View Full Version : The new generation 64-bit processors are here

09-10-2003, 09:35 PM
The next generation of computers are now coming on sale, using 64-bit processors rather than the 32-bit processors that are commonly used today. There seems to be a bit of confusion about what is 64-bit and what advantage it'll have.

Examples of current 32-bit processors:
•Intel Pentium / Xeon
•AMD Athlon XP
•Apple G4 (Motorola processor)

Examples of the new 64-bit processors:
•Intel Itanium
•AMD64 / Opteron
•Apple G5 (IBM970 processor)

Why do we need 64-bit computing?
The main disadvantage of 32-bit platforms is that an application can never access more than 4000MB of RAM. This is because a 32-bit number is not large enough.

64-bit computers can access over 4 gigs of RAM. It doesn't automatically create a speed boost, but some applications that can use this extra RAM instead of a hard drive will run faster (ie databases, video applications etc.) Some of the 64-bit processors may run faster because they are a new generation of processor and contain other speed boosting enhancements.

Some people feel that they don't need this extra RAM. They will be happy continuing with the older 32-bit processors. Once the new processors become available, people will find ways to use this extra RAM capacity.

For example, you may not currently use hundreds of huge image maps because you know it'll bog down your system. If you machine could easily handle this sort of thing you might be tempted to use it.

Also, operating systems and applications have grown in size over the last few years. If this trend continues at the same rate, the average home user will need a 64-bit computer in the next couple of years. When this happens, 32-bit processors will no longer be of use, no matter how fast they may be.

Intel Itanium
The Itanium (IA64) project began in the mid-1990s. Intel was looking for a replacement for the Pentium processor. At that time, the common belief was that CISC processors (complex instruction set) like the Pentium would not be able to be advanced much further. Intel thus teamed with Hewlett Packard, as HP had RISC (reduced instruction set) experience.

As it turned out, Intel engineers were able to extend the life of the Pentium much further than anyone expected. This could become a problem for Intel, as it makes it harder to convince people to migrate to the next generation Itanium processor. So far Itanium sales have been very small, and limited to servers. Intel will one day create a derivative of this processor for the home user.

Another factor that may slow the adoption of the Itanium is that it is a 64-bit-only processor. It can't natively run any of today's 32-bit applications. It can run 32-bit applications in emulation mode, but at much slower speeds.

AMD64 / Opteron
AMD has taken a different approach to 64-bit computing to Intel. AMD has modified its x86 processors to extend them into 64-bit processors. One advantage of AMD's approach is that the Opteron can natively run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. This will provide a smoother upgrade path to those who have legacy applications.

The main problem AMD is having is Microsoft. For the Opteron processor to run in 64-bit mode it must have a new 64-bit operating system. Microsoft has so far only provided a 32-bit version of Windows which makes the 64-bit mode of the Opteron inoperable.

Currently, the only way to get the Opteron to work in 64-bit mode is to run the Linux operating system. This is not an option for Lightwave users, as Modeler and Lightwave Layout currently don't run on Linux.

Microsoft says it is working on a 64-bit version of Windows that can run on the Opteron, and they've demonstrated a beta version. How long it'll take for Microsoft to release this OS is open to speculation, but it definitely won't happen in 2003.

The Apple G5
Apple recently switched its entire PowerMac line from Motorola processors to the new 64-bit IBM-970 processor, creating a speed boost compared to former systems. The IBM-970 is a derivative of IBM's Power4 processors that IBM uses in servers and large mainframe computers.

The PowerPC architecture that Apple uses was always designed to be a 64-bit architecture. The 32-bit versions were a subset of this. Like the Opteron, Apple's G5 is able to natively run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications.

Apple's UNIX based operating system, OS X, is a hybrid 32-64-bit operating system when run on the G5. Contrary to some speculation, applications will run in 64-bit mode on the G5 with very little reworking. They can access 64-bit registers and over 4 gigs of RAM. This is what the definition of a 64-bit OS is.

The G5 be loaded with 8 gigs of RAM, or 16 gigs if 2GB RAM cards are used. Lightwave has already been demonstrated running on the G5.

09-10-2003, 11:19 PM
The Itanium is ment for enterprise servers only, so we wont be seeing these in workstation any time soon thankfully there is the AMD Opteron for workstations and servers and then the Athlon 64 later next year. Then like BeamTracer said the G5.

09-11-2003, 01:55 AM
Itanium is completely out fo range!


09-11-2003, 02:56 AM
Aren't the RAM requirements 4 times that of a 32-bit machine ?!?!?!

09-11-2003, 05:31 AM
You may be aware of this but there are 64bit Windows operating systems..... Windows XP 64bit to name one.


09-11-2003, 07:38 AM

Does that mean that LW is just a hop,skip and a jump from 64bit usage?

Oh man...just thought

The VT board will have to be rebuilt and a NEW one bought to take advantage of it.:(

I hate computers

Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade:mad:

09-11-2003, 08:00 AM
The new AMD Athlon 64 is supposed to be unveiled on Sept. 23rd.

09-11-2003, 08:04 AM
Well you can buy it now, seen it for sale :)


09-11-2003, 08:07 AM
Originally posted by SLAYER
The new AMD Athlon 64 is supposed to be unveiled on Sept. 23rd. Take a look at
Athlon64 Preview: nForce3 at 2.0GHz


09-11-2003, 09:27 AM
now then, i know that "beam" is really into mac's and the G5..the thing i'd like to see..and i'll be that beam has or is getting a g5...???

a comparison test between his g4 and a g5....that's the bottom line for me...either using lightwave or maya as an example....or even that modo thing seeing as it's 64 bit already.

