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Intel: No Rush to 64-bit Desktop

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the no-need-for-speed dept.

Intel 616

An anonymous reader writes "Advanced Micro Devices and Apple Computer will likely tout that they can deliver 64-bit computing to desktops this year, but Intel is in no hurry. Two of the company's top researchers said that a lack of applications, existing circumstances in the memory market, and the inherent challenges in getting the industry and consumers to migrate to new chips will likely keep Intel from coming out with a 64-bit chip--similar to those found in high-end servers and workstations--for PCs for years."

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Kreskin and "Hypno Duck" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369485)

What do you get when you cross <a href="http://www.amazingkreskin.com/">Kreskin</a&g t;
the magician with an insurance-peddling
duck? "Hypno Duck" -- The latest AFLAC commercial. This spot received the highest
consumer recall score for television ads in the bi-weekly
Intermedia consumer survey. Our congratulations to Kreskin, star of AFLAC.
Many will recall the Amazing Kreskin as being the
omniscient seer who
correctly predicted the
<a href="http://bsd.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5465 3&cid=5355588">death of *BSD.</a>

First Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369486)

Hey I got firt post bitch!

first 64-bit post (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369487)

12345678

wow 64 bits

amd get leap on intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369492)

there are migration issues, but 16 -> 32 bit happened quite smoothly.
AMD will maybe get a leap on Intel here.

Re:amd get leap on intel? (1, Interesting)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369530)

No need for the move from 32 to 64 yet:

Another technique for expanding the memory capacity of current 32-bit chips is through physical memory addressing, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst of Mercury Research. This involves altering the chipset so that 32-bit chips could handle longer memory addresses. Intel has in fact already done preliminary work that would let its PC chips handle 40-bit addressing, which would let PCs hold more than 512GB of memory, according to papers published by the company.

Oh wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369549)

Intel has rewarmed segmented memory. Great, thanks, just what we need in 2003. More hacks that we'll have to work around in 5 years time in order to remain backwards compatible. Man, I can't wait!

Re:amd get leap on intel? (3, Interesting)

xyote (598794) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369551)

That would be the MMU or virtual memory stuff. The address translation tables would be able to address more than 32 bits of memory, but any program or the kernel would still only be able to see or address 32 bits of memory. Like sticking two pc's next to each other. Between them, they would be able to address or access 33 bits of memory, but any one program would only see at most 32 bits.

Dovetails with HyperThreading? (1)

mmol_6453 (231450) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369629)

If a process can only see a certain fraction of the memory, it would make sense, regardless of how large that fraction is, to make memory intensive applications like web servers and simulations multiprocess, right?

Well, isn't that one of the things HT makes more efficient?

Re:amd get leap on intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369575)

This involves altering the chipset so that 32-bit chips could handle longer memory addresses.

This is just going to be Extended Memory all over again, isn't it?

EMM386? Segment:Offset? (1)

hoegh (306704) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369604)

This gives me a bad case of deja vu. I still remember all to well the problems of 16 bit processor and the attempt to expand the address-range when 16-bit addressing became too big a constraint.

First there were the segment/offset addressing, which is bad enough. Then came extended/expanded memory and all its quirks og incompatibilities.

Lets not do that again. For most computers 32-bit linear addressing will still be enough for a while (remember, noone will ever need more than 64MB of RAM *grin*) - and for those who actually needs more than the 32-bit architecture can provide not going for the full monty of 64 bit will not be an issue.

The problem with PAE (5, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369613)

The Intel answer allows for a chip to have more than 4G of physical memory in much the same way the old LIM EMS boards allowed a 8086 to have more than 1M of memory - it is a form of bank switching.

True, you could have a PIII with 10G of memory on it (in theory, anyway), but this would not help you for the common applications for which you need these quantities of memory - databases, video editing and so on.

In those tasks, you have ONE program that needs lots of memory. You ideally want to be able to take a multi-gigabyte file, and mmap() it so that it appears to your program to be just a stretch of memory. Then you can access the file with a simple pointer, and moving within the file is nothing more than pointer manipulation. You don't have to worry about paging the file in and out - that is the OS's virtual memory manager's problem.

PAE won't help you in those cases. At best, you can back some of the buffer cache with the PAE memory, creating in effect a glorified RAM disk.

PAE is great if you have a machine running hundreds of processes, each of which takes 100M of space. But this usually is NOT the case.

Just as machines with more than 1M of memory started out the providence of the high-end user and slowly moved down, 64 bit address space on the desktop will start out the providence of the high-end folks first, then will move down as it becomes more common.

I would guess the likely sequence will be something like:

1) We *nix folks had it first - I was running 64 bits on my Alpha years ago. But we are not "the masses", and so will be ignored by the mainstream.
2) The Macs will be next - Apple will port MacOS X to the newer 64 bit Power chips. This will greatly simplify video editing - one of Apples favorite areas to compete in. 64 bit Apple will make the Mac the chosen platform for video editing of large files (NOTE: a 40 minute capture from my Firewire camcorder is a couple of gig - so already the home consumer is getting close to needing this.)
3) Windows will finally release a 64 bit OS (also note: they could have done this YEARS ago under Alpha, but didn't - Windows NT under Alpha only could access a 32 bit address space.) Microsoft will hail this as a revolutionary breakthrough - "Windows AYCABTU is the first 64 bit OS for the home user!" *nix and Apple users will scratch their heads in puzzlement.

