Within the next year, PC makers are expected to start selling a powerful new generation of home computers that run on 64-bit microchips. But consumers might initially find little extra value in these PCs, despite their exponentially more powerful features. Read the rest of the article at Reuters.
The 64-Bit Question: Should You Upgrade?
2003-04-29 Hardware 17 Comments
And the reasoning is simple. There is no existing OS that will leverage a 64 bit consumer system.
Windows = can barely run 32 bits these days.
Mac = big and slow, just like Windows
Linux = 64 bit implementation really only good for servers.
Solaris = giant footprint heavy duty server OS
Remember how long it took to get a decent 32 bit version of Windows… 14 YEARS after 32 bit processors were shipping.
For the pro audio and video markets, 64 bits may be worth it much sooner than for consumer systems.
And for the server market, 64 bits is a good thing now, especially for databases, search, etc.
Alas, for the consumer, PC’s will likely be dead — replaced by DRM iTV’s — before people actually need a 64 bit OS.
Itanium failed because it is ultra expensive ($4K a processor) and has appalling 32 bit emulation. Athlon64 processors are similarly priced to and runs 32 bit applications at similar speeds to current high-end 32 bit processors.
RAM is dirt cheap and prices are still plummeting (4 x 1GB sticks is currently around US$600). 4GB RAM will be well within the budgets of serious gamers within a year.
64 bit is a great marketing pitch – remember the whole MMX frenzy over something quite trivial – 64 bit is huge in comparison.
64 bit linux, BSD and Windows ports are all available now or within months for Opteron.
nVidia and Asus have already produced chipsets and motherboards for workstations(or high end gamers).
i’ve watched all the hype and discussion. everybody has their own opinion. here is mine. not everybody needs 64-bit computing. servers take advantage of it. power users take advantage of it. joe across the street who uses his computer to check email and look at porn does not need it. everybody needs to stop telling others what they need or what they don’t need. i’m sick of it.
i want an athlon-64 system. will i use it to its max? maybe, maybe not. i run gentoo on my desktop and will continue to do so until i can find an OS which gives me as much control over my system, yet has simple tools.
all this excites me. AMD and their backers. linux making strides. its not for everyone. just like vinyl records are not for everyone.
Since I just bought myself a new computer, I will not be buying one for the next three years or so. Plus I don’ t think I will need one. I don’ t even think there will be 64 bit programs within the next four to five years, at least not from the big companies like Microsoft. x86 emulation will be used until eveyone has a 64 bit CPU at home. Or all software must come in several versions…
If Halflife 2/Doom 4/Quake5 uses it, yeah, else gahhhh toy must buy.
There is no motherboard so far for the Athlon 64 that supports more than 4 DIMMs, so max 4GB of RAM at prices can afford.
Of course a 32 bit chip can address 4GB of RAM just fine, with pointers that are half the size of the 64 bit chip.
Thus we see AMD blowing their big advantage which is the ability to utilize more than 4GB of RAM. Even most server motherboards are coming out with very few DIMM sockets, making it difficult to load up on memory.
We see ports of 32 bit operating systems to AMD64 but nothing native. There will be nothing interesting except for a few databases and a few pro apps in the 64 bit world.
Look at Sun for instance. Is there anything all that great about 64 bits? Sun certainly hasn’t done much with it other than run some giant Oracle databases. For the consumer market, this is meaningless.
you have the one about being able to address all kind of stuff (like RAM) wider and the one that give speed.
The first is vital but might eventually stop climbing because it’s exponential and until we find a way to enter new 5th dimention we will lack space to wire all this (just calculate what 256bit would allow!!).
The second was quite obvious for BUS and peripheral from 4bit to 8bit to 16bit and eventually to 32bit, but now serial is the buzz word. The wider the BUS, the more disparity % you get in the speed your data paralelly travel. You then have the math register that also go faster (needing less clock cycle to computer large number) but 64 bit is overkill for non scientific or non industrial stuff. It’s even overkill for video games.
Will they sell it to us? of course, they need to sell PC badly. Problem is, miniaturisation will be slowed and energy consumption that could be enhanced with asyncronous small BUS will not see the light… all because Mhz and bits have the mind share
I think IBM’s PPC 970 will make more difference than the x86 models. This is because Mac (and Amiga) need a new processor family more urgently than Windows and x86-Linux.
A 64-bit procesor will be particularly useful for audio work, which one of the markets the Mac is aimed at.