"realworld results not spec sheet dribbling"

other than all the talk..well it just hot air 'in it?

note that apple hasn't released comparisions between their g4's and g5's.....................................why?

apple may have jus made a "great leap"
but in which direction?
forward, sideways or backwards...or up?
...and with gravity..that means they'll be coming back down with a bump!

steve g

09-11-2003, 10:12 AM

You work for Apple, don't you. ;)


09-11-2003, 10:48 AM
64bit cpu's are hardly a new thing. the alpha is noteworthy for appearing back in 1992 and still being amoung the far fastes cpu's. also there are cpu's such as the sun ultra-sparc and mips64, dating many years back. since hp currently own the alpha technology, much of this knowledge goes into improving the itanium. its also importan to notice itanium lack greatly when having to run 32bit code emulated, which is why amd64 is looking so promissing.

besides the greater ram limit 64bit also gives better precision to numbercrunching, cryptography for instance, or other heavy calculations. rendering could probably bennefit from this as well.

and 64bit does _not_ require more memory than a 32bit cpu. its all a matter of the cpu registers being double the size.

also the windows64bit that currently exists is for the itanium _only_. it is expected microsoft will release a version for amd _before_ christmas.

currently very few applications will gain much from being compiled for 64bit, but it will make more and more sense going 64bit as the applications advance doing the comming months/years.,

and finaly osx doesnt yet take advantage of 64bit - not even the upcomming 10.3 will take much use of the extra bits, it will more or less just be compiled for the new powerpc cpu.


09-11-2003, 11:10 AM
My Co. has a G5 on order and I want to run speed tests Vs. the G4s. One set of tests with the current OS it ships with and with the new one when it coems out... But the reality of it is that despite the 64bit processor Lightwave won't get much of a speed boost since it is an 32bit app.

Well see later this month when we get the G5 in.


09-11-2003, 12:12 PM
I don't think they'll need to make a 64-bit version of the VT hardware. AFAIK the toaster hardware is just an input/output card. The code would have to be reworked but not necessarily the hardware.

Now if they want to make an High Def version, that might be another story :)

09-11-2003, 01:40 PM
AFAIK the toaster hardware is just an input/output card

That's what I woulda thought but if you go to buy other input/output/passthru cards then there are different varities,
32/64 bit scsi cards (should be just passthru?),
32/64 bit ide controllers (should be just passthru?)
not same cards with different software.

there may be a difference in slot cottections?
information pathways?

dunno yet

09-11-2003, 02:29 PM
I'm sure somebody is already designing a G5 or Athlon card for the Amiga :D

09-11-2003, 03:30 PM
Originally posted by stone
osx doesnt yet take advantage of 64bit OS X on the G5 is a hybrid 32-64 bit operating system. It takes advantage of 64-bit math, pointers, registers. A single application can address over 4 gigs of RAM. That fits the definition of a 64-bit system.

Apple seems to have the smoothest upgrade path from 32-bit to 64-bit computing. The G5s are selling now, and Apple says it has a backorder for 100,000 units. This would indicate that the G5 is outselling Opteron and Itanium combined.

AMD: I actually hope AMD does well, and manages to level the playing field with Intel. AMD's hybrid approach seems to generate much more excitement and enthusiasm amongst the Windows community than Itanium does. Am I right?

It seems a bit sad that AMD has its biggest chance ever to challenge Intel, the Opteron is now available, but what is Microsoft doing? How is it that Microsoft has an OS available for Itanium, but not Opteron? Could this be deliberate, or is it just Microsoft running late again?

Itanium: Although it is currently a server processor, the intention was always for the Itanium (or a consumer derivative of it) to replace the Pentium.

Why didn't Intel provide native 32-bit support on the Itanium? Was it because the Itanium is a new architecture which would make it too hard to engineer a legacy 32-bit processor on the same chip? Did Intel miscalculate the need for a hybrid 32-64 approach for smooth adoption?

09-11-2003, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
OS X on the G5 is a hybrid 32-64 bit operating system. It takes advantage of 64-bit math, pointers, registers. A single application can address over 4 gigs of RAM. That fits the definition of a 64-bit system.

There is an article at osnews claiming that OS X (including upcoming Panther) will only allow 4GB RAM for most apps as most of the libraries are still 32bit. Apparently this stems from posts from Apple developers and Darwin developers. It does let each app have it's own 4GB chunk of RAM though, so it's better than nothing. I think it's safe to assume this will change in future releases of OS X though.

Apple seems to have the smoothest upgrade path from 32-bit to 64-bit computing. The G5s are selling now, and Apple says it has a backorder for 100,000 units. This would indicate that the G5 is outselling Opteron and Itanium combined.

It's outselling Opteron and Itanium big-time. It'll be interesting to see what happens when Athlon64 and the x86-64 version of WindowsXP is released. The early previews of the Athlon64 look very promising.

AMD: I actually hope AMD does well, and manages to level the playing field with Intel. AMD's hybrid approach seems to generate much more excitement and enthusiasm amongst the Windows community than Itanium does. Am I right?

Correct. PC users seem to be very excited by the Athlon64. AMD's approach is aimed at consumers, not the high-end server market. Even the Opteron is priced at the Xeon level, not the Itanium level (over $4,000 just for the CPU). Itanium was never meant for the consumer/prosumer market, so there is little interest in it. And on top of that, the people who are in that market seem to have more faith in Sun and SGI than Intel and Microsoft.

It seems a bit sad that AMD has its biggest chance ever to challenge Intel, the Opteron is now available, but what is Microsoft doing? How is it that Microsoft has an OS available for Itanium, but not Opteron? Could this be deliberate, or is it just Microsoft running late again?

I think it's a matter of MS betting on the wrong horse. I don't think they took AMD seriously enough until Itanium tanked big-time. Now they're scrambling to get a x86-64 version of Windows out. Analysts are predicting it will be out by Jan 2004, but MS has a habit of delaying releases.

Itanium: Although it is currently a server processor, the intention was always for the Itanium (or a consumer derivative of it) to replace the Pentium.

I'm not sure if that was the intention. Intel even licensed x86-64 from AMD, although they apparently scrapped plans to make a x86-64 chip.

Why didn't Intel provide native 32-bit support on the Itanium? Was it because the Itanium is a new architecture which would make it too hard to engineer a legacy 32-bit processor on the same chip? Did Intel miscalculate the need for a hybrid 32-64 approach for smooth adoption?