4 GB is not a lot of memory (5, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369496)

Right now 4 GB of memory might be enough. But switching to 64 bit when we are already hitting the wall is not an option. The point with going to 64 bits now is that we can add memory past 4 GB without the headaches of moving to a new platform, since the transition is already done.

If Intel keeps on braking a lot of people will get really disappointed when they realize they need more memory than their platform supports.

Re:4 GB is not a lot of memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369533)

of course it is not enough for M$ future applications!!!

Re:4 GB is not a lot of memory (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369561)

Somehow Microsoft will find a way to make word take 2.4gigs of ram... so they can make money off their investments ;P and perpetuate the bug making machine which is microsoft

Re:4 GB is not a lot of memory (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369535)

Is this going to be the next "640K ought to be enough for anybody" quote?
"It could be the end of the decade" before mainstream desktops need more than 4GB of memory, one of the chief reasons to move to 64-bit chips, Justin Rattner...

Re:4 GB is not a lot of memory (5, Funny)

JWhitlock (201845) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369649)

Right now 4 GB of memory might be enough. But switching to 64 bit when we are already hitting the wall is not an option. The point with going to 64 bits now is that we can add memory past 4 GB without the headaches of moving to a new platform, since the transition is already done.

Oh, come on! Don't you want the fun of playing with the 64-bit equivalent of extended and expanded memory? Endless tinkering of autoexec.bat and config.sys! Endless reboots! Doom 3 runs in it's own operating system (the way God intended)!

Bring on the half-ass memory solutions! We should be deep in flavor-country by 2005.

Re:4 GB is not a lot of memory (0, Troll)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369667)

If Intel keeps on braking a lot of people will get really disappointed when they realize they need more memory than their platform supports.

My God! Have you told Intel this? By listening to their industry experts instead of you they could be loosing billions.
You better mail Craig.Barrett@intel.com [intel.com] as soon as possible.

Eat my mommas (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369497)

Eat my mommas cunt ridden smelly panties! heh heh eat that cmdrtaco!

Of course... (5, Insightful)

Lynn Benfield (649615) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369498)

They're hardly likely to talk up the benefits of 64-bits on the desktop when their current 64-bit chip is so unsuitable. As and when they have an equivalent to AMD/Apple on the desktop, you can be sure they'll be more than happy to sing its praises.

What's interesting is the "nobody really needs 4Gb this decade" line. Just about every Mac in this room has 1Gb in it, and even the crappy test PC has 768Mb. 4Gb will be here sooner rather than later...

Re:Of course... (2, Interesting)

Duds (100634) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369516)

I did some maths.

As a semi-future-proofing-power-user. I built a PC in 1998. I put in 256MB RAM to try to keep it running as long as possible. That's price-equivilent to 2GB at todays prices.

It's really not going to be long before the geeks feel they need to do so.

Re:Of course... (2, Informative)

solidox (650158) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369559)

they should just cut the crap and bring out 1024bit cpu's, that way they won't have to worry about upping to 128bit cpu's however many years down the line.

Re:Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369579)

if we'd use 1024 bit cpu's, each part of memory would also have a 1024 bit address. using 1024 bits to point to 8 isn't that effective

Re:Of course... (3, Funny)

tunah (530328) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369681)

Alright, mister smart guy, what happens when we need more than 171 googol googol googol megabytes of RAM??? If Moore's law holds for RAM too, that's only gonna take...

Err... 1500 years, give or take. Never mind.

Re:Of course... (1)

TonyMillion (545370) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369595)

you do realise its not just about the address bus, but about the register size and databus which are much more important (in terms of both large calculations done in a single instruction and the amount of data that the cpu can fetch from memory in one go) I know Pentiums and PowerPC (MPX) have 64Bit Data buses, and the G4 has a 36Bit (64Gig of ram) address bus. But when they talk about 64Bit CPUs' they aren't talking about address busses.

Re:Of course... (2, Insightful)

Kanasta (70274) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369632)

Aah, but the question is, when will mainstream PCs need more than 4GB?

I'm seeing 256MB std now, so I think we're still 3-5yrs away...

New operating sytems will change Intel's tune? (4, Interesting)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369636)

I think Intel is currently dismissing 64-bit computing except for specialized needs because the vast majority of current mainstream software doesn't support 64-bit operations.

But I think that will change almost overnight once operating software that supports the Athlon 64/Opteron becomes widely available. We know that Linux is being ported to run in native Athlon 64/Opteron mode as I type this; I also believe that Microsoft is working on an Athlon 64/Opteron compatible version of Windows XP that will be available by time the Athlon 64 is released in circa September 2003 (we won't see the production version of Windows Longhorn until at least the late spring of 2004 (IMHO), well after the new AMD CPU's become widely available).

Re:Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369657)

But many folks are missing the following:
Consider the case with the Linux kernel
The OS eats up about 1Gb of your address space (3Gb to 4Gb). If you rely on dynamic libs, they typically load in the 2Gb-3Gb area -- you can statically link and get much of that back. So you only really see about 2 to 2.6Gb usable address space. Granted I write some large fluid modelling stuff so I'm not joe-sixpack writing in M$-Weird or doing exHel spreadsheets, but I crack my head on the ceiling if I don't watch it carefully.

