View Full Version : The transition to 64-bit computing

06-20-2003, 05:55 PM
The new range of Apple PowerMacs brings 64-bit computing into the mainstream. Even the low-end PowerMacs are sporting the new processor.

Over the years, many have said that 64-bit computing is not necessary for the average home user. Whether it is necessary or not, 64-bit computing has arrived and is headed for the homes.

Apple is releasing new machines with a whopping 8 gigs of RAM. It is likely that to use this huge amount of RAM it will be necessary to run OS X 10.3 (Panther) which will probably be released in around 10 weeks time.

So the time has come that the 4GB addressable RAM limit (of 32-bit machines) has been passed. Only 64-bit machines are able to exceed this. It won't be long before we have lots of Lightwave users running 8GB of RAM on their new Macs.

We now need a new Mac version of Lightwave that is 64-bit savvy. Newtek should invest whatever time and money is necessary to bring Lightwave into the 64-bit realm. The estimated release date of Lightwave 8 ("Q4, 2003") will be well after the release of OS X 10.3.

This week (at WWDC) Apple will be making available new compiling software to assist developers making the 64-bit transition. I hope Newtek software engineers are keeping track of these developments.

Lightwave 8 must be a 64-bit application.

06-20-2003, 07:13 PM
The huge increase in Ram is a clever strategy. Developers will start to take advantage of this which will leave a lot of folk high n dry, forced to buy new machines.

What are the advantages of 64 bit?? What areas would this be useful in?

06-20-2003, 10:38 PM
I see the biggest advantage being the ability to address more than 4GB of RAM. This may or may not translate into a speed advantage, depending on the application, and whether it needs lots of RAM.

If you run a normal 32-bit application in one of Apple's new 8GB RAM machines, your application will only have access to 4GB of that RAM. Only 64-bit apps can access all the RAM. Application developers must recompile programs to make them 64-bit apps.

Riki, I think you're right that the advent of these new 64-bit machines will in itself result in more RAM hungry apps. It's a bit like processors. When the processors get faster, software engineers will write programs that must have the faster processor.

As I said in previous threads, about 6 years ago Apple was selling machines with 8MB of RAM. That's 1% of today's machines. Back then it would have seemed outrageous to have a computer with 8GB of RAM.

I wouldn't be surprised if in a year computer manufacturers were selling machines with 16GB of RAM. Then it'll be come a necessity to have 16GB of RAM!

06-20-2003, 10:58 PM
I'd love to know what kind of effect this will have on the gaming industry. I can imagine a future release of Playstation with added extras like motion capture and peeps trying to doctor a work-around for LW :) Lots of good things to come.

Wow gaming could actually become good for your health :) Quake Aerobics :)

Karl Hansson
06-21-2003, 12:50 AM
you know with 8GB you could run Lightwave from a RAM disc and make it run even faster.

06-21-2003, 08:34 AM
seems that the only thing about more ram,bigger drives,faster processors, is it makes programmers lazy.
they now write bloatware.

A word processor for the Amiga was about 1.3 megs and did pretty much everything there is to do with writing, now it takes up 150 megs to do pretty much same stuff.

Deluxe paint took 3 megs and did full screen full motion video

now drivers for video cards take that much room and photoshop grabs takes 75 megs and uses every bit of ram ya got.

Whatever happened to the 'LEAN MEAN' programmers ?

We need a version of windoze that would install 'ONLY' the parts needed to run LW and the TOASTER and leave all the other junk off.

As a matter of fact EVERY program that has anything to do with graphics, should be keyed to LW and will only install parts needed to work with Newtek products.

06-21-2003, 02:48 PM
We need a version of windoze that would install 'ONLY' the parts needed to run LW and the TOASTER and leave all the other junk off.
I agree with you prospector. Unfortunately, people like you and I don't drive the industry. Microsoft and Apple feel they need to stuff their operating systems with software so they can boast the capabilities of their respective OS'es. The way things are going, we're going to buy computers with all the software sealed in and the choice all dependent on what software is included in the OS.

Think I'm crazy? Look at what is coming pre-installed in today's computers. Intenet browsing, word processing, money management, music applications, and in some cases, video editing and DVD production. Wonder why Microsoft is virtually the only company making a word processor nowadays? It's because most PC's come with Microsoft Works and have an upgrade path to Word. Third parties can't compete with this. It's only going to get worse. I'll bet Windows one day is going to come in a DVD instead of a CD because it's going to take up that much space. The crazy thing is, most of the world will see this as a good thing.

