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Are We Not Ready For 64-Bit? 523

Q3vi1 writes "The Inquirer posted an intriguing article about how Intel doesn't think that we'll be ready for mainstream 64-bit computing until 2007. Coupled with the fact that MS isn't supporting the Opteron yet for their Windows 2003 Server, we may see a delay in consumer applications for 64-bit computing. However, as this article states, some people don't really care and will just go for Linux and AMD as a nice marriage."
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Are We Not Ready For 64-Bit?

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  • by west ( 39918 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:11PM (#5583509)
    Apple will come out with a 64-bit OS X sometime in the next year (with the 970). Critics will say "Wow!", and then ignore it. Apple sales won't change a bit and three years later MS will come out with 64-bit computing to universal acclaim and the market will buy it like hotcakes...
    • by questamor ( 653018 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:17PM (#5583568)
      Scary bit is - while your comment made me laugh, it's probably more true than funny. bah.

      Perhaps what the article really means is "Intel isn't ready for 64 bit computing and is scared shitless they can't do anything useful with it until 2007"
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Do you seriously think that Intel couldn't develop a 64 bit mainstream processor if it wanted to compete against AMD? It's not as if AMD did anything really exotic with the Opteron, just slapped together some 64 bit instructions and registers.

        The real explanation is that Intel is trying to push Itanium as their sole 64 bit platform and it will probably take until 2007 for that technology to become mature enough and cheap enough to be viable for consumer desktops.
    • by hhnerkopfabbeisser ( 645832 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:18PM (#5583575)
      Nicholas Petreley's First Law of Computer Trade Journalism:
      "No technology exists until Microsoft invents it."

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well...who cares about Apple? If you`re got a business using 300 Wintel PCs, and Apple comes out with [insert something] - so what? You`d have to replace your hardware, software and experts. If [insert something] somes out for Wintel PCs then you just slowly upgrade them. No paradigm shift, no costly retraining, no girly pastel-blue overpriced PPC PCs.
    • I could totally see that happening, because technologists often forget that execution is every bit as important as innovation. In other words, Apple may come out with an advanced OS, but Microsoft's performance with actually meeting the needs of the wider marketplace gives them an edge in taking it to mainstream usage. Yes, they've got the monopolist's desktop advantage now, but they got it because they've put out products that, while far from perfect, did the job well enough to serve as the focal point f
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Stop rewriting history. People bought PC's because they were made by IBM and were "professional" (meaning they could not display colors, had a 80*25 screen, did not have sound capabilities, etc.).

        IBM fucked up on licensing, and Microsoft took over from them. They then built on that position, locking product into product while at the same time keeping competitors out whenever they could.

        Their products very frequently do not "do the job well enough" *at all*, but people use it anyway because "it is the stan
  • by dfn5 ( 524972 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:12PM (#5583523) Journal
    I wait.... I use UltraSparc at home. Never mind.
  • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:13PM (#5583529) Homepage Journal
    Just like many other applications of cutting edge technology, the current business climate just isn't supporting the uptake of new products. I wonder if their timeline will be moved up, however, should the current geopolitical situation start to clear up and the economy resume vigirous growth later this year. I think all too often the mood of the moment colors future projections too far ahead...
  • You would think they would understand by now that sometimes you just need to go with it, the user base will follow. This sort of thing happens whenever a new platform comes out, but you have to progress...
  • Honestly.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johndeaux ( 609338 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:14PM (#5583535)
    99.9% of the population do not use the currently level of computing power available. As a consultant I get the question all the time "Do I need to upgrade to a faster machine" when all the person is doing is a little word processing and surfing the net.

    • I dont think home users make a good example of users. I consult primarily with engineering, architectural and graphics firms. Programs like AutoCAD, Revit, 3DStudio, Photoshop and a bunch of number crunching engineering apps i've never heard of. All of which are dying to use 64 bit systems. not only that more and more applications are using a more complex and demanding UI. Have you used word or excell lately ?
    • Re:Honestly.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by b0r1s ( 170449 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:24PM (#5583618) Homepage
      The people who need 64bit already know that they need 64bit. Gamers, home users, small businesses, and the like aren't in this category.