The article points out a chicken-egg ... is there no 64 bit software because there's not 64 bit HW on the desktop or vice versa?

Well... (4, Funny)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369499)

...I'm glad Intel just kept AMD afloat...

No surprise (1, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369500)

64-bit computing has been around forever, just not on the PC platform. It's really not a big deal. And as for the desktop? There's no need whatsoever, as any performance benefits will be offset by the cost of change. I'm sure the Quake-playing twits will scream bloody murder, but the rest of us won't even notice.

Re:No surprise (0, Funny)

palad1 (571416) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369547)

I'm sure the Quake-playing twits will scream bloody murder, but the rest of us won't even notice.

What? no 64btis porcessor for my l33t skllz? WE W4NT TEH MURDER!! KILL KILL KILL!

There.
---
If we want 64bits processors for gaming, we just need to unleash John Carmack and his dreaded .plan ;)

You forget... (5, Insightful)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369590)

And as for the desktop? There's no need whatsoever,
In the beginning, no one really needed a PC either. It is not need that drives the tech market, its want.

Slashdot celebrates Negro Month: Sammy Davis Jr. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369502)

Sammy Davis Jr.

On November 19, 1954, the career of Sammy Davis Jr. almost came to a sudden and tragic close. While driving to Los Angeles to record the title tune of the Universal International picture "Six Bridges to Cross", Sammy was the victim of an automobile smash-up and narrowly escaped death. He was so seriously injured that his left eye had to be removed. In spite of the terrible shock, Sammy rallied and went on with his work; he even insisted that he was the "luckiest guy in the world".

Since his accident, Sammy's courageous spirit and ever-growing talent have won him increasingly enthusiastic audiences. Let's hear it for Sammy Davis Jr. !

Celebrate Negro Month 2003 with Slashdot.

Apple is already RISC... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369508)

unless i'm mistaken, hasnt apple been risc based for a while..? yet it says "Advanced Micro Devices and Apple Computer will likely tout that they can deliver 64-bit computing to desktops this year"
i'm pretty sure the g3 and g4 (maybe even the 603 and 604) were already 64-bit...long before AMD and Intel decided to defect from their trusty CISC chips. i might be mistaken.

Re:Apple is already RISC... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369521)

RISC != 64 bit
idiot.

Re:Apple is already RISC... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369534)

You are correct. Even the 603 was RISC, and that goes back to the mid 90s.

Watch as the rest of the world plays catch up to Apple again

Re:Apple is already RISC... (5, Informative)

hak hak (640274) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369544)

There exist two versions of the PowerPC instruction set, one 32-bit and one 64-bit. The processors currently in use are all 32-bit, and the new 64-bit ones will be a superset of the 32-bit ones (and can execute 32-bit code natively).

RISC vs. CISC (5, Informative)

ebbomega (410207) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369663)

A little bit of computer engineering here for you...

RISC and CISC are the two main forms of processors out there these days. RISC simply means that an operation instruction is embedded with both the opcode and the operands. A CISC chip is one in which the opcode tends to be the first instruction processed and the operands are the next couple of instructions inputted.

My CMPT 150 course (introduction to Computer Design) was done entirely with a Motorola HC11 Processor emulator, which is a CISC processor.

The advantage to RISC processing is that you can put in "Pipelining", which basically means a buffer for all data throughout the CPU at different levels. Now, this means that a single chunk of opcode/operand takes x clock cycles to process (x being the number of levels you have to your pipeline), but it also allows the processor to do multiple things at once, so that after the first instruction goes through to the last buffer, there's one waiting right after it for the next clock cycle, so a RISC processor can give a new CPU instruction with every single clock cycle.

Confused yet? Let me put it this way...

Pretend that your CPU is a plumbing system, with water streaming through hot and cold pipes to deliver a prefered temperature for the water. Now, the water temperatures are your CPU data (signals, bits, whatever...) and your pipes are your cpu circuitry.

Now, you want to send a big chunk of hot water down to the bottom of your pipe system using a bunch of intermediary valves (or/and/not/xor gates) and a specific pathway (Let's not ask why, let's just assume you want to do that). Now, say right after that you want to send a bunch of cold water down a similar path, but not necessarily the same path, however you will want to use some of the same pipes.

Now, with a CISC processor, what you would do is you would send down the hot water, occasionally storing it in some pipes whilst you send down the cold water, and the sheer design of the system would keep the Hot and Cold waters seperate and you would be able to output your hot water, and then output your cold water, once they have gone through their systematic storages and movements around.

The annoying thing about this is you need a sophisticated CPU to do it. And you need a bunch of clock cycles to open and close the valves and whatnot and finally get your desired output.

Now, a RISC processor does something a bit smarter.... It throws your hot water in (First clock cycle) and just lets the valves automatically trickle to the bottom, and then, on the second clock cycle, send the cold water down. The downside of this is the fact that your single clock cycle is going really slow, which means you have a big lineup of people requesting hot and cold water and they have to wait for it to come out (Lag, for those taking notes in computer-world).

So, we instate pipelining.