Only Intel knows the answer to that question. I'm not very interested in Itanium though, as that is a ridiculously priced CPU. I think a better question is why Intel doesn't see the need for a 64-bit desktop CPU anytime soon?

09-11-2003, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by DaveW
There is an article at osnews claiming that OS X (including upcoming Panther) will only allow 4GB RAM for most apps as most of the libraries are still 32bit. First, don't believe everything you read in OSnews, as they are famous for their bias.

Second, the claim that applications running on the G5 will be limited to 4 gigs of RAM each is wrong. Apple's Panther OS (otherwise known as OS X 10.3) has been recoded to make use of 64-bit addressing on the G5.

The hybrid approach of the G5 differs greatly from AMD's hybrid approach. On the G5, software developers can fairly easily modify existing applications to support 64-bit addressing. This allows a single application to access up to 16 gigs of RAM, the machine's slot limit.

The interesting thing about the G5 is that the whole application doesn't need to be recompiled to access 64-bit features. This is because of a 32-64-bit "bridge" that is included on the IBM-970 PowerPC processor.

This "bridge" doesn't exist on AMD's Opteron, even though the Opteron is still a hybrid processor. I'm not saying that the Opteron is not good, only that AMD's approach is more difficult for software developers.

On the Opteron, applications will not be able to gain access to any of the 64-bit features unless they are recompiled for AMD's new proprietary 64-bit platform, and the OS is also recompiled. Hence the wait for Microsoft.

Originally posted by DaveW
Correct. PC users seem to be very excited by the Athlon64...

...why Intel doesn't see the need for a 64-bit desktop CPU anytime soon?
Intel's lack of a hybrid processor is a complete mystery.

It wasn't long ago that computers sold with only 4 megs of RAM.

Now, a large number of Lightwave users have 2 gigs of RAM installed. This is mainly because of machine limits. This is a 500x increase that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

We have almost reached the RAM ceiling of 32-bit computing. Why do some people believe that the growth in RAM usage will simply stop here? It won't.

64-bit computing will soon be essential for the pro-user, and in a couple of years it'll also be essential for the home user. How could Intel not foresee this?

If AMD gains territory with the Opteron, how will Intel reclaim this ground once Opteron has a foothold?
If the Itanium doesn't quickly increase its sales, what will Intel do? Will Intel lose its dominance? What is Intel's plan-B?

jin choung
09-11-2003, 11:30 PM
hey beam,

any benchmarks on the g5? are there any numbers about how the old g4 apps run on the g5?

also, what 64bit apps are currently available for it? what is expected for this year?

you keep saying that the g5 will be the smoothest path but i haven't encountered a single benchmark that backs that up.

as for the opteron/amd64, you can install 32bit winxp and everything runs a little bit faster clock for clock than a 32bit K7 athlon. they've been extensively testing 32bit app performance simply because there are no amd64 64bit apps yet.

this advantage is expected to be maintained under winxp64 (due out next year). but even worst case scenario, you can dual boot 32bit and 64bit oses then. not an uncommon scenario (linux, bsds, etc) on the pc.

but 64bit linux is indeed available and this is a nice opportunity for linux to build some initial marketshare against the 500lb monkey.

also, is it possible to run 32bit osx on g5? if so, any difference in running a 32bit app under the 64bit os vs. the 32bit version on the same hardware?


finally, as noted earlier, 64bit does not NECESSARILY make anything faster. it's primary advantage is the ability to address more memory.

and let me just be the party pooper and remind you that this is an advantage that is completely irrelevant to most of us.


i sure as hell can't!

you double that cap and i'm merely 2x SOL!

sure, you can load up all your big textures for a render. but let me say it again - that's only the case if you have enough money to actually locate those mem sticks onto you rig!

and if you don't pony up... any advantage? doubt it. in regards to amd64 over p4, it will be a dead heat (if amd is lucky) and it will be MORE expensive regardless.

i'd like to see some numbers running the g5 against a p4 with the BEST COMPILER POSSIBLE for each machine. that will be the true test.

sure it's progress but not necessarily anything that means anything to regular folk like me.


i'm rooting for amd.... competition is good... FOR ME.

but they made some dumb moves this year that stacks a lot of cards against them.

1. amd underestimated intel speed gains. what they intended to be the p4 opposer (the ATHLON64, a 700+ pin socket cpu) features single channel ddr memory (like the apple, unlike the dual channel p4s) and will probably be unable to keep up in performance (or even price/performance (!) ) with intel.

2. amd sought to rectify the situation by basically slapping a new name on their opteron chip and marketing it as the ATHLON64FX... it supports dual channel ram but only the ECC variant!!! (that's kinda up in the air now... i hear different things but this is bas if so) as if getting 4 gigs of ram wasn't expensive enough, ecc ram is that much more. these will likely be competitive with current and upcoming p4s and the prescott but it comes at a price likely greater than the comparable p4.

3. nail in the coffin - all future athlon64s (vanilla and fx) will move onto a different cpu socket form factor early next year! that means you won't be able to simply upgrade your cpu.

for a mere enthusiast like me without the unending buffet of dollars upon which to sup, all of the above are deal breakers.


Ed M.
09-12-2003, 03:57 AM
OK, I don't normally post outside of the MacLW boards, but this time I was invited first, let's try and clear up a few things and then point out a few other interesting tidbits I've been mulling over.

First, I suggest that everyone read my posts here:


Similarly I encourage anyone who might be interested in other things I've posted in these new forums to simply do a search on my user name (Ed M.) and visit the most recent (within the last 6 weeks let's say) posts; there is a lot of good discussion and good information - from me and PC-users alike. Well worth the read.

Now here is something that I've been thinking about recently. If true, it might not sit well with the PC-Windows crowd. I'm still working on finding out a few more details, so the jury is still out.