      Remember that the primary reason for changing to 64bit isn't speed or cost, but rather the ability to have a much larger address space, which serves to remove the 4GB memory limit. These are the people who will want 64bit, and these are the people who already KNOW that they want it, they're just waiting patiently for it to be available (and for their OS of choice to be ported - correctly).
      • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:49PM (#5583797)
        Remember that the primary reason for changing to 64bit isn't speed or cost, but rather the ability to have a much larger address space, which serves to remove the 4GB memory limit.

        To you or I, yes. But plenty of people will buy 64-bit just for the bragging rights. Anyone who does case modding falls into this category. AMD will make a fortune if they include a flashy "64-bit eXXXtreme!" sticker with every processor sold.
    • I dispute your figure because there are a lot of gamers out there, and computer games are continually pushing hardware. It will be no different with this either. Maybe, for once, we'll see a game (commercial, that is) come out for Linux, even if it's entire purpose is just to showcase the power of 64 bits.
    • It's not about speed, its about address space. Need a memory mapped file > 4GB on your Pentium? Sorry charlie, you're SOL. Why do you think people buy Sparc (besides the excellent support)?
    • Re:Honestly.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by realnowhereman ( 263389 ) <andyparkins@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:42PM (#5583753)
      On what basis do you advance that? If you mean 99.9% of consumers do not use their CPU's at 100% all the time then I'll agree. However, most consumers are still not happy with the speed of their computer. The TV still starts working faster, the washing machine just goes, the PC does not. Stick a CPU meter on your desktop and work away for an hour. The day it never hits 100% then we've reached computing nirvana.

      The CPU is used to it's fullest level by everyone. Being able to cope with the spike in demand is why we need the fast CPU's.

      Also, everyone should bear in mind that there is no inherant speed increase involved with 64-bit computing. Read this [] for a good explaination of 64-bit computing.
    • Re:Honestly.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JWSmythe ( 446288 )
      When I worked in a computer store, 200Mhz was the fastest you could get. We had customers with 386's, 486's (and all the knockoffs like TI, AMD, IBM, and Cyrix), and Pentium's..

      Everyone wants the bigger, better, faster.. We'd have people constantly upgrading from 133Mhz to 150Mhz or 166Mhz..

      I always loved the reaction on customers faces when they went from 133Mhz to 150Mhz. They'd turn on the computer in the showroom area, and say "Wow, it's so much faster." They're judging that by moving the
  • by jbellis ( 142590 ) <jonathan&carnageblender,com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:14PM (#5583537) Homepage
    they're counting on $3000 IA-64 chips to preserve their profit margin, but if 64 bit catches on in the mainstream, they're going to have to follow AMD with x86-64 at much lower margins.
  • Quite correct. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ProtonMotiveForce ( 267027 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:14PM (#5583538)
    64-bit applications are, right now, by definition workstation or server apps. There are already several 64-bit chips for those strata. End of story.

    Almost. Now, you have price and availability. AMD does't have the clout to push Opteron hard enough to move it outside either of those markets (i.e. the desktop market). And even if they do, overall system price at that level isn't determined by processor price. You can get a faster Itanium II, Sparc, or Power chip based system for probably not that much more than you'll get a high end Opteron system.

    Oh, and Opteron doesn't exist and won't in quantity for a long time.

    Lastly, the idea that desktop consumers need 64-bits is a complete joke.
    • Re:Quite correct. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There are some operations though where 64bit is usful. Media editing and encoding is fast becoming a home user activity. 64bit filesystems are almost the norm. Many games use or would benfit from the use of 64bit math.

      The reality of course is that almost all of these operations use FP math anyway, and FP units already do way better than 64bit. So yeah, maybe there is very little use for 64bit on the consumer end. I can't think of many integer operations that would benefit greatly from 64bit operation
      • Re:Quite correct. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bostik ( 92589 )

        There are some operations though where 64bit is usful. Media editing and encoding is fast becoming a home user activity.

        Bingo. Three words: home video editing.

        With the advances of digital photography already pushing regular people and having them deal with large amounts of relatively big files, I really do foresee a close future where digital home videos will be a big thing. Sure, individual flicks won't be that big but once the Joe and Jane Sixpacks start to combine several pieces together... We're

    • A 64 bit hardware clock would be nice - particularly if we get it sometime between now and 2036...(current 32 bit clocks only represent enough seconds to cover 136 years - our current clock is based on 1900, and will roll over in 2036; a 64 bit clock would cover 584,942,417,355 years give or take).