Pipelining is a bunch of basins (let's say 4) that appear at different levels of the pipe system.

So, you dump your hot water in the top basin. (First clock cycle)
Then, you unlock the basin and let it dump into the second basin. Once it's done that, once again, seal the basin and dump your cold water in. Now, (second clock cycle) open the plugs for both basins, and your hot water goes down the tubes (magically) before the cold water shows up and you can re-plug your basin. Now you have room for more water in the top basin.

Every move into a new basin is a clock cycle, so It takes 4 clock cycles for it to finally reach the bottom so you can do whatever the hell it is you would want to do with hot or cold water. However, these are relatively quick clock cycles compared to the clock cycle you had in your non-pipelined RISC architecture. And, ultimately, once the first output reaches the bottom, you only have to wait a single clock cycle for the input right after it, rather than waiting another oh-so-many amounts of clock cycles that you would've in your CISC architecture.

Did that make sense to anybody? I hope it did.

bring the price down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369509)

I for one don't need it on my desktop. I'm sure some will disagree, but most users don't need top-spec machines.

lack of applications (4, Insightful)

funkman (13736) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369510)

Well if there is no hardware, how can there be 64 bit apps?

But the gaming market is going to drive this and the hardcore gamers already build their systems (with AMD?). Intel will lose nothing at first.

Re: lack of applications (1)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369584)

Yeah that's why Microsoft has Windows XP compiled for IA64 [microsoft.com] -- playing Solitaire at 64 bits... oooooh yeah...

pc overhaul (5, Insightful)

solidox (650158) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369511)

the whole pc architecture should ideally be replaced. we're still using something designed in the 80's, with lil hacks here and there to make it work in this current day. unfortunatly, it would be incredibly difficult to do, as all software and hardware would have to be remade. backward compatibilty slows us down from moving forward. even if everything was replaced, how long till it would be obsolete and need a further replacement?

Emulation (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369524)

Surely a decent 64-bit cpu would kick along an x86 emulator at an acceptable rate in the same way we can emulate anything you want on the SNES or N64 fine.

All you need to solve is the quite abysmal video rates of things like virtualPc.

Basically you need a WinUAE for PCs.

And the reason Intel are holding back is contained in the first line here. Their 64-bit chip is crap.

Re:pc overhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369536)

I read some place that IBM, Sony and Samsung ( I think ) is working on a totally new Computer. ( new CPU, OS, etc. ? But I havent been able to find this anywhere, is this true .. or ?

Re:pc overhaul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369560)

we're still using something designed in the 80's, with lil hacks here and there to make it work in this current day.

Not really. While I agree that the current PC architecture is not ideal, it is not the same as a PC from 1982. The interconnect buses are completely different. We no longer have to deal with 8bit ISA buses; PCI is actually quite a nice system (At least the software interface is). The garphics subsystem couldn't even be imagined in 1982. We do, sadly, still have some ugly backwards compatability stuff to deal with, but most of that is due to the IA32 (E.g. real mode, memory segment registers, "old" ISA I/O addresses for some hardware etc.)

Sure, a super-Amiga style co-operative system would be great, but PC hardware is cheap, it works, and it works well. Its not all bad.

Re:pc overhaul (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369567)

And Linux is based on something that is designed in 70's.
Cars are using wheels which are based on 4000 years old design.

Should these also be replaced?

If it works, don't fix it...

Re:pc overhaul (4, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369569)

Replacing the PC architecture was one of the early selling points of Windows NT, wasn't it? Look at our shiny new OS - it runs on your existing Intel PCs, but when you need more power you can upgrade to more powerful systems running on DEC's Alpha CPU. Only you can't, because no one really bothered to port their applications, even when all that was required was a recompile, and so the Alpha foundered and the inferior x86 architecture marched on.

Of course, if you want real hardware agnosticism, there is always Linux isn't there? That runs on 64 bit CPUs, in 64 bit mode right now, and should be ready to work on AMD's Hammer right from launch. The big gamble for Intel is, can it afford to be late to the party? Intel certainly seems to think so, but I think that the Hammer is going to end up on more desktops than they expect, unless AMD sets the price of entry too high.

Re:pc overhaul (4, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369623)

Actually, the modern PC architecture is just that, throughly modern.

1) The CPU: x86? Who cares? Even the Power4 does instruction-level translation, and advances like the trace cache take decode out of the hot path. In the end, x86 is just a nice, compact, widely supported bytecode. Outside of instructions, PC processors are very modern. Highly superscaler, highly pipelined, *very* high performance.

2) The chipset: This isn't your ISA system anymore. CPU -> chipset and chipset -> Memory interrconnects will be hitting 6.4 GB/sec by the end of the year. The Athlon 64 will have an integrated memory controller, just like the UltraSPARC. I/O hangs of the PCI bus, which is not a bottleneck given current systems. And when it does become a bottleneck, solutions like Hypertransport are already ready and working. Peripherals now hang off advanced busses like USB and Firewire, while traditional I/O methods are relegated to a tiny (cheap!) Super I/O chip. ISA is finally dead (the new Dells don't ship with ISA slots). The only thing we can't seem to get rid of is the infernal 8239 interrupt controller. The I/O APIC has been around for ages now. VIA has integrated them for years. Intel is finally getting around to putting them in, but is doing a half-assed job of it. My Inspiron has an 845 chipset, which theoretically has an IO-APIC, but it seems disabled for some reason.