This one particular comment has me thinking about something that a large majority of PC people seem to be unaware of or perhaps were misinterpreting the information regarding native 32bit app support under AMD64 CPUs. First, let me post the excerpt:

Knox also played the consolidation card, revealing that AMD is currently in discussion with VMWare. Theoretically, if VMWare ends up supporting Opteron, the result could be a situation where IA32-compatible and AMD-64 bit-compatible virtual machines can be run on the same system-- an interesting possibility for those who are consolidating.

That snip was taken from Page 2 of this article:


What has me puzzled? Well, for one thing, I was under the impression that the Opteron and upcoming Athlon64 would be able to run 32bit apps right alongside other 64bit apps *at the same time* (concurrently / simultaneously) as long as the system was running under a 64bit operating system (e.g. Windows64). This has been preached forever by PC-people that some sort of Windows64bit for the desktop would allow this capability and as long as you were running under a 64bit OS like Windows64 then you'd be able to run both 32bit apps and 64bit apps together simultaneously. -- fine, I believed it.

Then I read the above article where according to AMD worldwide enterprise business development director Kevin Knox, in order for the AMD64 systems to run both types of apps simultaneously would require a virtual machine (VM) that would provide *emulation* for 32bit apps to run under a 64bit operating system such as Windows64 for the desktop (again, just as an example).

After reading that snip, I get the distinct impression that in order for PC-users to run 32bit apps they have to be in some sort or mode or *state* that only allows 32bit apps running under a 32bit OS to run and that while in that mode or state, the apps would execute natively and act as any other 32bit app on a 32bit system... However, if they want to gain access to 64bit apps, then a different state or mode needs to be initiated where only 64bit apps will run and 32bit apps will not. This essentially becomes an "either / or" scenario and one that seems like a serious hack-job.

Imagine if you will, a PC-Windows-user that had to reboot or somehow "mode change* the system to use older 32bit apps that weren't yet converted to 64bit and then back to 64bit mode to use whatever nifty 64bit app was available.

Why else would AMD need to be consulting with VMWare if the AMD64 technology already offers side-by-side, simultaneous execution of 32bit and 64bit apps running concurrently on the same system?

Why would they need a virtual machine (emulation) for 32bit apps while running under a 64bit OS? I think MANY PC people are unaware of this and will be sorely disappointed if it were the case. Did I misread something or misunderstand something? This seems odd coming from an AMD representative. Admittedly, I don't know all the facts, but it raises a few questions

- Will there need to be a reboot or some other method for changing back and forth between the 64bit mode and the 32bit mode in order to run the desired apps?

- When AMD said that the Opteron and Athlon64 would run existing 32bit apps natively at native speeds, did they *really* mean that the chips would indeed run them natively as long as users were running under the appropriate and corresponding Operating System (i.e., Windows32 for 32bit apps and Windows64 for 64bit apps)?

- Would BOTH the 64bit and 32bit versions of the appropriate operating system need to be installed on the same system in order to achieve this level of functionality? If yes, the there would be a nearly double amount of OS bloat, including drivers.

- Even if both apps were to be running concurrently on the same system at the same time, how will 32bit/64bit interoperability work (e.g., cut from 64bit app and paste into 32bit app)?

- If a different state or mode is required it might mean that 32bit and 64bit apps would be unaware or *blind* to eachother as far as data is concerned, yes?

There are probably other questions one could raise, but these are the ones that come to mind. Anyway, I pose these as serious questions for everyone to consider, because for the longest time now PC-users have been stating that 32bit apps would run natively and concurrently, as-is on AMD64 as long as the OS was 64bit. Then I read the above article and I get the feeling that it might be a pretty big *gotcha*. How would you guys interpret the statement?

I also read about VMware here:


09-12-2003, 04:45 AM
Microsoft does have a Windows version that is 32-64 Bit compatible it is currently going though the stages of Beta. But that does not stop the current users of the Opteron or the soon to be Athlon 64 in using 64 bit technology. Even at 32 bit the user will see an increase in application performance. Also Microsoft nor any other application developer is running late in shipping product for the 32-64 bit platform as AMD has always Clearly stated that the Applications will start to be available by Q4. There are games on the the shelf now that are 32-64 bit geared toward AMD64. Epic Games has already ported the Unreal Engine over to 64-bit. As I'm sure id Software have done the same also.

The Intel® Itanium® 2 processor is uniquely architected for demanding enterprise and technical applications. IA-32 [aka x86] applications are supported by Itanium processor family and support will be enhanced with the planned introduction of IA-32 Execution Layer [Ripped directly from Intels Site]. The Itanium was never designed to replace the Pentium. The Pentium is a Consumer chip.

09-12-2003, 04:47 AM
Hi Ed, your post is very interesting.

Regarding how the Opteron might juggle 32 and 64-bit apps:

AMD has claimed that the Opteron is a hybrid 32-64 processor. It certainly would be a problem if users couldn't run both at the same time.

Could it be like jin suggested earlier, that two Windows operating systems live simultaneously on the hard drive, using a dual boot arrangement? Maybe similar to what Apple did in the transition from the legacy Mac OS9 to the newer OS X.

Opteron systems have recently come on the market, though without Win64 they haven't sold very many so far.

Maybe some Linux freaks have bought these Opteron boxes already. You'd think that they may have encountered this situation already with 32 and 64-bit versions of Linux on the same machine.

jin: Photoshop is running in 64-bit mode on the Apple G5. Also, Brad Peebler and his company (which I won't mention) have been crowing that it only took them a matter of minutes to convert their app to 64-bits for the G5. I'm hoping that Newtek will announce Lightwave64 for the G5 very soon.

Only a few of Apple's larger customers have received their G5s yet. During the next week or so there should be many more G5 workstations being delivered to end users, so we should find out more then.

I'm using 2 gigabytes of RAM on a G4 Mac right now. My machine won't take any more, but I'd add more if I could. Many people on the Newtek forum say they are using 2GB of RAM. I think it's fairly common. Remember, the amount of RAM people use tends to double about every year or so, which is why we're edging close to the 32-bit RAM ceiling.

Compositing apps can also use lots of RAM. Not only because they're rendering large video files, but also because they can cache video in RAM for smooth playback.