      A true 64 bit bus would allow us to transfer twice as much given the same clock speed, and in addition to the added direct memory addressing would allow video games to reach a new levels of realism (games keep al
  • 64bits OS X (Score:2, Interesting)

    by keeruq ( 171502 )
    Wouldnt it be nice if Apple released new Macs with 64bit PPC970's while Intel think the people arent ready for it..?

  • IBM 386 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dylan2000 ( 592069 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:15PM (#5583549) Homepage
    IBM didn't think we were ready for the 386 either. It was too expensive and way more powerful than anyone needed. That's why Compaq was the first company to make a 386 PC (with MS support) and why IBM found themselves in deep shit.

    It wasn't the death of IBM but it was a major major win for its competitors (yes, MS was a competitor too)
    • Re:IBM 386 (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not quite.

      The 386 had 1 killer feature that had nothing to do with it being 32 bit. That was the virtual 8086 mode missing on the '286 that meant you could multitask DOS apps (in a sane way, unlike the insane hack in OS2 1.x). Had Intel done a 16 bit chip with a virtual x86 mode, everyone would have bought it. When we all started running 32 bit apps, we were all using the 486.
    • Re:IBM 386 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrXym ( 126579 )
      The analogy doesn't really apply. The 386 had tangible benefits for users (real vs protected mode, virtual memory etc.), whereas 64-bit is mainly about having a bigger address space. That's great if you're a running massive database, but for most users the power is wasted especially when the CPU, memory, motherboard etc. will cost armfuls more than their 32-bit counterparts.

      Now obviously 64-bit computing's day will come, but for most people that day is a long way off. Once computers ship with 1-2 gb memor

  • I think the problem is that if microsoft don't adopt opteron then AMD will not get the volumes needed to substantially undercut the price of itanium - if it isn't highly price/performance competitive with intel/sparc then your average linux shops simply won't adopt it.

    So once again microsoft have the power to crush a fantastic new technology before it even gets off the ground .

    like a weight looming overhead - have to say i know that feeling :^)
    • Not entirely (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:32PM (#5583688) Homepage Journal
      The Opteron will still run x86 code fine so a install that will work on any x86 system will still work on the Opteron (although wasting the 64bit capability).

      Although there is a reason it's called Wintel.
    • by 13Echo ( 209846 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:52PM (#5583821) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, but we'll see just how long Microsoft ignores Opteron when everyone starts buying low-cost servers based on Linux and Opteron. They will have no choice but to adopt it. Even then, it will be growing on the desktop.

      Keep in mind that these processors are going to be *replacements* for the current line of consumer-grade AMD stuff... Not Intel server chips. Not SPARC. As long as AMD continues to beat Intel to the punch in terms of performance and features at a low price, I don't think it will be a problem... And that's exactly what they have in mind.
  • article is unclear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thadeusPawlickiROX ( 656505 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:17PM (#5583564)
    I'm a bit confused about this article... it claims
    It has often been said in the PC hardware industry that applications are not demanding enough to drive upgrades. The dilemma of applications makers is they need to produce software that will run on most people's computers at the time it is released. Another problem is that slower machines will still run most applications, albeit slower than optimally. Perhaps AMD and Intel should pay software companies bonuses for releasing CPU-cycle hungry games and applications that simply do not run well on anything but very recent hardware.
    By that reasoning, Intel and AMD, along with other CPU manufacturers, should not have to continue any research on new chips; instead programmers should be optimizing code to run better on the same architecture. And if that was completely true, why would 32 bit be necessary, or 16 for that matter? I think the point would not be to "pay" developers to make software for a new architecture. I think that if there were signifacant advantages to this architecture, it wouldn't be necessary to bribe developers. Also, with most companies going along with whatever viewpoint M$ has, of course there will be some resistance to the new move. Hopefully the linux projects will prove that there is an advantage to the 64 bit, and then Intel be stuck with their foot in their mouth.
  • Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

    by argmanah ( 616458 ) <> on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:17PM (#5583565)
    What to tell the pointy-haired boss:

    Linux finally has a feature M$ Windows doesn't have, 64 bit support! It's why we need to switch all our servers to Linux!
  • Opposite speculation (Score:5, Informative)

    by certron ( 57841 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:17PM (#5583566)
    Here's something in German that you might want to run through:

    Yes, go translate it, unless you can read and understand German, or just don't care to read it. :-)

    4th paragraph under what babelfish translates as "Imbedding"

    "Nevertheless one will not only be able to select to the planned Launch between different 64-Bit-Linuxen. Microsoft announced in the meantime, one day before the planned launching of a vessel, thus on 21 April to bring the Windows-XP-Server-2003-Version out for AMDs 64-Bit-Prozessor officially."