3) The firmware: OSs today ignore the BIOS anyway. They're only in place for booting and SMM mode. ACPI has replaced most of what the BIOS used to be used for. Just this month, Intel said that EFI (used in the Itanium) will finally replace the PC BIOS, and bring with it a host of new features like support for high-resolution booting modes, network drivers, advanced debugging, etc.

Re:pc overhaul (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369640)

x86 is just a nice

Woah - stop right there...

Re:pc overhaul (1)

questamor (653018) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369666)

There already is. The AmigaOne is just what you're after. A Brand new architecture, RISC based, 64 bit already out of the box, and a soon to be released PPC pure OS. No legacy code or hardware in this beast!

moron rushing to be 1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369514)

it never works.

beware the Godless greed/fear based phonIE payper lisense hostage ransom stock markup FUDgePeddlers from upon the pcific crest.

they, are the REAL .commIEs.

lookout bullow. run for yOUR options, should you have any left?

nothing but gnu skies, ...

Does 64 bits slow memory down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369520)

Doesn't it slow things down, that instead of having to get X amount of memory to get a program running, twice that has to be grabbed just to run code... negating by half the advances in memory bus technology we've gained lately?

Re:Does 64 bits slow memory down? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369546)

No, you make your memory bus twice as wide. That way you can get twice as many instructions in per clock cycle of the bus. In fact, some machines make their buses much wider than the native word width of the CPU. Some machines (big iron) have as many as 576 bits on their busses. That's why they scale so well to many processors and big workloads, compared to little PCs which may only have 64- or 128-bit busses out to RAM.

Re:Does 64 bits slow memory down? (4, Interesting)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369642)

The fact that you have a 64 bit processor doesn't mean that all instructions become twice as big. For example, the 64bit PowerPC's instructions are all 32 bit, just like those of the 32bit PowerPC's. That's also the reason why 64bit PPC's don't take a hit when executing 32bit code: their (user level) instruction set is exactly the same as those of the 32bit PPC's, they just have some extra instructions for 64bit-specific operations (mainly load/store and shift operations).

In case you're wondering about constants: the PPC only supports loads of 16bit immediate values (both in the lower and upper 16bits of the lower 32bits of a register), so to load a 64bit value you may have to perform up to 5 operations (two loads, a shift and two more loads). So a PPC requires up to 64bits for a 32bit immediate load and up to 160bits to load a 64bit value (unless you store such a value in a memory location that can be addressed in a faster way). These are worst cases however, and in a lot of cases 1 or maybe two instructions is enough.

The main downside of 64bit code is that all pointers become 64bit, so all pointer loads and stores indeed require twice as much storage and bandwidth.

Re:Does 64 bits slow memory down? (2, Informative)

ZigMonty (524212) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369650)

Doesn't it slow things down, that instead of having to get X amount of memory to get a program running, twice that has to be grabbed just to run code... negating by half the advances in memory bus technology we've gained lately?

Just because a 64 bit processor can handle 64 bit integers doesn't mean that it can *only* deal with 64 bit quantities or that its instructions are necessarily 64 bits long.

As an example, take PPC-64. Its instructions are still 32 bits long and are basically identical to PPC-32 except for those instructions dealing with 64 bit quantities, which PPC-32 doesn't have. All pointers (memory addresses) are 64 bit but you may use any size integer you wish, from 8 bit to 64 bit, depending on what you need.

Meanwhile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369525)

AMD will (eventually) release the Hammer. Given that it is backwards compatible with IA32, the problems with application availablilty simply do not apply. AMD are in a strong position to become the leader on desktop CPU's and chipsets. If they can finally get Hammer out, that is.

No hurry? (4, Insightful)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369526)

They would say that there's no hurry to the 64-bit desktop beacause they are not in a position to provide one. They have the expensive, specialised itanic for the high-end and HP have told them to be quiet about Yamhill, their Hammer equivalent. Apple and AMD are on to a winner. Personally, I can't wait to get a 64-bit home machine. That's why I haven't upgraded for over 3 years. Intel is advocating hacks to get around the 4GB limit just like the old LIM (Lotus intel Microsoft) Expanded Memory boards for the old IBM PCs of yore : basically segmentation and paging. Anyone who can remember those days will concur. I'm afraid intel will need to pull a rabbit out of its hat very soon. Expect to see Yamhill processors announced later this year (Pentiums, Xeons?, with "64-bit extensions").

Just in: Intel drives *INNOVATION* (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369531)


So after this AMD is contemplating the release of Hammer and Moto/IBM/Apple are teaming on the next gen macintosh. Both teams are celebrating and letting schedules slip to ensure a good product.

15 minutes later, Intel pulls the rug and releases a consumer level 64 bit cpu. Calling the former press release a premarketing bell weather.

Reasons for 64 bit desktops (4, Interesting)

secondsun (195377) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369539)

Yes but some of us would actually stand to benefit from a commodity 64 bit proc. Those of us (like my Physics teach with a Phd in Biomolecular Physics) do active research and number crunching on molecular designs. People such as me need the boost to video/3d modelling apps where hitting 4gb memory limits is common. True that 64 bit solutions exist, but the problem is making them affordable. (And at 5k each, Sun Workstations and SGI boxen are not to the average college student).

