vista on the cheap are probably a few college students out there that still want to upgrade to Windows Vista without buying a new machine, and without access to any special CS major-exclusive downloads (which are often “Enterprise” or “Business” editions anyway, and only 32-bit). Also, such students are probably overwhelmed with the number of editions of Vista available. To complicate the matter further (or provide a solution), you’re in luck – students are eligible for the academic versions of Vista. The academic versions are identical to their consumer counterparts, albeit at a substantial discount (half price for Home Premium).

The catch is that you can’t buy this academic version just anywhere. There are several resellers online which provide academic versions, but all require proof of enrollment in an applicable academic program and appear pretty shifty. This can get tricky, but I’ll relate my experience. I took a chance and paid $70 for the usually ~$160 Home Premium upgrade version of Vista from CampusTech. To purchase, I had to use my SS number through an associated website, which seemed risky and could potentially have been foolish (even though it was a “secure” site). I got an order confirmation but no shipping confirmation or tracking number, but other than that, the product arrived relatively promptly and – so far – no credit card fraud has befallen me. Of course, it was just the 32-bit version. To get the 64-bit version, I simply needed to request additional media from Microsoft’s site (for $10).

Well, again, I got an order confirmation, but no shipping confirmation or tracking number. Long story short, it took several phone calls before I was told it shipped and would take three to ten business days before arriving…and it’s still not here (two full weeks later). So I’d say it’s worth it to take the risk for the academic version, but the 64-bit edition might not be worth the wait (unless you plan on utilizing all the additional memory capacity it affords). I was just surprised at Microsoft’s shabbiness in handling the distribution of the alternate media…I should be able to download the 64-bit DVD ISO, since the full version is available to buy and download from their site (via Circuit City) and I already have a legal key. 🙁

7 thoughts on “vista on the cheap

  1. If you have a 64-bit compatible CPU, using the 64-bit version will allow you to have more memory to run programs, and can also be quicker in general (if your programs are written to support 64-bit processors).

    Basically, there are very few immediately tangible benefits, but it’s just “better” to have the 64-bit version. 😉

  2. 64-bit is the WAVE OF THE FUTURE!! Among some of the benefits of having a 64-bit processor are the fact that you are allowed more data to be processed per clock cycle. With increased data flow, you are capable of having floating point digits take only one processor command to be loaded into memory instead of two. Some 64-bit processors can even do addition between 2 integers in less clock cycles by making the entire addition block be one read from memory (opposed to 2 or sometimes 3).

    Also, the average processor has ~400-500 commands which after doing the math, can requires at least 9 bits of the instruction to incorporate. However, there are less than 50 instructions that processors spend more than 95% of their time doing, so to increase throughput, processor manufacturers make a variable length command section of each instruction. This is how Intel and AMD do their 32-bit processors. Other companies such as Sun Microsystems have a fixed command length of each construction, which increases performance, and allows for greater specification for the micro controller.

    So, 64-bit processors allow the best of both worlds. We are given the increased throughput, and also are allowed a fixed command section of each instruction. We end up with a huge performance boost, except that current 64-bit processors are forced to waste a bit of their resources having to switch back and forth between 64-bit mode and 32-bit mode.

    That’s a very brief introduction to processing language and a very brief explanation of how each one works. If you want greater understanding, Google something like “Intel 32-bit instructions” or “machine code”

    Those are two decent links that give you an understanding, but probably require a bit of a priori knowledge about the subject. Learn from it what you will

  3. Your definition left something to be desired for those thirsty for information. Something mine provided.

    I hate you, Scooter. =D

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