    Looks like the story is still up in the air...
  • by your_mother_sews_soc ( 528221 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:18PM (#5583571)
    Just yesterday a few people suggested on that the next release of OS X, code named 'Panther', may include 64-bit support. Apple may think we're ready.

    But do we need it? Will the benefits outweigh the cost. I think Apple's offloading of CPU tasks to the graphics board for Quartz Extreme is an example of just one of the alternatives for speeding up machines. Offload more tasks to other intelligent subsystems.

    I am ready, since when the 64-bit machines come out I can pick up a 32-bit on the cheap!
    • Maybe it'll be useful for putting obscene amounts of RAM in Shake workstations, or to make spiffy next gen XServes.
      Perhaps they simply want to factor in time to adapt. Remember how long it took to finally switch the OS over to PPC-native entirely?
      Or perhaps it's a "why not" when looking at a new CPU. "Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it". The 970 at least has lots more bandwidth on the bus too, which is perhaps the greater advantage to the media-centric Macintosh.
      That and bragging
    • 64-bitness won't increase speed. It will increase the amount of RAM you can throw at a problem. 48bit drum scans eat lots and lots of RAM, and of you're working with multiple images, you can bump up against Apple's current 1.5GB limit, and then virtual memory kicks in and performance goes to hell.

      64bits on the desktop will be a great and good thing for all sorts of content creation chores.

      SoupIsGood Food
  • It seems to me that moving to a 64 bit instruction set has the potential to really slow down your computer. Every time you add extra bits, you add extra overhead for simple instructions.

    I'd be interested to know how many operations on today's computers actually even use up all 32 bits available to them. I'd expect those situations to be rare: Matrix math operations, some addressing.

    64 bit computing might speed up your data processing if you are a scientist, but it would probably slow down business ap

    • I'd be interested to know how many operations on today's computers actually even use up all 32 bits available to them. I'd expect those situations to be rare: Matrix math operations, some addressing.

      How about every time you load a memory address or deference a pointer, since in 32-bit protected mode all you use is 32-bit addresses.

      And oh, w/64-bit processors come 64-bit pipelines and the ability to use 64-bit instructions and data. The slowdown is nil.
    • In spite of the fact that, as I'm reading this, this post is dubbed "troll" I think it is an intresting post, anyone care to respond intellegetly? I really don't know much about processor arcitecture, so can't really tell if this post is brilliant or FUD.
      • by larien ( 5608 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:38PM (#5583722) Homepage Journal
        It's actually fairly true. If you move to 64-bit computing, registers take up twice as much space, as do some instructions. As a result, you need more memory to cope with the increase in space required. It's not always a doubling; experiences with SPARC (it can run 32-bit & 64-bit natively on the same CPU with backward compatibility to 32-bit programs) show there is an increased memory requirement for running processes.

        People might say that memory is cheap right now, but that's not the problem; the main limitation is the L2 cache; if the core of the process increases in size sufficiently to be larger than cache sizes, performance will suffer. This is partly why Intel is ramping up the L2 cache on Itanium 2; it needs it to keep performance up. The other reason is that it needs to compete with SPARC, Power-4 and PA-RISC in the server space which all have at least 4MB L2 cache, with 8MB being common. IIRC, newer PA-RISC CPUs have 32MB L2 cache (although they are dual-core, so it's really more like 16MB/CPU).

        Fact is, most normal users aren't pushing the envelope of 32-bit computing yet, so consumers don't need 64-bit. It is desperately needed in scientific computing & servers where the 4GB hard limit is becoming a problem, but these are not "normal" users.

        Personally, I'll go to 64-bit (well, other than the Ultra 30 I have) when it's a good idea for me to do so, either because I need the extra address space (unlikely in the short term; I'm hardly using my 768MB at the moment) or the price/performance is right.