Re:Reasons for 64 bit desktops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369582)

You can pick up new Sun boxes for less than $1000, or you can buy a really nice secondhand 2 way Ultra 2 or Ultra 60 for that sort of money.

BTW, I think your sig should read: ...kiddies off of the internet...

Re:Reasons for 64 bit desktops (2, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369672)

People that want to do serious number crunching use supercomputers, which have been 64-bit systems for a long time. There's a reason for this...

Average college students aren't set research problems. There's a reason for this too...

Sorry my ignorance but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369545)

What's the big difference between 32-bit processors and 64-bit processors? Why 64-bit are better? Because they're faster? What more?

Re:Sorry my ignorance but... (1)

hak hak (640274) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369565)

They're faster for computations that use large numbers (mostly scientific software; OS or office software probably won't benefit a lot from it). 64-bit processors are also able to address a lot more memory (2^64 bytes instead of 2^32 bytes = 4 GB).

Re:Sorry my ignorance but... (1)

ftvcs (629126) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369570)

One of the fundamental rules of current computer design is that there is nothing one processor can do that another cannot, given enough time. Where 64 bit processors have an advantage is in the amount of memory they can directly address - 32-bit processors stop at 4GB, while 64-bit processors have a theoretical limit of more than one trillion terabytes. A 64-bit processor can work on very large data sets very efficiently, at least in theory. However, modern 32 bit processors can now work on multiple 32-bit instructions simultaneously - or 32-bit instructions with large amounts of data - as well as address more than their basic 4GB memory limit so the architectural lines are blurred.

Re:Sorry my ignorance but... (1)

Professeur Shadoko (230027) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369572)

Basically a 32 bit CPU can address up to 4GB of memory, put aside some strange stuff.

With a 64 bit CPU, you could address.. hmm well at least LOTS of memory, 4 billion times more.

Re:Sorry my ignorance but... (2, Funny)

baryon351 (626717) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369597)

4 billion times lots ought to be enough for anybody.

Re:Sorry my ignorance but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369662)

Yawn

Re:Sorry my ignorance but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369578)

64-bit processors will be faster than 32-bit processors at some things, and slower at others. The reasons are technical, however the main advantage of 64-bit processors is that they can address larger amounts of memory without a speed penalty.

definition of 64-bit (5, Informative)

yerricde (125198) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369594)

What's the big difference between 32-bit processors and 64-bit processors?

A 64-bit machine can address more than 4 GB of memory without funky segmented addressing kludges. This has applications in scientific simulation and database managers.

A 64-bit machine can also handle 64-bit integers as a native data type. This is important for encryption, number theory, financial applications dealing with money over $40 million, etc.

For corporate desktops... (5, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369552)

Wouldn't it make more sense to put that 64 on the server, with XXGB of RAM, and push the display to the clients? X-terms, Terminal Services, whatever? Then, what, you've got 64 bit apps on the server, and a 32 bit clients, and no worry about memory usage.

Re:For corporate desktops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369576)

holy cow! Brand new idea! Nobody has ever heard about that one...

oh wait...it's just another piece of history repeating :-)

Re:For corporate desktops... (3, Insightful)

will_die (586523) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369583)

Except that the price for the client with HD,processor,memory is cheap. By the time you factor in the cost of a network able computer vs the dumb(x-term, terminal services,etc) terminal the costs are about the same.
So now that you have a cheap smart terminal whith the capability of running its own applications, why spend large amounts of money on a huge network and backend servers.
From a management standpoint x-term type machines would be great, everything stored on the servers for backup; easy management, just replace a broken one with a working and the user is back up, and users could move around and keep all thier settings. It keeps being tried every few years and keeps being rejected by corporations.

Re:For corporate desktops... (2, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369644)

It keeps being tried every few years and keeps being rejected by corporations.
These guys [k12ltsp.org] seem to be having no problem with being rejected. I put together my school's lab for about the cost of two serious desktops, networking included. In fact, Jim McQuillan [ltsp.org] seems to be making a reasonable living out of selling such systems. It all depends on where you sit, and what you need, I guess.

Bandwidth (2, Insightful)

yerricde (125198) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369607)

Wouldn't it make more sense to put that 64 on the server, with XXGB of RAM, and push the display to the clients?

Not if there's a dial-up link between the server and client.

Not if the application is movie editing. 640x480 pixels x 24fps x 24-bit color = too big for even 100Mbps Ethernet.

The only reson.. (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369557)

that there is a lack of applications for
the intel 64 bit is cause there not
backwards compatable.. sure run your 32
bit apps, but run them like they are runing
on an old proccessor..

there own stupid fault..

Intel speak (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369558)

Translation: We aren't done yet.

So, is intel really saying.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369562)

"4GB ought to be enough for anybody"

AMD investor. (2, Interesting)

mjuarez (12463) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369563)

Being an investor in AMD, I'm really happy about the path Intel has chosen to take. My almost 1000 shares of AMD stock will finally be over the water again!!! :)

Intel is committing hara-kiri in my opinion here (thats suicide for honor in Japanese). Similar events return to my memory, and history has proved all these were utterly wrong... (Its sad to acknowledge that I REMEMBER when some of these things happened! :(

- Intel 286 vs 386 (IBM: A 286 is enough for most people...)
- IBM Microchannel vs ISA (The same thing)
- 'A good programmer should be able to do anything with 1K of memory'. I don't remember the author, but probably someone from IBM in the 60s or 70s.