I often render image sequences in Lightwave, then with LW still running I load up Adobe After Effects and cache the images into RAM. You can never have too much RAM for this kind of thing. It's just a matter of what you can afford.

09-12-2003, 05:08 AM
From that ZDnet article it sounded like to me that AMD was not talking about a Windows VMWare but on a current distributin of Suse Linux that is 64-bit users that were using something similar to VmWare built by Suse allowed users to run 32-bit apps.

OH x86-64 is an Open Archetecture. Just because another chip company other than Intel has made a major change in processor technology on the Mass scale and ment to be used in other than Enterprise servers does not mean that it is "AMD" propritary format. It is just as easy to write 64-bit code as it is 32-bit code.

Also there is a wide exceptance of the AMD technology by major companies, IBM are using it in their servers side by side to their UNIX POWER4+™ servers and also Cray are using it in the next Gen Systems, which they have extensive knowledge on 32-64bit application compatibility. Of course you will never know who buys from Cray as most is Governement or large Corporations.

09-12-2003, 08:37 AM
sure is a lot of nonsense in this thread.

first off;
"Just as the Opteron/Athlon 64 architecture can execute 32-bit and 64-bit code side by side, so can Windows XP 64-bit Edition for AMD64. You can be running a 32-bit applications right alongside a new 64-bit application, both running at full speed with no slowdowns. Everything, such as games, graphics applications, programming utilities, will run as seamlessly in XP 64-bit edition as they do in today's 32-bit editions of XP."

taken from;
http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=amd64xp&page=1&cookie%5Ftest=1&MSCSProfile=95385A1F52DEA1A229D5B3754205446452BD30 18AFC4ED4A51671EC9CEC1CC05B319C788C7C0F79EF81E825A 3343749EB612E2C211E4819506241202CC12020F83570A30A5 9CA313354CFB8ED96B7849F80974890327830561B3B04FCD67 CAC17D3F3642F2B7A952FB3B4E4E56776AA3F6D04DB164F832 1393676B6CC60390E76BAF19FE6E6E7B56

so dont worry about executing 64/32bit applications, it works. and the emulation amd talks about are indeed for linux as wizcracker mentions.

also there is no real point in having photoshop being 64bit or lightwave for that matter, as long as they arnt made to take advantage of it, the gains will be small and close to insignifiant.

this is also why osx 10.3 wont take real advantage of 64bit in the first place. is a piece of cake, in most cases, just compiling your program to 64bit, but there wont be much of a gain by doing so except for marketing reasons, which some seem to eat raw.


09-12-2003, 09:07 AM
MacWorld test results... G5's vs G4's:


09-12-2003, 10:09 AM

It's funny how everyone gets into these big debates over Co. claims about how fast their new machines are and in the end you get 30% increase in speed.

These are nice numbers mind you, but not worth all this fuss.

As for PCs. There is no coordination like you have on the Mac. Parts comeout before an OS that can use them. OS's come out but hardware is not there. Then the Software has to wait till everyone gets their collective **** together before they can have something to work with do start doing their thing.

The switch from 16bit to 32 bit on the PC side was just as bad. (I still have an old copy of Byte magazine.... $3000 for a 386 16Mhz machine with a 20MB hard drive...those were the days...)

Apple will always win the first move since they create both the OS and hardware but over time the PCs will catchup. So don't worry...at least until the 128bit processors come out



Ed M.
09-12-2003, 01:57 PM
Well, after reading a few posts by the PC users claiming once again that AMD provides simultaneous side-by-side support for both 32bit and 64bit apps on the same system, yet the information gathered from that article just doesn't support that claim. First, is the tremendous size that would be required to store 2 versions of the Windows libraries, drivers and whatever else it needs. One for 32bit and one for 64bit. But that aside, why would Linux users *need* a virtual machine (emulation) to achieve this and Microsoft wouldn't? You would think it would have already been accomplished in the Linux world; certainly before Microsoft. So to say that VMWare is doing it for Linux users is silly and doesn't add up.

On the same token, I'm not going to believe snips taken from a *gaming* site. It just seems like more PC-people *hoping* for something that just might not be there. I'm not saying it isn't, but it just seem they are acting that way.

Another thing is *price*... Has anyone looked at what a virtual machine from VMWare currently costs? Go take a look and then report back.

Now tell me, Microsoft is going to offer *NATIVE* support for 32bit apps without an emulator running under 64bit mode? Why couldn't Linux do that too? Why would AMD even need to be talking with VMWare? More importantly, if the hardware supports it as PC people have been claiming, why would that have been posted by an AMD representative in such an article? It just doesn't add up and I have a hunch that there is more to the story. The fact is that a *rep from AMD* just said that they are talking with VMWare to provide this feature of 32bit app execution alongside 64bit apps through a virtual machine (emulation). They certainly wouldn't have to; especially if Microsoft is going to provide native-speed support for 32bit apps in Win64. I mean why run emulation? What's more is that the software to accomplish such a task would run quite a bit of money. As a matter of fact the 64Bit version of Windows for Opteron will cost just as much as a G5 if not more. The Athlon64 isn't out yet and it's likely that the OS for it will take quite a bit longer too -- not to mention the fact that they are still selling mountains of 32bit systems.

People mentioning developers (gamers mostly) state that they will support 64bit, but has any of them mentioned *when*? I'm only aware of a single game vendor and the game won't be available for another 2 years.

People saying that Opteron is being adopted by a lot of large companies with backing are failing to realize that the Opteron currently holds SECOND PLACE FOR THE SLOWEST-SELLING CPU, right behind Itanium. Bottom line is that they aren't selling. A tad over 5000 CPUs isn't encouraging.

I have a funny feeling that when AMD said that the AMD64 technology supports native 32bit apps and can run them at native speed, I think people misinterpreted it. I'm kinda guessing that they meant to say that if you have the current OS and apps which are 32bit they will run native on this processor and if you are in 64bit mode, your 32bit apps will run in an emulation environment. Again, I say this because AMD is speaking with VMWare, a maker of expensive virtual machines. My argument is that they wouldn't *need* to be talking to a company that will provide emulation for 32bit apps in a 64bit OS environment because the hardware already supports it.

