Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Jul 2011 14:10 UTC, submitted by Jennimc
Mozilla & Gecko clones "Over the last couple of weeks, Mozilla has finally stepped up its 64-bit testing process. There are now five slaves dedicated to building Firefox for Windows x64, which means that from Firefox 8 and onwards, you'll be able to pick up 64-bit builds that are functionally identical to its 32-bit cousins but operating in native 64-bit CPU and memory space." Th 64bit version is about 10% faster, benchmarks show.
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RE[2]: Happy to see a benefit
by AndrewZ on Thu 21st Jul 2011 17:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Happy to see a benefit"
AndrewZ
Member since:
2005-11-15

I was disappointed that AMD developed AMD64, not because it wasn't an improvement. It is, but because it means the complex x86 ISA will remain the top desktop CPU for another decade or two at the expense of better alternatives.

If you don't like X86-64, there is always: SPARC, POWER7, MIPS64. Get one of these so you can conceptualize cleanly in 64-bit brain space :-)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Happy to see a benefit
by Alfman on Thu 21st Jul 2011 19:03 in reply to "RE[2]: Happy to see a benefit"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

AndrewZ,

"If you don't like X86-64, there is always: SPARC, POWER7, MIPS64. Get one of these so you can conceptualize cleanly in 64-bit brain space :-)"

A desktop user really has to go out of their way to get alternatives to x86. I've used Solaris on Sparc, and OSX on PPC, but are those even commercially viable targets anymore?

I suppose PPC systems are being sold as sony game console's, but they actively discourage independent devs like me.

Is there such a thing as a MIPS desktop?


The 64bit Alpha processer was (and may still be) superior to x86, but the pervasiveness of x86 is unavoidable.

I seriously considered becoming an itanium developer, but it was much too expensive. In any case, that processor was brutally rejected in the marketplace because AMD came out with a 64 processor which ran legacy x86 code natively.

Technically the itanium specs are astounding, 128 general purpose 64bit integer registers, a sliding parameter window eliminates the need to save/restore these to a memory stack for each function call (as is normally required by calling conventions).

They did away with power hungry superscalar architecture (the main purpose of which is to work around the limited number of registers and limited parallelism of the x86).

The ISA supports explicit parallelism for very significant speedup to many common algorithms.

This is all every exciting, but it performed awfully when running sequential x86 code, which needs a complex superscalar cpu in order to perform decently. It quickly earned a reputation for being slow for this reason.

So long as software remains proprietary and cannot even be recompiled, x86 compatibility will prove to be more important than anything else in the CPU development arena.

All of the superior 64bit ISAs would have had a real chance to establish a broad consumer market if only amd-64 had been avoided.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Happy to see a benefit
by AndrewZ on Thu 21st Jul 2011 20:16 in reply to "RE[3]: Happy to see a benefit"
AndrewZ Member since:
2005-11-15

NEC released RISC MIPS64 in 1998. Loongson has a low power 64-bit MIPS laptop. MIPS is a very nice architecture with a very clean instruction set. But after you port Linux you still only have a laptop that runs Linux. And slowly too!

Ultimately these architectures are all still only Turing compatible. Ultimately they still run all the same high level software.

Edited 2011-07-21 20:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Happy to see a benefit
by dsmogor on Thu 21st Jul 2011 21:27 in reply to "RE[3]: Happy to see a benefit"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Too bad the theory didn't meet the real world demands.
Newest Itanium incarnation is indeed out of order (which is ridiculous given the whole point of VLIW isa was to avoid it). Interestingly the ( change was required to save IA64 performance on business critical computation (it was doing just fine on HPC tasks) which was getting spanked by old fashioned x86 competition despite being a transistor monster.
So no, IA64 on the desktop would mean even more wasted power for all those execution units (which simply must be there as they are explicitly part of the isa).

In the Power efficient side of things ARM is giving intel run for its money, bc it's simple where needed.

Reply Parent Score: 2