Time flies...

Re:AMD investor. (-1, Flamebait)

khaine (260889) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369580)

'A good programmer should be able to do anything with 1K of memory'

Wasn't this a quote from a certain William Gates Esquire?

Re:AMD investor. (1)

Ledskof (169553) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369624)

No you are thinking of the 640K quote aren't you? And Bill Gates never said that 640K quote anyway.

Re:AMD investor. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369591)

actually "hara-kiri" is japanese slang for "pain in stomach" (free translation)

The correct term for "suicide for honour" is "seppuku", and it does not have to be by cutting your belly open with a sword.. :-)

Re:AMD investor. (-1, Offtopic)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369609)

Intel is committing hara-kiri in my opinion here (thats suicide for honor in Japanese)
Really? I thought it was a former announcer for the Chicago Cubs ("It could be... It moght be... It is!")

You invest in AMD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369622)

Why? I follow the semiconductor stocks and AMD is one I would avoid. They show no signs of being profitable anytime soon. Look at their income statement for Q3 2002. On revenue of $508m they lost $254m. Barring inventory, they have about $860m in the bank in cash and short-term investments, but they have $1.2 billion in long term debt. I view AMD as a very speculative investment.

To be honest, INTC has a much better balance sheet, but I wouldn't put much of an investment in them, either.

And, last year, while the S&P lost 22%, I made 3%, so I beat the broad index by 25%, so I like to pretend I know a little something about picking stocks, but will admit I'm no expert.

It's been done before (5, Interesting)

philipsblows (180703) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369564)

Didn't Apple manage to get their (admittedly smaller) user base to switch to a better processor?

Intel's argument against 64-bit computing seems to be an advertisement for the x86-64 concept. The article didn't mention gaming, but surely the gamer market will be a major early-adopter base. It sounds like preemptive marketing to me.

As for memory, the article, and presumably intel, don't seem to account for the ever-increasing memory footprint of Microsoft's operating system (or for the GNOME stuff on our favorite OS), and so are perhaps too dismissive of the need for a >4GB desktop. As we all know all too well, one can never have too much memory or disk space, and applications and data will always grow to expand to the limits of both.

Personally, I'm holding off on any new hardware for my endeavors until I see what AMD releases, though I would settle for a Power5-based desktop...

Re:It's been done before (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369600)

Didn't Apple manage to get their (admittedly smaller) user base to switch to a better processor?

Yes. They did it gradually. The first PPC Macs ran a 68k emulator which provided backwards compatability for old Mac software. Intel are trying to do the same thing; you can run IA-32 software on IA-64.

The problem that Intel has, and that Apple didn't, is that the IA-32 mode on an Itanium is generally slower than a real IA-32. Many Mac users found that their old 68k code ran just the same, or in some cases faster on the new PPC's. Intel then, is at a disadvantage with the IA-64, speedwide. Why invest all that money in a new platform just to run your code slower?

Now, this might not be such a problem if people were busy porting their stuff and tuning it for the IA-64, but Intel have two problem there. The first if the chicken and egg; no one is buying IA-64, so no one is porting their applications, so no one is buying IA-64. The other problem is technical; the EPIC (VLIW) instruction set is a nightmare to understand and code. Only a handful of people trully understand the full IA-64 ISA, so compilers and Operating Systems are slow to suport it. If you don't have adequate tools, how can you do the job?

At the moment, it looks like Intel could be onto a looser with IA-64. Only time will tell.

3DFX anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369566)

This sounds eerily familiar to what 3DFX was saying about 32-bit graphics just before they started to die. Intel is a much bigger fish than 3DFX ever was, but still...

I wonder what would happen if...... (1)

khaine (260889) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369573)

... AMD sponsored someone like ID Games or Epic to port their games engines to 64 bit? Surely the extreme gamers would force the market open as they have done in the 3D graphics market?

Re:I wonder what would happen if...... (1)

glsunder (241984) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369652)

a port to AMD's hammer is being done [hardwareanalysis.com] with Unreal Tournament 2003.

For games right now, I'm sure it's the extra registers and other things that help, not 64 bit. Greater than 4GB will probably only be useful on the workstation and server level for a few more years. It'll take another 2 versions of windows before 4GB+ is needed to browse the web or run office.

Re:I wonder what would happen if...... (4, Interesting)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369659)

Little late asking that question.

I've heard that Microsoft is developing an Athlon 64/Opteron native version of Windows XP; if that is true then gaming companies involved with PC-based games may be already creating games that run in native Athlon 64/Opteron 64-bit mode under Windows XP as I type this.

640KB (-1, Redundant)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369574)

They're basically restating the old "640KB ought to be enough" line (as it were)

Margins (4, Interesting)

Ledskof (169553) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369581)

Intel still wants to keep rediculous margins for their products. AMD's approach brings everything closer together. The fastest computers are being built out of cheap consumer level processors, so why have incredibly expensive "server" processors?