Can someone find a direct quote from AMD or an AMD rep (or even Microsoft) that states that 32bit apps will be able to run at native speed while executing concurrently with 64bit apps under a 64bit OS such as Windows? I mean we already have an AMD worldwide enterprise business development director stating that they are planning a Virtual Machine for Opteron...

I still say the information was misinterpreted by PC-users. We'll have to wait and see.


jin choung
09-12-2003, 02:17 PM
hey ed,

a lot of your arguments can apply against g5 too. what about their drivers? what about their software? 'when' for them too....

besides, i think it is noteworthy that it is amd and not M$ that bought vmware....

don't everybody start frothing at the mouth quite yet. we'll see soon enough.


and those g5 benchies look similar to what you see about 32bit performance on amds.... clock for clock (you have to extrapolate... there are not any clock for clock head to heads in that chart), the g5 has a slim if any lead.....

as we all keep saying, 64bit is not equal to massive performance increase... it's little if any borne out by two different implementations now. if you've got and can afford the memory, that's where you will derive your advantage.

09-12-2003, 02:42 PM
Ed, AMD is talking to VMWare because there is no version of VMWare that supports their 64-bit CPU or a 64-bit OS, not because they need an emulation layer for 32bit code. VMWare is for running multiple OS's at the same time. This is useful for testing a new OS before deployment or for testing software under multiple OS's.

AMD's white papers state that the Opteron and Athlon64 will execute 16, 32, and 64 bit applications simultaneously with no emulation.

jin choung
09-12-2003, 03:17 PM
well there's the final word on that then. straight from the horse's mouth. no rumor - no speculation - no extrapolation from circumstantial events eh.


now let's see a head to head on amd64fx vs. g5.... although since they're both single channel, amd64 might be a more fair comparison.


Ed M.
09-12-2003, 03:19 PM
a lot of your arguments can apply against g5 too. what about their drivers? what about their software? 'when' for them too....

No, it doesn't. I'm not going to regurgitate it here (again). If you want to find out why it doesn't simply do a search on my user name and visit the most recent threads I've posted. developers will need to do very little and most of the time nothing because Apple has done a great job with their APIs. The same arguments do *not* apply ;-)

Anyway, a 64bit system is much more than a system that can access more than 4GB or RAM. The G4 was capable of handling more than that too. The limitation was the OS as well as developer *need*.

To directly quote Ernest Prabhakar, Ph. D. Product Manager, UNIX & Open Source at Apple:

Currently, the best way to make use of the most physical memory in OS X 10.2.7 is to use the usual mmap APIs, since size_t is 64-bit. While you can only map in < 4 GB at one time in the 32-bit memory space [at this time], the caching [VM] is good enough that you will usually get very good performance for > 4 GB.

Apple planned ahead. Period. The PPC ISA was designed to be 32/64bit native right from day-1. This was brilliant thinking. Apparently there will be a lot of Panther that is 32 bit, However, Panther's kernel will be 64bit ;-)

When Apple designed their IOKit, they were thinking far ahead (very smart). Taken from a developer note online, this is what was mentioned:


"Fortunately, somebody at Apple was really thinking ahead when IOKit was designed. IOKit uses an abstract class, IOMemoryDescriptor, to hide the exact details of pointers to I/O buffers from KEXTs. Provided that a given KEXT doesn't bypass IOMemoryDescriptor, it will support DMA to and from 64-bit physical addresses in 10.3 with no code changes. In fact, if I understand the situation correctly, old KEXTs need not even be recompiled."


The bottom line is that unless you absolutely *require* an application data space that exceeds 4G then the fact that 10.2.x (maybe even Panther?) only provides up to 4GB of RAM (currently) for *each* app that is running is not a limitation OR any kind of performance hit/issue. The G5 is a 64 bit processor operating on 64 bit data while running current 32bit app (thanks to Apple's APIs and the fact that the PPC ISA was designed that way) and runs a full speed.

As it stands right now, current 32bit apps can have access to a lot more 64bit features that the G5 offers and neither a full 64bit OS nor a full 64bit app is required. For AMD and Intel a full 64bit OS and a full 64bit version of the app will be required to get at any of the features of the AMD64 technology. (Refer to my post regarding AMDs compatibility modes)


Ed M.
09-12-2003, 04:25 PM
First of all, that seems to be a VERY old Whitepaper... However, you'll have to show me where it states that 32bit and 64bit apps can run simultaneously and concurrently on the same system while also maintaining data integrity/compatibility, The same goes for different versions of device drivers attempting to operate on a particular piece of hardware. For instance a 64bit app (say a paint application) requiring a 64 bit driver for the video card that's being used as well as one for the printer and then a 32bit version of Photoshop while attempting to retouch a photo. Nowhere in that old white paper did I see it explicitly written that both 64 and 32bit apps will be able to run side-by-side at the same time. I did read it quick though, perhaps someone would be kind enough to point it out to me?

I did extract this from the Whitepaper though:

Compatibility Mode: Compatibility mode allows operating systems to implement binary compatibility with existing 16-bit and 32-bit x86 applications. It allows these applications to run, without recompilation, *under a 64-bit operating system in long mode*. In compatibility mode, applications can only access the first 4GBytes of virtual-address space. Standard x86 instruction prefixes toggle between 16-bit and 32-bit address and operand sizes. As with 64-bit mode, compatibility mode is enabled by the operating system on an individual code-segment basis. Unlike 64-bit mode, however, x86 segmentation functions normally, using 16-bit or 32-bit protected-mode semantics. From the applications viewpoint, compatibility mode looks like a legacy x86 protected-mode environment. From the operating system’s viewpoint, address translation, interrupt and exception handling, and system data structures use the 64-bit long mode mechanisms.

