64 Bit Computing - What happened?

DarkSideA8

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When AMD first announced they were coming out with the AMD 64 chips I thought this would herald in a new stage of computing, leaving the limitations of 32 bit computing behind (while being backwards compatible, so users didn't lose out on their "old" (but still useful) 32 bit applications). I expected a solid 64 bit operating system and 64 bit programs to follow, and 64 bit peripherals to round out the whole mix. I figured the whole industry would move forward and that the increased potential would result in far more interesting and useful content.

Yet that doesn't seem to be the case. I am still running 32 bit applications on a 32 bit OS (I know that a 64 bit OS is available) with a computer that uses a 64 bit processor. Admittedly, I like my system. But now, several years after the "promise" of 64 bit computing appeared on the horizon - it looks like it is still on the horizon.

So what happened to 64 bit applications? What happened to content designed to take advantage of the now available potential? Take games for instance; shouldn't we be seeing more intensive and realistic physics and lighting being used, more complex AI instructions, while still enjoying even greater detail, larger maps and higher framerates (I know this last is largely dependent upon the GPU) in programs using the capabilities of 64 bit computing where the programmers are not limited to 32 bit programming?

Any thoughts?
 

osalcido

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no its not useless

anyone who has run ie64 as compared to ie32 knows theres a speed difference even in that very low-resource app
 

MrFace

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To add to my statement...I mean this.

Graphics cards are already above 64-bit....

There just really isn't enything beneficial from 64-bit processors right now for the mainstream audience, therefore, nobody is going to go out of their way to tkae full advantage of 64-bit.
 

MrFace

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osalcido said:
no its not useless

anyone who has run ie64 as compared to ie32 knows theres a speed difference even in that very low-resource app

Runs the same speed for me on my computer :)
 

(cf)Eclipse

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MrFace said:
There just really isn't enything beneficial from 64-bit processors right now for the mainstream audience, therefore, nobody is going to go out of their way to tkae full advantage of 64-bit.
that's sorta a catch-22..

nobody will do anything about it until they do something about it really. :rolleyes:
 

VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVI

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When the A64 was announced plenty of people mentioned that it was not going to be some panacea, and there was really little point to all the hype and bandwagoning. It was certainly a brilliant move on the part of AMD to get more people interested in their products.
 

FreiDOg

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A small perofrmance gain (on average) for a small user segment (no mainstream 64 bit OS, linux is good, but it's not a major target for most off the shelf software right now - especially games) at the expense of a nontrivial investment in time, money and effort (32 bit binaries run everywhere, 64 bit don't).

64 bit for the desktop has always been long on marketing, short on substance.
 

neo86

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As far the as the normal user is conerned... 64 bit is useless. There are people who could see benefit from it, but the majority of people wouldn't care or notice.
 

perryinva

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to 64 bit XP Pro? What is the advantage? The usefulness of A64 actually is moot, just like PCI-e is moot over AGP, or AT MB over ATX MB....if you want a blazing machine, you HAVE to go 64 bit processor on a 64 bit ATX MB, with PCI-E, there are no 32 bit , AT AGP counterparts as fast with the same features, so really "Who cares if you are using the 64 bit part of the new advanced design?" All I know is my new Opteron 165 SCREAMS in all the old apps, and the MB is by far the most solid I've ever owned.
 

CrimandEvil

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Obi_Kwiet said:
Also, programers are lazy. Wait for Vista.
Yup except isn't Vista suppose to ship as a 32-bit binary with a 64-bit binary to follow later in the year?

I agree that, as far as I understand it, 64-bits is mostly useless for most people. IMO the ones that see any sort of benefits from 64-bits computing is the server market.
more complex AI
If by "complex" you mean decent then yes I whole heartly agree, I want decent AI in games too.
 

visaris

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I've said this before but everytime someone says that 64-bit is "useless" I feel the need to say it again.

100% of my OS and 100% of my apps are running in native 64-bit mode, and the speed improvment is easy to quantify. Anyone who says that 64-bit doesn't do anything is probably a windows gamer; there is a lot more to [H]ard computing than windows games.
 