    • by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:37PM (#5583712) Homepage Journal
      That's not exactly true. You're forgetting that the entire bus architecture would be 64 bit. There wouldn't be any slowdown since there's no basis for comparison. The upside is that really big (ie. > 4G) file operations and double integer ops should be much faster. Think video and databases for apps that would benefit greatly. I agree that for mom sending email and surfing the web, there's no real incentive to invest in this kind of hardware. However, for data mining, this is a big deal. It'll be interesting to see if a peripheral market develops around the 64 bit arch. Should prove interesting!
  • I Predict: (Score:5, Funny)

    by big_groo ( 237634 ) < minus threevowels> on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:19PM (#5583583) Homepage
    Bill Gates (2003):

    "4GB addressable memory ought to be enough for everyone."

  • by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:20PM (#5583591) Homepage Journal
    The last time we ran this story [], Intel said they were "in no hurry". So I'm not surprised they haven't changed their mind exactly one month later ;-)
  • by asv108 ( 141455 ) <asv&ivoss,com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:20PM (#5583592) Homepage Journal
    I think once the Opteron gets out in the public and people see the advantages of AMD's new chip, MS will be forced to port windows to the new chipset. Linux will be there for release. I think the opteron's growth will be more of a slow and steady climb as people realize the performance benefits rather than a huge initial release. My biggest concern is price, not windows availability. Certainly the opteron will have many advantages and certainly be a bargain over the Itanium [].

    If this current situation shows anything, it is what happens to companies when they make deals with Microsoft. AMD's Chairman and former CEO Jerry Sanders agreed to testify on Bill G's behalf for the antitrust trial as long as MS ported windows to Opteron and Athlon 64.

  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:22PM (#5583603) Journal
    The alternative 64 bit computing article mentioned is inferring that Linux will be the only 64 bit OS & Opteron, the only 64 bit Processor. I think Apple is very close to releasing the PowerPC 970 which is 64 bit (and 32 bit backwards compatible) - the new release of OS X (Panther) Apple WWDC Panter Release [] is most likely a 64 bit compatible implementation of the Mac OS.

    As Apple has always been forward thinking to gain market share and attention, I think this will be yet another rush of sales for them, especially if Intel offerings start to have DRM built into the chips and continue to stretch processor pipelines to absurd stage numbers >20.

  • TCPA/Palladium (Score:2, Interesting)

    by _Pablo ( 126574 )
    I just hope AMD realises that the platform should belong to the owner and keep Opteron/Athlon64 free of TCPA. This together with a Palladium free Linux would be the major reason for me to leave the comfort of the Wintel platform.

    But I fear if AMD state they are remaining TCPA free they've got no chance of seeing a Palladium enabled Windows 200x on Opteron/Athlon64 - goodbye mass(ive) market.
  • by Rorschach1 ( 174480 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:24PM (#5583611) Homepage
    I've got two 64-bit machines at home, myself - an SGI Indigo2 and a DEC AlphaStation 200. Yeah, they're seriously out of date now, but they're still nice little workstations. *nix has been doing just fine on 64 bits for some time now. I do have to put up with all sorts of 'cast to pointer from integer of different size' warnings when I compile stuff, but I'm able to run 99% of the stuff I'd run on an x86 box on the Alpha.
  • So, (Score:4, Funny)

    by jointm1k ( 591234 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:24PM (#5583612)
    Microsoft and Intel think we're not ready for 64 bit systems eh? I bet they think we still are doing just fine with that 640 K RAM. :)
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:25PM (#5583624)
    Its really nice to break the two-gig barrier in program buffers. Sun-SPARC and SGI-MIPS have been 64-bit since 1994.
  • Mandrake.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bush_man10 ( 461952 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:26PM (#5583639) Homepage
    I wanted to find some more information myself about Linux supporting 64-bit processors and this is what I found. Mandrake will have support by early 2003 [], I'm not sure if it's done now or not but it should be nearly done. Redhat is also offering support for the X86-64, check out the news release. [] Personally I think this is a great oppertunity for Linux to catch up to MS in market share. I look forward to upgrading...
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:27PM (#5583649) Homepage Journal
    As I have been MS free since 2000, I really couldn't care less what they do or don't do. As for Intel, here's some news for them, they DO NOT have a monopoly like their special friend. I'll gladly purchase an AMD Opteron to run my shiny new Linux 2.6 kernel sometime this fall while the WinTel boys play their reindeer games. In fact, dare I say it, I'm GLAD this is happening. Hopefully, this will finally show Intel that their future is not tied to MS as it was in the past.
  • Well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by secondsun ( 195377 ) <> on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:29PM (#5583663) Journal
    Do I need 64 bits? No.