Compatibility mode supports binary compatibility with existing 16-bit and 32-bit applications under a 64-bit operating system. It allows these applications to run, without recompilation, under a 64-bit operating system in long mode. In compatibility mode, applications can only access the first 4 gigabytes of virtual address space. Standard x86 instruction prefixes toggle between 16-bit and 32-bit address and operand sizes.

Neither says *at the same time* nor does it say *concurrently* with respect to simultaneous 32bit/64bit execution.

The AMD Opteron and upcoming AMD Athlon 64 processors will transparently detect and support the appropriate computing environment for each application, enabling unprecedented flexibility and efficiency while delivering the performance users need to meet their most rigorous application demands.

The above quote from AMD tells me that the processor will automatically detect which environment a user will be placed in depending on which application a user decides to launch (only under 64bit *long mode though). This tells me that users will have a choice to either function in a 64bit environment uner a 64bit OS or function in a 32bit environment under a 64bit OS and that you won't be able to run both 64bit and 32bit apps simultaneously on the system. I've not read it as describing that. I get the impression that it will kind of work like a dual-boot situation where users will call up which ever environment they wish to work in, but that both types of apps will not be able to run together simultaneously.

AMD is currently collaborating with its key platform suppliers, operating systems providers, and other technology partners for the x86-64 architecture. AMD plans to include 64-bit technology in its next-generation of performance-leading processors code-named “Hammer” to establish an initial base of 64-bit platforms by the end of 2001.

Initial base? It's already the end of 2003 and they only sold a little over 5000 AMD64 CPUs!


09-12-2003, 04:51 PM
You answered your own question with an answer Ed.

Protected mode allows the 32, 16 etc bit software to work in the same environment along side the 64 bit apps. All the problems you are bringing up won't happen because in reality it is a kind of emulation. Although AMD may ask you to define *emulation* the way Bill asked for the definition of *sex*

Windows already does virtual machines that allow dos 16 bit apps to run along side the rest of the 32-bit software without a problem, without 16-bit and 32-bit drivers so 32-bit on a 64-bit environment is the same issue. This is already old hat so why mention something that is not new.

Now will they run slower than on an unemulated environment is anyone’s guess? I doubt that they will since the processor is still better than its predecessor.

On a side note I'm sure that will cause a big stir. After looking up virtual machine on the Microsoft site I discovered that Sun won their lawsuit and Microsoft has to stop developing any virtual machine software in windows. (Probably the reason they're delayed) So this may cause a big problem for Intel's 64-bit processors, which don't support 32-bit code except through the virtual machine code...
That's my take on it anyway. Anyone else have any info on this and what this will do to windows?


don't have the link but do the search and it's the top link. I also wonder if this is part of the reason that AMD is looking at VMWare?

Another thing to realize is running 32&64-bit apps is an OS issue not a proccessor issue so they would never mention this since really "it's not their problem"

Looks like the Virtual Machine is just the Java code so it is a non issue in this diuscussion.

09-12-2003, 04:55 PM
Page 5 of the pdf has a table comparing x86-64 to other 64bit processors. The fith item on the x86-64 side says "Full support for 16-, 32-, and 64-bit applications running concurrently."

jin choung
09-12-2003, 05:10 PM
and finally,

at the very least, the whitepaper does away with the supposed significance of the whole vmware thing.


09-13-2003, 01:07 AM
Took me a few seconds to find the info on Microsoft developing for the AMD64 at http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/winhec/eyeonwinhec/64bit.mspx and here http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2003/Apr03/04-09AthlonOpteronPR.asp http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/kmarch/hh/kmarch/other_1wdj.asp and Interesting read on 32 eviroment in 64 http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/kmarch/hh/kmarch/other_02lj.asp WOW64 http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/kmarch/hh/kmarch/64bitamd_636v.asp http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/kmarch/hh/kmarch/64bitamd_636v.asp Some technical stuff http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dv_vstechart/html/vcconwindowsdataalignmentonipfx86x86-64.asp

09-13-2003, 02:54 AM
WizCraker, some of those Microsoft documents you linked to underline what a headache it'll be for developers writing code for 64-bit Windows.

The differences, problems and headaches seem to be much worse for Itanium than Opteron. No wonder very few developers have taken the plunge to port their code to Itanium.

Betting the Farm

Out of the three 64-bit desktop players, I think AMD has the most at stake. Opteron must be a success or it'll be the end of AMD.

I think Windows users should support it, even if there is a slight speed hit. If AMD disappears you'll get a much bigger speed hit from Intel further down the track. People forget that before AMD showed up, Intel's x86 processors were the slowest on the planet.

Apple is doing well so far with the G5. It's selling like hotcakes and is now the biggest selling 64-bit processor there is. Apple has doubled its market share since the release of the G5.

I think the big failure is the Itanium. Despite ten years of development, it has made little impact on the market. The company that has even more at stake with Itanium than Intel is Hewlett Packard. HP has invested everything in Itanium, but only had dismal sales so far. How long can it continue? How much of Intel's and HP's money must be going down the drain due to the Itanium?

09-13-2003, 04:36 AM
sketchyjay, you need not worry about microsoft and making virtual machines. the case only concerns their flawed java vm. also there is no virtual machine needed concerning running 32/64bit applications.

please ed, provide us with an objective point of view instead of your increesing magnitude of needless FUD. and dont refer to me as a 'pc-user' when you obviously doesnt know. im simply trying to take an unbiased look at this, and clearing out some of the bad misunderstandings you, and others, polute this thread with.

"AMD64 is an AMD innovation designed to deliver compatibility with existing 32-bit x86 solutions and simultaneous industry-leading 64-bit performance."

