To 64-bit or not to 64-bit?

By Julio Franco
Jul 28, 2003
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  1. For the past year we have been hearing a lot more of 64-bit as the next big step in personal computing. Put in simple terms, going 64-bit would double the amount of data a CPU can process per clock cycle.

    It's true a 64-bit desktop computer won't make your word processing program run faster (sorry, you're the bottleneck in that equation). But a 64-bit chip has the power to dramatically improve the performance of your more demanding applications, such as audio and video encoding, complex engineering programs like CAD, and--of course--games. And in the long term, 64-bit computing will give programmers much more power to play with, and could revolutionize what desktop software can do.

    Intel has been offering Itaniums to the server and workstation markets for some time now, we all know AMD Opterons are available already & AMD's next mainstream piece, the Athlon 64 will arrive later this year. PC World has an article explaining short and long-term advantages we are most likely to see with the arrival of the next generation of desktop computers.
  2. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 Newcomer, in training Posts: 6,504

    It will take some time for this technology to mature. CPUs have been 32-bit in PCs for years now, since chips were around that were A LOT less complex than the sorts of things we have now. 64-bit is a long journey that will go on for a long, long time.

    What that also means is that it may be years and years before you really see what 64-bit can do.

    But one thing is for sure - its the future, and its coming.
  3. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 6,520   +311

    I agree... short term advantages for 64-bit CPUs will be seen in the next 2-3 years, which isn't a lifetime after all. Like that article points out however, gamers are most likely the first to see the advantages the more advanced technology will bring.
  4. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 730

  5. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 837

    I think we'll first need to see 64 bit drivers before we get the full effect of 64 bit, but before that the 64 bit OS and then 64 bit apps will come out.
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 Newcomer, in training Posts: 6,504

    Re: no, phant

    I am sure that you WILL notice some improvements, yes, given operating system and software that can exploit this.

    But the real leaps will come some day down the road. Don't expect the world of computing to change overnight.
  7. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 730

    yes, i agree to an extent

    but, i feel something exponential here
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 Newcomer, in training Posts: 6,504

    Yeah, I'm mildly excited too. But don't get caught up in the hype.

    Not just JSR... All of you! Don't get caught up in the hype...!

    And certainly don't rush out and buy the first thing that says 64-bit on it!
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