    Do I want competition to the Xeon in 4 way systems? (price and spec them, it is insane! 1.6 Ghz and 1200 a pop). Hell^yeah.

    Opteron is not about 64 bits, it is just a nice addition. Opteron is about competition in the low end server/high end desktop market (which is intel dominated btw). The reaosn intel is naysaying 64 bits is because they have no competing thec in this area other than the Xeon which has terrible price/performance numbers.

  • 64bit Game Server (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aliens ( 90441 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:32PM (#5583686) Homepage Journal
    If they're cheap enough, 64bit will help gaming in a big way. The counter-strike team reported a ~30% increase in performance just by recompiling. Granted CS doesn't need a cray to run, but Battlefield 1942 has had some 64 player servers which I believe needed dual Athlons. 64 people is fun, but how bout 128?

    Not only that, but with an (relatively)inexpensive 64bit chip out there I could see more servers popping up to play on. More servers hosting large games would be great! Feed my addiction please.
  • by LinuxParanoid ( 64467 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:33PM (#5583697) Homepage Journal
    Your view of 'when are we ready for 64-bits' largely depends A) on how much money you are willing to spend on RAM and B) how soon your OS supports more than 4 GB of RAM on potential 64-bit hardware (PAE hacks notwithstanding).

    If you're willing to spend $200 for RAM in your system, then when 4 GB of RAM is cheaper than $200, you'll basically be wanting a 64-bit system (PAE hacks notwithstanding).

    With showing 1 GB of PC133 SDRAM going for as little as $120, I'd guess that another 4x drop in RAM prices would lead to substantial consumer demand for 64-bit hardware.** And that doesn't even include the demand for 4+GB RAM now in database applications. Whatever the case, this would seem to be earlier than 2007. Unless Microsoft doesn't get its act together (they were pretty late with 32-bit 386 support, IIRC)... which wouldn't be such a bad thing, for Linux at least. But I wouldn't count on that.


    ** Yes yes, technically you probably need to spend a bit more to get higher density RAM so that you can fill or exceed 4 GB given the limited number of memory slots available in your system.
  • by rkischuk ( 463111 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:39PM (#5583726)
    ...the RIAA and MPAA have issued a joint statement that consumers are not ready for the power of file-sharing networks, and should be content with CDs and DVDs for the foreseeable future.
  • Told us that we weren't ready for the internet, and didn't have a need for fiber optic cable either.
  • Intel doesn't think that we'll be ready for mainstream 64-bit computing until 2007

    I think this is Intel's subtle way of saying that they won't be ready for mainstream 64-bit computing until 2007.
  • 64 bit? Old news. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @12:44PM (#5583765) Homepage
    64 bit server computing has been around for at least a decade. I was using a 64 bit DEC alpha
    box back in 1994. Why is it that whenever middle aged or even old technology appears on in the PC
    world its suddenly a Big Deal? I realise that Joe Sixpack won't have ever heard of 64bit (or probably even be able to spell it)
    but surely the more technologically savvy types who read this site should know better?
    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )
      Why is it that whenever middle aged or even old technology appears on in the PC world its suddenly a Big Deal?
      It's a big deal because your Alpha box was expensive and therefore relatively few people had them.

      Technology isn't just about capability, it's also about capability/cost.

  • Aye. We are ready. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mike9010 ( 641843 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:14PM (#5583959) Homepage
    Are we ready for 64-bit on the desktop? yes. Do we need it? No, but that isn't the point of a lot of computer hobbyists. Most of us don't really need the latest video card from ATi or nVidia. Mose of us don't need the latest processor from AMD or Intel. But we still buy the latest and the greatest. Why? Could be a matter of manhood, or for the woman, womanhood. Whatever reason it is for this phenomenon, there is no doubt that it happens. Yes, we are ready, and no, we don't need it, but the hobbyist will still buy them if the average computer consumer won't.
  • Intel propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:33PM (#5584075)
    What Intel is really saying here is that INTEL isn't ready for mainstream 64-bit computing.