"[..] of simultaneous, native 32- and 64-bit computing on the AMD64 platform” Rich Heye, AMD vice president and general manager


"We've also enhanced the instruction set so that you can run either 64- or 32-bit applications--or, if you want to, both simultaneously" Ben Williams, director of AMD's Server Business Unit.


its great that you like apple and mac so much, and osx is a great operatingsystem. its clear that they have made some good thoughts and taken many right decissions so the upgrade to ibms 64bit cpu will be smooth and pleasent.

clearly windows isnt as well designed which is also why it takes forever for microsoft to make the amd64bit version. though that doesnt mean the system wont be good when it arrives. surely the beta seems to indicate windows xp64 could actually work rather well.

and just to clear out one other thing. the g5 as some of you like to call it, or powerpc 970 as it is the actual name, is an ibm cpu and not some work of genius by apple. microsoft might be bad at it, amd as well, but apple are by far the worst when it comes to biasing its users creating unreasonble FUD, which is sad considering they should aim at being trustworthy.


09-13-2003, 08:27 AM
Originally posted by stone
im simply trying to take an unbiased look at this, and clearing out some of the bad misunderstandings you, and others, polute this thread with.

Originally posted by stone
osx doesnt yet take advantage of 64bit . ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

I think Microsoft is the big FUD spreader.
"Linux is more expensive to use than Windows"
"If you use Linux you may be unlawfully using someone else's intellectual property"

etc, etc.

09-13-2003, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by stone

please ed, provide us with an objective point of view instead of your increesing magnitude of needless FUD. and dont refer to me as a 'pc-user' when you obviously doesnt know. im simply trying to take an unbiased look at this, and clearing out some of the bad misunderstandings you, and others, polute this thread with.

Hehehehe. That would be like trying to remove the oxygen from the air. Beam why did you drag him over here. :o


While the Mac is alright I don't think most people really care as much as you think they do. ;)


09-13-2003, 01:47 PM

I read through all the tech docs at Microsoft and the transition to writing the code for 64 from 32 and making drivers and apps compatible is very easy to understand. There are some hurdles as there was from 16 to 32, but it is straight forward and in some ways easier to write. As a developer I'm more excited this time around than last.


Epic Games:

"We're going to ship the 64-bit version of UT2003 at or before the consumer [upcoming AMD]Athlon™ 64 [processor] launch [23 September 2003]. And our next-generation engine won't just support 64-bit, but will basically REQUIRE it on the content-authoring side.

This platform is going to be a godsend for anybody running serious workstation apps. It will beat other 64-bit workstation platforms (SPARC/PA-RISC/Itanium) in price/performance by a factor of 4X or more. We tell Intel this all the time, begging and pleading for a cost-effective 64-bit desktop solution. Intel should be listening to customers and taking the leadership role on the 64-bit desktop transition, not making these ridiculous "end of the decade" statements to the press."

"If there aren't widespread, consumer-priced 64-bit machines available in three years, we're going to have a hard time developing games that are more compelling than last year's games."

From Microsoft's Brian Valentine:

"Windows Server 2003, which is the next generation Windows Server platform force that has 64-bit computing natively built into the platform for the first time in the server, and also in the workstation release we will be doing. Before I get started, when we started working on this project many years ago with AMD—we’ve been there from the beginning with this project—they came to us and they said, “Gee, we’d like to do something new.” I said, “Well, that’s interesting. What do you want to do?” They said, “We’d like to do a 64-bit processor.” I said, “Well, that’s kind of interesting. What else?” They said, “Well, we’d like it to be 32-bit compatible.” We said, “Whoa, that would be pretty interesting.” And they said, “We’d like it at a price performance level that makes it pervasive and can be used in any workload in the industry in a very cheap way.” We said, “Oh, that’s very interesting.” So we’ve been working together with AMD since the beginning on this project, and it’s been an exciting project all the way through.

64-bit computing, we think it’s the wave of the future. Up until this point, 32-bit is still very pervasive but the beautiful thing about the Opteron processor is it’s a 32-bit processor also. So don’t forget about that. We’ve optimized Windows Server 2003 and XP, and the future versions of Windows will be optimized still for 32-bit computing and will be optimized to run on the Opteron as much as any other 32-bit processor out there. The same thing with 64-bit. it isn’t just about scientific computing. It isn’t just about database computing. It’s about making a Windows server and a Windows desktop run in 64-bit in every workload that any customer might want to run it in. That’s what it’s all about. And 64-bit is the wave of how we get to that pervasive high end computing model today; but also will become pervasive in just about every workload in the future as we move from 32-bit to 64-bit in the world; and the Opteron is a great step to help us get there. We really like the chip.

The other thing I’d like to talk about is not only about the performance capabilities, but the compatibility capabilities. We are seeing some great compatibility in running 32-bit applications on top of the Windows 64-bit platform. So we are also optimizing not only to run great 64-bit applications, but we are also optimizing Windows to also run 32-bit applications even better than what you can perhaps see in certain memory constraints or certain processor constrained scenarios on Windows 32. So we’ll make 64-bit not only great for 64-bit applications, but we’ll make it also run 32-bit applications in a great way. I’m not just talking about server applications, I’m also talking about desktop applications."

09-13-2003, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by js33
Beam why did you drag him over here. Everyone is welcome in this forum!

WizCraker: Your quote from Epic games is interesting...

"If there aren't widespread, consumer-priced 64-bit machines available in three years, we're going to have a hard time developing games that are more compelling than last year's games."

I think we agree on one thing... that 64-bit computing is needed by the home user within 3 years. For the professional graphics users it'll be needed much earlier.

I think that within a year from now it'll be quite common for Lightwave users to have more RAM installed in their machines than the 32-bit limit allows.

New processors designs always appear on high-end machines and then filter down to low-end machines later. Think about this... if Intel's high-end users desert their 32-bit processors (as the gamers and graphics professionals will), how will Intel finance the development of future low-end 32-bit processors?

09-13-2003, 09:01 PM

Throughout this entire disscussion I was not saying that the G5 is bad, in fact I would not mind having one. I would sit it next to the Opteron system.

Here is another link to AMD on pricing. Note the price next to the new 846 Opteron, yikes talk about a price to compete with the Itanium2. Oh and for those who do not know the reason the price is so expensive is this line is an 8-way or as it can go up to 8 proccessors in a server or 4 in a workstation.

** Edit :: oops forgot the link **