CrimandEvil

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visaris said:
100% of my OS and 100% of my apps are running in native 64-bit mode, and the speed improvment is easy to quantify. Anyone who says that 64-bit doesn't do anything is probably a windows gamer; there is a lot more to [H]ard computing than windows games.
I've tried setting up XP64 on an HTPC and it failed hard, most of the typical HTPC (or media apps in general) ran terrible on it. I have no idea why but this is something that comes up a lot so I guess the apps haven't been tested in XP64 yet but the point is it's not only "windows gamers" that have issues with XP64. :rolleyes:
 

tsuehpsyde

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I've used both 32-bit apps and 64-bit apps, namely in Linux because Windows 64-bit is lol @ best. 64-bit is ALOT faster, and far from useless. The hinderance here is that most of the market is 32-bit still, so, why would you devote all of your resources to building 64-bit when you're catering to the few? Just doesn't make sense, people.

Wait until Vista, 64-bit should get a hard kick in the ass with it. I honestly think they should scrap 32-bit Vista and make people adopt 64-bit, but that's just me. Problem is, most of you kids don't remember the 16-bit days, just always used Windows and assumed it's been 32-bit since the dawn of time. :p Silly kids.

 

DeadlyAura

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I have Xp x64 and all my apps are 32bit...

What apps are in 64 bit? I have noticed that Windows itself runs a bit faster, but none of my apps. Is there anyway to make a 32bit app run in 64bit mode or what?

If not, what apps are there for 64 bit and where can I get them?
 

HOCP4ME

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I think we will start seeing 64-bit be used to provide a moderate performance increase when Vista is released. If Microsoft decides to release 32-bit first and 64-bit later, however, that would be a huge mistake. Why would they do that when both Intel and AMD processors have been 64-bit enabled for a long time now? If they delayed th 64-bit version, it would turn out like XP64, with no driver support, no apps, and only appealing to a very small niche market. I tried XP64 and it didn't work (was unstable in Prime 95 only when I was connected to dial-up internet...go figure). I ended up switching back to regular Win XP (I did my own sort of license transfer by putting away the XP64 disk and using someone else's Win XP disk. Hey, I did pay for a license, and there is no way I would have gotten Microsoft to change it to a 32-bit license. Actually, the XP64 license costed $155 whereas the Win XP license costed $150, so Microsoft now owes me $5 plus tax :p)


But yes, 64-bit has been acting a bit like Polaris when seen from the equator (first one to figure that out AND tell me what type of literary device it is gets a cookie :p ).
 

DeadlyAura

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HOCP4ME said:
But yes, 64-bit has been acting a bit like Polaris when seen from the equator (first one to figure that out AND tell me what type of literary device it is gets a cookie :p ).

When viewed from the equartor, Polaris (the north star) appears to not move. Everything revolves around it. Like 64bit computing is there but unmoving while everything around it does move.

And it is a simile I believe because it is using the word like to compare 64bit processing and Polaris.

PS. You owe me a cookie. :D

PPS. You can post mark that cookie and ship it to Nick Clark. I'll PM you the rest of the details. :p
 

The Cobra

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Windows Vista will ship with both 32 and 64 bit code on the install CD / DVD. They have already stated this in the public mode.
 

seanmcd

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I ran x64 Windows for about four months. I can attest to the fact that I myself experienced zero tangible improvements over 32bit. I did notice it said x64 on the boot splash screen, but other than that I didn't notice the difference. I was unable to run a few 32bit apps, so I went back to the 32bit world after a hardware change. I guess the gains will be felt many moons from now with 64 bits. The hardware is definitely out-pacing the software...
 

defaultluser

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The 32-bit 386 processor, introduced by Intel in 1986, wasn't really put to good use until Windows 3.0 was released in May 1990.

This is despite the fact that Microsoft released Windows/386 in 1987, which was a Windows 2.0 enhanced with support for multiple DOS sessions.

Why?

Because there were a limited number of people who needed to use more than the 16MB of memory supported by the 286. Because the applications just weren't there, due to the architecture being too new.

