The move to 64-bit computing

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kawaiiguy

kawaiiguy

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Looking around, the only company that seriously advertised a 64/32-bit hybrid CPU is AMD. Both Intel and Apple have 64-bit enabled CPUs, but don't really market that fact. Where are the practical uses for the additional numerical precision in the consumer market? Most mainstream applications run in the 32-bit space just fine. Why is x64 such a big deal?

While it's true that the AMDx64 chips are great for a lot of applications, I haven't seen any documentation that points to the 64-bit architecture being the cause. Intel's later generatoion Prescott CPUs all had EMT64 on them, but weren't enabled. Eventually, a quiet launch was made for the EMT64-enabled CPU.

Is 64-bit really the future that will change everything?

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I don't think it will change everything, it's just an evolutionary step.

hiddensnakehands

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well, x64 is more fit for business or academic institutions where large computation and database programming takes place. However, I still fail to see the importance of x64 for a home PC owner like me.

That being said, x64 will gradually emerge as the victor of the battle. questions i have however is whether all current applications will run properly on it. A lot of software vendors have not made a swtich from 32 to 64 yet. Microsoft released a x64 version for XP, however, I do not know how it has performed so far. The next version of windows, the so called "Longhorn" or "Vista", will attempt to take advantage of the 64 bit processors. However, who will know the popularity among home users then?

The current AMD 64 bit processors, is backward compatible, We have already seen a number of programs designed to run under 32 bit fail to work on 64 bit windows, Symantec Client Security?

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  • Jul 23, 2005

failure

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64-bit is really useful when you need to access more than 4GB of physical memory. 32-bit IA32 processors have something called "page address extensions" (pae) which allow the OS and applications to address memory beyond 4GB. However, this isn't "free"...both the OS and application must be written to take advantage of it and I have been told that there is a performance penalty.

I think most people (desktop users and gamers) don't necessarily need 64-bit right now. However, the time is approaching rapidly. I remember buying a PC with 8MB of memory years ago and thinking that was a crapload of memory. It also came with a "huge" 512mb HD. We all know how things have changed ;-) You'd be stupid to buy/build a PC with less than 256mb RAM in it today if it was for general purpose desktop use. With Windows Vista having even higher system requirements, and applications getting bigger and more complex all the time...I've got a personal system with 2GB (Linux) in which the memory is fully utilized.

Even if you don't need 64-bit though, you can benefit from AMD64's new instructions and Intel SSE2 extensions, extra registers, and onboard memory controller :-) Intel's implementation lacks at least the memory controller. The reason AMD is stomping intel in the SMP space is the bus (both memory and PCI) architecture. In the uniprocessor world, even when it doesn't quite beat Intel, it's generally a more efficient processor clock for clock (and watt for watt).

My two cents :-D

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hiddensnakehands

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exactly like failure said, if you have 4gb of memory, you will definitely realize the improvement from 32 to 64, however in looking at the market today, who has that much ram. I have a 1g ram, most people have 512

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  • Jul 23, 2005

Archer79

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Well... ...64 bits gets you a seconds-based real-time clock that will not be outdated for centuries. As was mentioned earlier, it permits much larger address space. ...And it can also represent larger numbers for multiplication, etc. without needing to break values into two pieces. ...Of course, I doubt the world can use 2^64 shades of color, or even 2^64 differenct sound frequencies. ...But who knows.

i think the "32-bit era" represents the golden age of computing. ...The age where digital became better than analog has ever been. ...With few or no shortcomings. It's kinda cool that we all got to be in that generation. In any case, 64 bits will allow for more serious number crunching by occasionally increasing the throughput of the CPU, and permitting faster/broader memory addressing. (i.e. Not seperating things into 2 banks or more if you exceed 4GB)

  • Jul 23, 2005
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It's also possible that what's driving the necessity towards 64bit processing platforms is the urge to upgrade the homeowner's overall computing experience. When you're online, playing a game, or writing an email, you're at your computer, sitting there, doing not much more. For you to be able to watch HD television in real time, have broadcast or satellite signals streamed with the bare minimum of compression/signal loss, or just manage larger loads of data as part of the next generation of "worldwide web", you'll need a fatter pipe.

Broadband ushered in the age of digital streaming media on its highway, now the time is approaching where computers themselves will be better equipped vessels for all this on demand electronic product. It may be the death of the music and video store. It may be the death of the movie theater. But its certainly the life of a richer entertainment experience.

Most hardware evolutionary steps are touted as "business" or "economic" driven steps. But they soon find their way into our homes and personal lives. It's now up to the software developers to dream of better and newer ways of manipulating the available cpu/hd/ram combinations.

  • Jul 24, 2005

kawaiiguy

kawaiiguy

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While I understand all the arguments for x64, the question still remains unanswered. Do we (as consumers) really need the extra 32-bit precision. I currently have 2 gigs of RAM. I don't see much improvement over when I had 1 gig of RAM. I doubt I'll see much improvement if I go to 4 gigs of RAM.