Well i think at the moment Itanium is definetly a non-runner as regards desktop, but it seems to be doing quite well in the HPC sector, Madison is going to be out in a couple of months, not only does it have a 50% ramp in proceesor speed but it’s based on .13 fabrication as oppose to .18 in Itanium2 this should help as regards heat and power. It’s also pin compatable, there’s going to be at least 3 versions of this core available, the difference being cache and clock speed. The 1.5mb cache processor will no doubt be aimed at the workstation market
In the end, everybody will switch to 64-bits, even if it’s only because of the RAM. First of all, 32-bit processors cannot easily address 4GB RAM, at least not within a single process space.
Second, Joe across the street might want to edit his home videos or some photos. This kind of application requires a huge amount of memory.
Third, even non-hardcore gamers play games that need 128MB today. And games for casual gamers will get better as well, requiring ever more memory.
64 bits is going to happen. Maybe the naysayers should stick with 640KB?
I can’t believe that nobody has really mentioned the biggest thing that AMD64 offers to the x86 architecture. Yeah, the 64-bit address space is nice, if you need it, and the extra horsepower of 64-bit registers helps in certain math intensive applications. But IMHO, the most important thing is the *extra* registers. AMD64 doubles the number of registers that an application can use. That means less cache misses and faster processing.
All CPUs since the Pentium have had 64-bit registers. The new 64-bit CPUs only add a 64-bit address size..
LOL, I’ll wait for the “Dual Celeron 300a” hack for Athlon 64’s before I migrate. I used a K6-200 until the Dual Overclocked Celeron hack came out. I’ll do the same for the Athlon 64. I’ve been an SMP’er for 5 years and haven’t looked back. (big on distributed computing.)
Especially if IBM’s name get’s tarnished by this SCO thing, Apple may have to look elsewhere for its processors. Somehow I don’t think a port is in the works for IA-64 . . .
I envision two or three flavors of Mac OS X: one for PPC similar to now, another for x86 that offers support for “mainstream” hardware with a licensing fee added to the OS to compensate for not selling the hardware, and eventually a “full-featured” OS that supports various little things that Windows boxes like and Macs don’t have.
People see a BSD core as an easy mechanism by which to port to x86(-64), but they forget that a lot of what Apple has done with OS X has been made possible by explicit knowledge of hardware setups and the like.
Most of the headaches with Windows and to an even larger degree Linux, arise from the fact that the array of possible hardware the OS is to run on is essentially infinite. At least in the sense that it is impossible/infeasible to conduct testing on such a scale.
AMD has admitted several times that their manufacturing sweetspot hovers around the 100-120 mm^2 mark, and even the Athlon64 (to say nothing of the Opteron) doubles this mark. With doubts regarding the necessity of 64-bit computing for the home/SOHO consumer whistling around the internet and in tech magazines, one wonders whether AMD is really gunna miss the boat after all.
Apple won’t touch Intel due to the fabled (and quite tangible) WINTEL alliance. Could AMD go down and take Apple with it? Or will the will of the consumer for once prevail over dollars and cents?
Soon there will be no apps to run in 32 bit and then you will have to upgrade. There is no more support for Win98 but still people use it and it works fine. Can’t have that now can we?
Remember MMX, and how big it was ?
Remember SSE and 3dnow and the like, and how not big it was ?
This has the 64 bit buzzword in it. PPL will like that and buy it. I for one would benifit from the enhanced FPU’s because i do a lot of number crunching and rendering.
POVray compiles on an alpha and other 64 bit platforms (also on my sgi indigo2 r10k running irix) just fine. And well … x86 being the main focus/target for gcc, it will produce quite fast and reasonably clean code quite quickly whem x86-64 will catch on … and it will BIGTIME.
well, just my 2 cents
Here’s an advantage of a 64-bit processor (like Athlon64) vs 32-bit x86 processor:
On the PC, a portion of address space is reserved for PCI/AGP devices. Allocation for these devices is dependent on the number of PCI/AGP devices installed, and option ROM for each device.
If you installed 4GB of RAM into a 32-bit system, you wont see all the 4GB. Common configurations today typically see 3.5GB to 3.8GB of available memory.
On a 64-bit system, the full 4GB of RAM is available as it has a much larger address space.
This situation is bound to get worse on the 32-bit system as more memory is gobbled up by the AGP video card.
Yes memory is getting cheaper, but the 32-bit address space is running out…