    Both AMD (Hammer) & IBM (PPC970) 64-bit processors will run 32-bit applications with no modification, and at more than full speed, unlike Intel's Itanium processors. By the time Intel gets around to a 'mainstream' 64-bit processor, both AMD & IBM will have years of experience with mainstream 64-bit CPUs, and in the CPU game, experience is invaluable. Then again, watching someone else make the mistakes often has an advantage, too, and I doubt Intel is going out of business anytime soon.
  • by Mulletproof ( 513805 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:47PM (#5584168) Homepage Journal
    I was ready for 64 bit a while ago, bu sadly, the Nintendo 64 didn't live up to my expectations. I'm sure somebody has already put Linux on it though ;)
  • Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:49PM (#5584180) Homepage Journal
    Intel has worked out that their Itantium/Pentium performance/cost manufacturing curves cross in 2007.

    Also, asking the question presupposes there's an answer. "Mom, are you ready for 64-bit computing?" "64 what?" Most people don't know or care what their system architecture is, they just want their apps to work.

    Which is why 2007 is really too late - we need a 64-bit time_t in production by 2007 so that 30-year mortgages can be properly calculated. (32-bit time_t values run out in 2038) Remember, that's how the Y2K problem was 'discovered'. If Y2K is any gauge, 4 years is about how long people will need to get all the systems fixed, so we ought to be getting started just about now.

    Thanks, Apple.
  • by ceswiedler ( 165311 ) <> on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:50PM (#5584687)
    The thing AMD needs to do is put 16 or 32 DIMM slots in the motherboard for their 64-bit processor. As many others have pointed out, RAM is dirt cheap for up to 1GB DIMMs. I could buy a 64-bit processor and motherboard plus 32GB of RAM for a reasonable sum.

    That's 32 gigabytes. Just the disk caching speedups alone would be worthwhile. My firm belief is the only reason these huge RAM sizes aren't common is the 4GB physical / 3GB per process limits of current 32 bit OSs.
  • Two Words (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dlakelan ( 43245 ) <dlakelan @ s t r e e t> on Monday March 24, 2003 @03:20PM (#5584951) Homepage
    Garbage Collection

    "Real Languages" use garbage collection (ha, just trolling).

    Seriously, the ability to use an address space that is gignormous is really worth a lot for garbage collection algorithms. For example, you can allocate into reserved portions of the address space and then the type of an object can be determined by its location. You can also use copying collectors without a big hit. Reserving half your address space for copying sucks at 2GB, it doesn't matter much for 17179869184 GB.

    Also the "single address space" operating system concept needs more research. However, to get that research going now would require low cost plentiful hardware.

    The fact is, there are tons of useful reasons to have 64 bits, we just don't know what they are because we haven't had 64 bits on a commodity platform.

    If you have 64 bit addresses and about 1GB of flash RAM, you can completely avoid all the trouble of traditional filesystems. Have your OS use the disk like one big area of RAM, buffer into the NV RAM, keep all the metadata in NV ram, and use a journaled approach for metadata. Speed and simplicity instead of B-trees and inodes and such.

    There are all kinds of reasons for 64 bit.
  • by innovate64 ( 638971 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @03:28PM (#5585002) Journal
    Convenient that Intel thinks widespread demand for 64-bit won't occur until 2007 since they don't have a 64-bit desktop processor and Itanium tanked. AMD knows better. Check out their Studio64 which has quotes from tech leaders, analysts, press, etc. on when 64-bit will hit big and what this means for you and me:,,7832_8366_7823 ,00.html
  • by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @04:00PM (#5585251) Homepage
    While most people don't need over 4GB of RAM, having 64 bits can make life much easier for programmers and provide significant performance advantages. For example, no more relocation will need to occur for shared libraries. Every library could be mapped to a unique address without worry of address clashes so no relocation is necessary (although one of the benefits of the Opteron is better support for relocatable code in 64-bit mode).

    Memory mapped files could be the norm. Handling large files becomes much simpler, especially random access.


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