Quote by failureI remember buying a PC with 8MB of memory years ago and thinking that was a crapload of memory. It also came with a "huge" 512mb HD. We all know how things have changed ;-) You'd be stupid to buy/build a PC with less than 256mb RAM in it today if it was for general purpose desktop use.


Back then, Moore's "Law" was still in full force. I think we've reached started reaching an upper bound on performance. Four years ago, I had a 1.2 Athlon with a half gig of RAM. I upgraded to a full gig a year later. Two years ago, I bought a 2.4p4ht. I noticed a significant performance difference between those two machines. Last winter, a friend bought an a643000+ and another friend picked up a 3.2p4ht. I didn't notice any difference in performance between my machine and the other two. The only time I noticed a difference was when we were all working on a distributed computing project. The A64 was better at handling fewer WU threads while the P4s were better at handling multiple instances.

My computer is now two years old and I don't have much intention of replacing it for at least another year (maybe two). My old computer is still in use and fully functional. There has been a servere lack of x64 compatible applications. With WinXP/Win2k3 x64 versions out, one would hope that 64-bit apps would be developed. The thing is, what consumer grade appications would benefit?

Games? No, the Farcry x64 edition runs slower because all the enhancements are GPU intensive...
Media? Maybe for compression, but most do just fine in the 32-bit space...
Home/Office? Text editors don't need much... maybe a spreadsheet application...
Internet? What kind of internet content would need that much memory space...?

Don't get me wrong, advancement is great. I'm all for it. But I believe the marketing hype is just blowing it all out of proportion.

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Archer79

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Quote by kawaiiguyWhile I understand all the arguments for x64, the question still remains unanswered. Do we (as consumers) really need the extra 32-bit precision. I currently have 2 gigs of RAM. I don't see much improvement over when I had 1 gig of RAM. I doubt I'll see much improvement if I go to 4 gigs of RAM.

Quote by failureI remember buying a PC with 8MB of memory years ago and thinking that was a crapload of memory. It also came with a "huge" 512mb HD. We all know how things have changed ;-) You'd be stupid to buy/build a PC with less than 256mb RAM in it today if it was for general purpose desktop use.


Back then, Moore's "Law" was still in full force. I think we've reached started reaching an upper bound on performance. Four years ago, I had a 1.2 Athlon with a half gig of RAM. I upgraded to a full gig a year later. Two years ago, I bought a 2.4p4ht. I noticed a significant performance difference between those two machines. Last winter, a friend bought an a643000+ and another friend picked up a 3.2p4ht. I didn't notice any difference in performance between my machine and the other two. The only time I noticed a difference was when we were all working on a distributed computing project. The A64 was better at handling fewer WU threads while the P4s were better at handling multiple instances.
My computer is now two years old and I don't have much intention of replacing it for at least another year (maybe two). My old computer is still in use and fully functional. There has been a servere lack of x64 compatible applications. With WinXP/Win2k3 x64 versions out, one would hope that 64-bit apps would be developed. The thing is, what consumer grade appications would benefit?
Games? No, the Farcry x64 edition runs slower because all the enhancements are GPU intensive...
Media? Maybe for compression, but most do just fine in the 32-bit space...
Home/Office? Text editors don't need much... maybe a spreadsheet application...
Internet? What kind of internet content would need that much memory space...?
Don't get me wrong, advancement is great. I'm all for it. But I believe the marketing hype is just blowing it all out of proportion.

"Need", no. Do you need 32 bits? No. Do you even need a computer? No. ...Not unless you want superior performance and productivity. The question you asked is more complicated than just a yes or a no, imho. ...It's more of a "what do you need 64 bits for"? ...Which is the responses you have been given.

Realistically, you could just check your computer at the door, and simply use what's provided at work/school/library/cafe...

  • Jul 24, 2005
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I guess the definition of "need" is different for everybody. I don't "need" a 64bit path, nor do most people. What should be noted though, is that all technology springs from inventive minds. They'll think up the 64bit processor and software. Then, they'll probably think up a reason for it. It's marketing...

  • Jul 24, 2005
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I want 128-bit. No I want 512-bit. Seriously.

It took little time to move from 8-bit to 16, and then 16 to 32 bit. It's taken forever to move to from 32 to 64. Why? How is this going to help the average person. Simple.

Voice recognition and Artificial Intelligent Operating Systems. I want my Star Trek super computer where I can just speak to it what I want and it will do it for me. Most people still don't know how to use an OS. And they probably won't care to. We will just need to design computers that we can talk to. But I seriously think we won't have that until 128 to 256 bit chips are out. Then soon to follow 512 bit chips will be used to finallize correct Robot Automation. After that, the sky will be the limit.

Just my opinion (^_^)

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