Separation of consumer and "server" processors is just marketing, which is Intel's strongest talent (like Microsoft).

Alpha (1)

rkoot (557181) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369585)

It stands to reason that Intel isn't very fond on shipping their 64 bit crap (Itanium)to PC-users.
DEC Alpha's blueprints are also owned by intel. this platform exists for more than 12 years now.
Why do they pull the plug on this monster, while they promote their own crippled ia64 crap.
it can't be RAM issues, because 64 bit computing is almost venerable.
what's the truth behind this discission ?

just a thought
roger

famous last words (1)

fattybob (196045) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369592)

this sounds like an omen for a booming 64 bit market before year end to me. What do you all think, especially when I read about Apple already being RISC and 64 bit ready - even if only half baked.

Does anyone recall Bill saying that the internet was dead, and the future was with MSN.

What are other advantages of 64 bit? (2)

easyfrag (210329) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369599)

Would someone like to break out the sock puppets and explain what other advantages (besides the 4GB Ram ceiling) that 64 bit processors will give a desktop user?

Re:What are other advantages of 64 bit? (1)

larien (5608) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369647)

The 4GB limit is about the biggest advantage; the only other benefit is that a 64-bit CPU can handle 64-bit number more easily as it doesn't have to go through hoops.

There is currently no need for a 64-bit desktop for a normal user. Where they will start will be the high-end workstation market, for graphics design, seismic interpretation & other scientific apps where there is a need for large number crunching and/or >4GB RAM. Eventually, the price will come down and they'll make inroads to the "desktop" market and users will wonder how they ever got by with "only" 1GB of RAM. Personally, I think this will probably happen sooner than Intel think, and AMD will have a good head-start if they play it right.

don't want to kill IA64 price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369603)

I believe it has more to do with Intel not wanting to drive down the cost of IA64 chips just yet. They're just beginning to get deployed in larger systems, which have longer design cycles than desktops. If they rush IA64 to the desktop, they would drive down the profits they could make off of the chips going in servers as they haven't even ramped up yet. Not to mention the fact they'd end up driving down the cost of their x86 CPUs

why bother? (1)

NedTheNerd (652808) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369617)

it has been rumoured that intel has x86-64 code biult into their processor. assuming that is ture they are in a pretty good spot right now so why should the give a rats A** what AMD is doing at the moment. but an even better question why do people still hold so much merit in intel when their processors do so poorly clock for clock? I think that if the tables where turned everyone would still love intel

I agree with Intel (1, Interesting)

Powercntrl (458442) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369643)

I am in no hurry to be the proud owner of a whole bunch of PCs that can no longer run apps based on a requirement of 64-bit code.

Before you reply with a bunch of other reasons why my PCs are becoming more obsolete with each passing day anyway, think back to the transition between the 286 and 386. The 386 could run everything a 286 could run and it performed much better. Due to the performence benefit, most applications that couldn't be run on a 286 wouldn't have run well on a anyway.

The transition to 64-bit on the desktop isn't going to be the same. While 640k may not be enough for everybody, 4GB is certainly enough for web browsing, wordprocessing and basic photo manipulation. I'd hate to see the horribly inefficient code that requires more than 4GB of RAM for such simple tasks.

Realistically, the force that will cause 64-bit to be a requirement on the desktop will be the version of Windows that no longer runs on 32-bit hardware. Windows XP's minimum requirements are:


PC with 300 megahertz (MHz) or higher processor clock speed recommended; 233-MHz minimum required;* Intel Pentium/Celeron family, AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended
128 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended (64 MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)
1.5 gigabyte (GB) of available hard disk space.*


If you look at the current system requirements compared to the current top end PC hardware, it's easy to see why Intel wants to hold off on production of 64-bit processors targeted for the desktop market.

Whiplash ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5369654)

Prediction: AMD and companies building boxes with their chips will make a lot out of this decision. There will be ads comparing their 64-bit system vs. the others with "only" 32 bits, and Intel will be forced by consumer pressure to get something 64-bit onto the desktop in a hurry. If there's one thing you can count on with consumers (particularly in Ammurica), it's that bigger is perceived as better.

Object spaces (5, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369660)

64-bit CPUs are really an OS designer's wet dream. There are lots of things (bounce buffers, dynamic RAM map, prelinking headaches) that just go away with a 64-bit address space. You can just map all RAM permenently, prelink all binaries to a unique address, and move on with your life (or lack thereof). I was thinking the other day, that with the move to database oriented filesystems like Reiser4 and LonghornFS (for lack of a better name) that the time is ripe for some of that OO research from the 80's and 90's to kick in. The gist is that instead of the basic abstraction being files with a strict naming hierarchy, the basic abstraction is a set of objects with a very flexible database index. Throw in object persistence, and you've got yourself a very elegant setup, with basically and OODBMS at the core of the system. However, straightforward (fast) implementations of the scheme blow away a 4GB address space. For something like this, you really want to be able to mmap() a 120GB harddrive and remove a whole lot of intervening hacks.

no rush for 64 bit... (0, Troll)

cenonce (597067) | more than 10 years ago | (#5369680)

I'm sure Intel will rush to make Palladium and TCPA compliant hardware for Micro$oft.

-A

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