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OT - how long before 64-bit computers rule the world and 32 bits is obsolete?

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  • OT - how long before 64-bit computers rule the world and 32 bits is obsolete?

    I'm in the beginning stages of thinking about a new computer. For what I do, I'm sure any of the new 32-bit PCs would be quite adequate, and I question what, if any advantage I would see with a 64-bit PC given the kind of apps I typically.

    But, I like to buy for the long term. Does anybody care to guess how long it will be before vendor support for 32-bit computers starts to be a problem?
    ----------
    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
    Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

  • #2
    I imagine it will still be a while. I switched to a 64 bit OS so I could use more than 4GB of ram. I forget the details but basically any of the windows 32 bit versions won't recognize more ram than that. Right now I'm running 12GB on windows 7 x64. Unless you are doing serious gaming or software intensive work the average person won't need more than 4 GB of ram any time soon. As we all know, you can still get by with 128 MB

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    • #3
      In the server world it's already an issue. 32-bits is dead. In the end-user space 32-bits will be around for some time. There is no particular need for 64 bit except for extreme gamers and CAD/Illustration, video production, and a limited number of areas where address space and file system growth are problematic.

      For the average user most CPU time is spent waiting for the next key stroke or mouse event.

      I've been using 64-bit since the late 1990s on my servers, and more recently when AMD and Intel got into the 64-bit market on desktop systems. Only in the last year has Mac OS X been truly 64-bit.

      My 64-bit Sun servers actually run a mix of 32 and 64-bit software, all of which I've built from source, and I really don't see a difference when I build it as 64-bit vs 32-bit. I have 2 GB of RAM so am not limited there for address space, and adding more RAM will only provide free RAM but no additional power.

      I have a hyper-threaded quad CPU Linux system with 8 GB of RAM and that system is 99% idle. I'll probably make it my web proxy server and data backup to tape system as it has a terabyte of raid storage. That could easily be 32-bit.

      I recall the big deal when 16-bit systems were being displaced. Bit count mattered far more than real performance at the desktop level. It's like the recent question here about how a machine looks. Looks (bit-ness) does matter to the end user so I predict that 64-bit is here whether it is needed or not. The economies of scale are tilting that way.

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      • #4
        I started out with 4K on a 12-bit PDP-8 hooked to a 10 char/sec Teletype, so the idea of 4GB on a 64-bit, 3GHz PC with an LCD graphical display does seem more than a bit much. I think you're right, dp. Marketeers will sell 64 bits whether people need it or not. The question is, how quickly will they succeed?
        ----------
        Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
        Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
        Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
        There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
        Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
        Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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        • #5
          At work on our CAD stations we are going 64 bit for the memory issue (more than 3 gig I think)

          At home I recently bought a 64 bit laptop running windows 7... Runs all my 32 bit xp software well so far, except Mozilla which irritates me, Microsoft trying to force Explorer down my throat.

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          • #6
            I'm running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit on a dual-AMD-processor workstation with 8GB RAM. The ONLY issue in the transition from XP 32-bit was lack of a 64-bit driver for my aging printer. All other software (including Firefox) made the transition gracefully and without a hiccup. I was a little leery beforehand about making the change, but it has turned out to be a non-issue.

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            • #7
              aside from performance, what would a i notice in going to 64 bit - does the 64 bit stuff require different aps?
              .

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SGW
                ...................The question is, how quickly will they succeed?

                I got mine Got a brand new ASUS notebook and it really cooks!
                - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mcgyver
                  aside from performance, what would a i notice in going to 64 bit
                  What Dennis said.

                  Running the OS in 64-bit mode won't be any better performance in most consumer cases, including games. The advantage of running the OS in 64-bit mode is if you need more than 3 Gigs of memory.

                  As many people have noticed, if you install 4 GB of DRAM in a 32-bit system, the OS only sees a tad more than 3 GBytes. That's because the OS has to map the PCI and graphics apertures in the upper 1 Gig of physical memory.

                  I installed all my Win7 systems at home in 64-bit mode, because they have 4 - 6 GBytes of physical memory. That's mostly because I usually have a bunch of sh!t running at the same time.

