEN they upgrade their OS, rather than having it thrust upon them without warning. I still remember the day my old man turned on his laptop and was asking, "what in the bleeding blue fuck happened to my computer? Bio help!" That was so goddamn annoying and upsetting, it felt less like an OS and more like a virus in that regard. I even went as far as having a program installed on my old Win7 machine at the time that blocked Microsoft from installing Win10 onto it.

 

I had to upgrade eventually because I needed new hardware, but the fact I had to go to such lengths to avoid the bastards from installing their OS without my permission was disgusting. They were even sued by one woman when their forced upgrade broke her computer and they had to pay her $10K, so I just hope that was enough bloody incentive to prevent them from pulling this shit again.

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5 hours ago, ketmar said:

...limited by vsync anyway. and if the map is so complex that it cannot cope with vsync, that small speedup (it won't be 50% in realistic settings anyway, more close to 15%, or even less) won't help much. definitely doesn't worth a sudden x2 size increase for all pointers.

I think you're too fixated on the pointer size aspect of it. If you could have a 20% faster computer, why wouldn't you want that?

 

When you compile for a platform that dictates many things, such as calling conventions, CPU registers, SIMD instructions available, purpose specific instructions (typically for encryption, video and audio codecs, checksums). A lot of things has happened to processors, operating systems and compilers since the 486 and Windows 95. A list of the things your missing out on when compiling a 32-bit binary that must run on a 1999 vintage PC:

  • Twice as many registers for your local variables
  • Frame pointer omission (FPO) support built directly into the calling convention. This means call stacks always works, no matter if you have debug symbols for your binaries or not
  • More efficient calling conventions, thanks to more registers
  • Auto-vectorization. Why have only the CPU try to keep all the ALUs busy when the compiler can help too?
  • Address space randomization for higher security. So the hacker found a buffer overrun, but now he's having a much harder time exploiting it
  • And of course last not having to worry about large files - if it fits into memory it just works

You can enable some of this for a 32-bit executable, but then you'll get complaints from users that for some reason kept that two decade old CPU. Last year at my work we had to add special case handling for using a SSE4 intrinsic as apparently Azure's cloud somehow managed to run our software on some old AMD CPU that didn't have that. Sometimes drawing a line in the sand saying, OK now this is new reasonable baseline that all software developers can expect to be available is IMO a good thing.

 

By the way, when the auto-vectorizer actually manages to optimize a critical loop in the program, a 50% speed increase compared to a 32-bit binary that can't even expect SSE or registers to be around is not as unrealistic as you think.

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Posted (edited)

I mean, 64-bit CPUs have been around since 2003. That's nearly 20 years. And a whole bunch of people upgraded within about 5-8 years of that to a 64-bit CPU. (In my case, it was around 2007, when I went from a Athlon XP 3000+ to a Core 2 Duo E6750.)

 

So really it's just a sign of the times. Even your crappiest, low-budget Celeron and Athlon CPUs most definitely are 64-bit capable now.

 

Does anyone even buy 32-bit CPUs anymore? Besides maybe businesses or legacy government systems or extremely low-powered (i.e; Atom) devices? I just can't see it.

 

6 hours ago, Edward850 said:

Tell me about it. Upon launching Shadow Man we suddenly had a select few individuals complain to us that the game wasn't running on their systems because their CPU lacked AVX-2. And you can bet they were requesting us to make multiple executables, which for a game that heavily uses floating point vector physics as well as the renderer itself was not exactly going to smooth over well (plus multiple executables for the same game is just plain confusing for the end user).

 

This came to a shock to us not only because of how old AVX-2 was, but also DirectX11 and Vulkan were the minimum GPU specs. They were somehow keeping their GPUs up to date but running some really old CPUs in the process. This just struck me as silly and with this whole thing with Windows 11 makes me wonder if people have been deliberately min-maximing their systems (as it were) entirely because they have been able to get away with it with nobody being able to push even somewhat older tech and security requirements due to the lack of enforcement.

I think I can actually speak on this.

 

I am on a system that is decidedly ancient in only one area - CPU. It's a well-loved Sandy Bridge i7-2600K. Excellent CPU that's lasted me for years and years and years - ten of them, in fact.

 

The main problem it'd have is that it wouldn't run Shadow Man. Not because the GPU can't (a GeForce 1080), not because I lack the RAM (16 GB), not because of the OS (Win7), but because Sandy Bridge only supports AVX, not AVX2. Haswell (two generations later) is what introduced AVX2 to the world; AMD would only pick it up with their Excavator core (some two years after Haswell came out).

 

Mind you, this won't be a problem for much longer; I bought a new system recently, and parts for it are starting to arrive, and I will no longer have a decade-old build as my daily driver sometime in the next few weeks. But the userbase that doesn't have AVX2 is actually a lot bigger than you might surmise at first blush.

 

Now, lacking AVX1... that would be a little bit harder. You really would have to go older than Sandy Bridge for that (Westmere on down) and at that point, I could see dropping compatability. :P

 

I guess from a software side of things, it's pretty safe to assume AVX as a baseline now, maybe AVX2 in a few years. But I also remember the No Man's Sky devs purposely making their game compatible with CPUs as low as SSE2 shortly after the game launched (apparently Havok needed SSE4.1 initially, and they got an SSE2-compatible build from them, because all sorts of people with Phenom IIs couldn't run the game - their support stopped at SSE4a). Honestly the first I've ever heard of a team of devs doing that.

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