To see how many Windows IT Pro readers are using 64-bit systems, we conducted a survey of our advisory panel. Our advisory panel is composed of about 500 readers from around the world who volunteer to participate in our market research. First, we asked the panel a general question about whether they've standardized on a particular processor vendor. A surprisingly high 62.5 percent reportedly have standardized on Intel processors, 35.2 percent haven't standardized on a processor, and only .4 percent have standardized on AMD processors.

The current level of 64-bit technology adoption is quite low. Our survey showed that only 6.3 percent of the panel had actually purchased Intel Itanium systems. Considering that the Itanium system is best suited to high-end work that requires the maximum amount of scalability, that’s not too surprising. The most common 64-bit system usages are for server consolidation (often using VMware), large-scale database implementations, and high-performance workstations. The overwhelming reason why most respondents haven't adopted 64-bit solutions is because their current 32-bit systems are meeting their needs. Other frequently mentioned reasons for not implementing 64-bit systems are the lack of 64-bit applications and the high cost of 64-bit systems.

However, other responses show that 64-bit computing has reached most of the panelists’ radar. Although 50.2 percent say they aren't interested in 64-bit systems, the remaining 49.8 percent are either interested or not sure—quite a difference from the relatively small percentage of respondents that have implemented 64-bit systems. We conclude that although there aren’t many current 64-bit installations among you, there is growing interest. We have little doubt that the availability of the AMD 64-bit chips, the new Intel 64-bit EM64T (with their lower cost and emphasis on 32-bit compatibility), and the availability of Windows for 64-Bit Extended Systems are making 64-bit computing more accessible and therefore more practical.