                  - does the 64 bit stuff require different aps?
                  Yes, but it's a simple recompile for x86-64 mode. The biggest PITA is 64-bit drivers -- most printers don't have 64-bit drivers, unless they were released in the last year. Microsoft actually requires a 64-bit driver for WHQL compliance now, so that should change pretty quickly.
                  "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                  • #10
                    I've had my 64 bit Dell 4200 for 3-4 years now, and it was a very big upgrade over the 32 systems. I do a lot of CAD (PRO/E work) and analysis (ANSYS).

                    Just in the time saved, it was well worth the time, hours instead of days to run simulations. And I could take it with me on the plane! It was around $5K at the time (Again, a few years ago).

                    Last month I got a new desktop work station, HP Z800, Dual Quad Core Intel Xeon W5580 3.2GHZ.

                    Needless to say, I am more productive at work....I can literally blink and Pro/E opens....really! (Anyone that runs this knows the lag of starting up this software). And where it really shines, I can actually run 2 programs at the same time without being bogged down! Well worth the 12K.

                    I can't wait for my next upgrade in a few years!!!!!

                    Funny part is, I am really not a computer guy, I just want performance!

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                    • #11
                      I'm on the leading edge of the 64 bit transition at work. If I like it, we'll be looking for a home system upgrade. I actually like that W7 requires a full install and not an upgrade - just buy a new system and part over the programs and data, then park the old one in the back room on a network connection in case you forgot something. It'll also make for a decent temp back up/work space system to compliment the 1.5Tbyte Seagate USB external drive.
                      Chris
                      Merkel, Tx
                      http://raceabilene.com/kelly/hotrod

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Falcon67
                        I'm on the leading edge of the 64 bit transition at work. If I like it, we'll be looking for a home system upgrade. I actually like that W7 requires a full install and not an upgrade - just buy a new system and part over the programs and data, then park the old one in the back room on a network connection in case you forgot something. It'll also make for a decent temp back up/work space system to compliment the 1.5Tbyte Seagate USB external drive.
                        The quad core system I described is scratch built. The MB was $130, about $190 for the 8 GB of RAM, 4 500 GB Sata disks at $80 ea., $39 for a Sata DVD RW burner, a new CPU fan, a new power supply for the extended 12v MB, and $30 for a new video board. It's a server so video is not at all important.

                        The CPU is nearly $600 but I got it as a gift from a friend. All told it was far less expensive than the 40 mHz AT clone I bought in 1986 by a factor of two.

                        The company I work for got a deal from MSFT on anything in the store at deep discounts, so I got Windows 7 and several other products with a gift cert, spent less than $130. I run that as a virtual machine on the Linux system using VMware's free VM server product for Linux. That lets me run Windows 7 in an X Windows window from anywhere.

                        It's amazing what you can build today after an afternoon at Fry's.

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                        • #13
                          Here we are worrying about going to go 64 -bit when much of the industrial controller world is still running 8-bit CPU's, there cheap and much of that type of work is not demanding, a 32-bit CPU is good enough for most of us.
                          The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                          Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

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                          • #14
                            I had a two bit computer once- it had 2k of memory. I served it straight into the recycle bin. That was its new domain.

                            128megs rocks! ha ha. Actually, it's up to half a gig now-
                            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lazlo
                              What Dennis said.

                              Running the OS in 64-bit mode won't be any better performance in most consumer cases, including games. The advantage of running the OS in 64-bit mode is if you need more than 3 Gigs of memory.

                              As many people have noticed, if you install 4 GB of DRAM in a 32-bit system, the OS only sees a tad more than 3 GBytes. That's because the OS has to map the PCI and graphics apertures in the upper 1 Gig of physical memory.

                              I installed all my Win7 systems at home in 64-bit mode, because they have 4 - 6 GBytes of physical memory. That's mostly because I usually have a bunch of sh!t running at the same time.



                              Yes, but it's a simple recompile for x86-64 mode. The biggest PITA is 64-bit drivers -- most printers don't have 64-bit drivers, unless they were released in the last year. Microsoft actually requires a 64-bit driver for WHQL compliance now, so that should change pretty quickly.
                              Which really sucks since all the drivers need to be digitally signed by microsoft. And of course they dont do that for free! To run some drivers on my system I have to run a hack that lets you run your computer in a test mode where it ignores the signing. What a pain.

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