Windows XP 64 is like Windows/386. It is a NECESSARY step in the right direction, but it is ultimately not the destination for 64-bit computing. Vista is more the destination for 64-bit computing. Vista is much like Windows 3.0: it will make or break on the need for 64-bit (>4GB ram), and the prevalance of machines with 64-bit support.

Still, Windows 3.0 was flexible, supporting 286 processors in real mode, and old 8 and 16-bit programs thanks to the 386's compatibility modes. Vista will also be flexible, supporting older 32-bit processors, and also supporting 32-bit compatibility modes on 64-bit processors. This kind of smooth transition should encourage people to step up to 64-bit, and more people running 64-bit means more 64-bit native programs.

But don't get your hopes up. 64-bit offers no magical performance enhancement. Normally, moving to 64-bit actually REDUCES performance on the same architecture due to larger pointers, but the 8 extra registers of x86-64 actually nullify any performance losses (and sometimes turn a small performance gain). But don't expect miracles; x86-64 was seen as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. They cleaned up the messy x86 architecture, and broke the 4GB barrier, all with one architecture.
 

DarkSideA8

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defaultluser's post makes sense. So if I understand you (and others);
1. Vista is supposed to be the first general purpose OS released to the general public that natively enables the capabilities of 64 bit computing.
2. Vista must become the standard, (thus breaching the 4GB barrier for the general user), before software producers will write programs that need/use the expanded capabilities of 64 bit computing.

Or in other words,

64 bit computing is still only a niche market of enthusiasts and until the bean counters at most software houses see the average Dell / AOL user wanting 64 bit apps, we're not going to see anything pushing beyond the 32 bit capability threshold. :rolleyes:

Okay, maybe that's too cynical. I had hoped (from looking at early reports of the CryEngine and FarCry back in the day) that high-end software scribes were champing at the bit for access to the greater computing potential offered by 64 bit systems, and that once they started writing kick-a$s software folks would start buying 64 bit systems and demanding drivers / content / performance that utilized the potential. I guess this is like replacing your go-cart engine with a V-8 - lots of power potential, revving the engine sounds cool, but until we beef up the suspension, transmission, tires, etc., our actual performance gains will be minimal.
 

rayman2k2

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I refuse to accept the existence of 64bit computing. Thus, it does not exist to me.
 

texuspete00

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Significantly faster my ass. There is very few geek reasons for it to be faster. You'll feel it when we need the ram. Until then it's placebo effect or a better OS. The End.
 

visaris

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texuspete00 said:
Significantly faster my ass. There is very few geek reasons for it to be faster. You'll feel it when we need the ram. Until then it's placebo effect or a better OS. The End.

I feel it on my dev box with 2GB of ram. Some apps are slower, some are up to 20% faster. It all depends on what you do. Double the GPRs when in 64-bit mode does help a little : )

You are correct that the 4GB limit is the major boost though. However, there are a couple of servers we run with 32GB, and at least two of our workstations have (and use) 16GB.

I suppose the dekstop doesn't need 64-bit for a while longer, but there is nothing wrong with being future-proof.
 

MetalX

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The 64-bit aspect of Athlon64's are mute really. It's the countless other core enhancements over the K7 that created the performance leap, nothing to do with it being 64-bit. I love trying to explain this to non-tech savy folks when suggesting a new processor.
 

Obi_Kwiet

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rayman2k2 said:
I refuse to accept the existence of 64bit computing. Thus, it does not exist to me.


So, you're willingly delusional? Not bad. I'm going to will me up an Xfire MoBo and an X1800XT master card.
 

rayman2k2

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Obi_Kwiet said:
So, you're willingly delusional? Not bad. I'm going to will me up an Xfire MoBo and an X1800XT master card.



I'll do it for you


...

...

...


it's at the door with Jessica Alba, go answer it.
 

defaultluser

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DarkSideA8 said:
defaultluser's post makes sense. So if I understand you (and others);
1. Vista is supposed to be the first general purpose OS released to the general public that natively enables the capabilities of 64 bit computing.
2. Vista must become the standard, (thus breaching the 4GB barrier for the general user), before software producers will write programs that need/use the expanded capabilities of 64 bit computing.

Or in other words,

64 bit computing is still only a niche market of enthusiasts and until the bean counters at most software houses see the average Dell / AOL user wanting 64 bit apps, we're not going to see anything pushing beyond the 32 bit capability threshold. :rolleyes:

Okay, maybe that's too cynical. I had hoped (from looking at early reports of the CryEngine and FarCry back in the day) that high-end software scribes were champing at the bit for access to the greater computing potential offered by 64 bit systems, and that once they started writing kick-a$s software folks would start buying 64 bit systems and demanding drivers / content / performance that utilized the potential. I guess this is like replacing your go-cart engine with a V-8 - lots of power potential, revving the engine sounds cool, but until we beef up the suspension, transmission, tires, etc., our actual performance gains will be minimal.

Yup, unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

Adoption of a new architecture that %90 of the desktop computing world uses (with backward compatibility) is a slow 3-step process:

1. Transition everyone to the new architecture seamlessly while still providing high performance for the existing architecture. The 386 did this, and so do the Athlon 64 / Pentium IV / Core 2. At this point in time, transitional OSes such as WinXP 64 and small-market OSes such as Linux may provide support for the new architecture, but it does not affect the majority of users.

2. Once the market has been silently flooded with machines that support both the new and old archirectures, release a solid OS that encourages application developers to create programs for the new architecture.

3. Sit back and relax as developers create programs utilizing the new architecture, and look forward to the next OS release, which can use the new architecture almost exclusively.

Step 1, as you might expect, takes the longest. Luckly, we are less than a year from step 2.
 

Nicker2009

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my thought on this is amd 64 bit cpu is a step toard the future but will not be used to its full potential untill it is countered by a 64 bit intel cpu. not saying intel is good because its not at all. (its the devil). but thats what most of america uses. its like linux. so many more oputunitys and so much more stable but its not what the world wants at this point in time so there is not a high enough demand for the applications.
 

DarkSideA8

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defaultluser said:
Adoption of a new architecture that %90 of the desktop computing world uses (with backward compatibility) is a slow 3-step process:

1. Transition everyone to the new architecture seamlessly while still providing high performance for the existing architecture. The 386 did this, and so do the Athlon 64 / Pentium IV / Core 2. At this point in time, transitional OSes such as WinXP 64 and small-market OSes such as Linux may provide support for the new architecture, but it does not affect the majority of users.

2. Once the market has been silently flooded with machines that support both the new and old archirectures, release a solid OS that encourages application developers to create programs for the new architecture.

3. Sit back and relax as developers create programs utilizing the new architecture, and look forward to the next OS release, which can use the new architecture almost exclusively.

Step 1, as you might expect, takes the longest. Luckly, we are less than a year from step 2.

Based on this, and what I have read elsewhere (partly captured by wiki, which gets better all the time... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit ) It looks like 5+ years before 64 bit computing begins to show its true potential. (1-3 years to Vista implementation (Vista gets measurable to significant marketshare), 2-3 years before 64 bit (32 bit compatible) programs have a measurable marketshare, 5+ years before 64 bit (not 32 bit compatible) programs emerge (in any significant number) that need a 64 bit OS/ system...)

Vista will support 64 bit, but the emulation or continued use of 32 bit programs will slow implementation / transition to true 64 bit computing as a standard.

Actually, it looks like we will have to wait for Vista's successor OS for the technology to mature (or, rather, by the time the hardware/software market shifts to need / use 64 bits in any significant percentage of the western computer / software market, MS will offer another OS built on the lessons learned from Vista). Or put another way, the potential will be realized when folks stop writing programs for a 32 bit OS just as no one writes programs for 16 bit OSs today...

Baseline guess at this point... 5-10 years.
 

savantu

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Nicker2009 said:
my thought on this is amd 64 bit cpu is a step toard the future but will not be used to its full potential untill it is countered by a 64 bit intel cpu. not saying intel is good because its not at all. (its the devil). but thats what most of america uses. its like linux. so many more oputunitys and so much more stable but its not what the world wants at this point in time so there is not a high enough demand for the applications.

How old are you ?
 
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