Personally, I just want my operating system to boot up my computer and do basic functions such as file management and launch my software. I want third parties, like Newtek creating my applications. This model spurs competition. It's the democratic/capitalist way of doing things. What Microsoft and Apple promote is nothing short of communism.

06-21-2003, 03:06 PM
actually, what Microsoft is practicing is Imperialism - trying to take over the world - communism means rule by the people

06-21-2003, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by toby
...communism means rule by the people
Only as an ideal. All implementations of communism have had a "state" that strives to be in control of everything. That's why I used it as an example for Microsoft and Apple.

06-21-2003, 06:19 PM
Originally posted by prospector
We need a version of windoze that would install 'ONLY' the parts needed to run LW and the TOASTER and leave all the other junk off.
Prospector, what you want is Mac OS X. The most Object Oriented operating system ever built.

"Object Oriented" is a term used to describe operating systems that come with components like building blocks that can be reused by other parts of the OS, or reused by applications. It's sort of like recycling of code, resulting in increased efficiency and smaller file sizes. (That's a non-expert description of O.O. and OS X.. Someone who's into this subject could describe it much better).

The Mac G5/IBM processor (and for that matter AMD also) could result in lazyness by programmers, as they don't have to recompile their apps to 64-bits to make them work. The processor will run them in 32-bit mode, though with less RAM.

The only thing that'll make companies recompile their apps to 64-bits is if they think their customers may go elsewhere to get a 64-bit app from a competitor.

06-21-2003, 06:40 PM
Every time you thank Apple for OS X you need to thank the Unix/Linux groups who made it what it is thru all thier un-celebrated strides in computing. That and restricted hardware :)

I'd love to see a Linux version of LW- hell if SN works in Linux could a Linux verision LW be that hard to do? That would be something...doesn't DF run in Linux too? Were just a few steps away from MicroLimp and SourApples!

06-21-2003, 06:42 PM
Oh and no mater how many bits my computer is it's not going to make my 3D work any better than it's base idea- or my spelling any better either:)

06-22-2003, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
"Object Oriented" is a term used to describe operating systems that come with components like building blocks that can be reused by other parts of the OS, or reused by applications. It's sort of like recycling of code, resulting in increased efficiency and smaller file sizes. (That's a non-expert description of O.O. and OS X.. Someone who's into this subject could describe it much better).
Beam, while this sounds good, is it in fact, true in reality? I mean, how much usable RAM does OSX use when running programs like Lightwave? Are file sizes really smaller than their Windows counterparts? I'm asking this because I really am curious if this is so. I haven't had day to day experience with Macintoshes in seven years and have no experience in OSX. My experience then was the Macs were very bloated and wanted a ton of RAM (or what was a "ton" in those days).

06-22-2003, 05:47 PM

I'm sure you're right...today's 8GB of RAM will soon seem like yesteryear's 8MB of RAM...

but what will all of that RAM facilitate - other than to allow hungry applications to slurp it all up??

will it facilitate gargantuan files with oodles of objects, scads of lights, teeming masses of particles, etc?

or is there something about the ability to process lots more data per clock cycle..all that data has to *go* somewhere, and will therefore require more RAM??


06-22-2003, 09:02 PM
What good is all that RAM????

Well, the first point is that people will have it, now that Apple is selling machines with 8GB of RAM. If people have that RAM, they'll want to use all of it, and won't want to be forced to use just half of it because their application isn't 64-bit.

I've got 2GB of RAM on my machine. I use the OS X Terminal application to see how much RAM is being used. During some Lightwave functions, it's all being used. If my current machine had more RAM slots I'd put more RAM in.

Some applications that use lots of RAM, such as databases and some video applications will run faster (in 64-bits) because they have more RAM. Other apps, such as a word processor, wouldn't notice any difference.

With Lightwave I don't know if it'll run faster. Former Newtek programmer Arnie Cachelin was always a bit luke-warm about the idea of having a 64-bit Lightwave.

However, speed isn't the only reason to move to 64-bits. Lightwave scenes are becoming more and more complex with large image files and other complex effects. People with 512MB of RAM often struggle.

1GB of RAM is really the absolute minimum you should have these days for stable performance. 2GB is comfortable. Also, Lightwave may not be the only application open on your machine.

We're now in the era when RAM is measured in Gigabytes, and no longer megabytes, and 64-bit computing is mainstream.

06-23-2003, 02:26 AM
I was thinkin bout macs when thew Amiga was no longer being made,
but they were so dang propiratary then that if it wasn't built by Wosniak then it wouldn't work.
Don't know bout now tho.

And seein as I only build my own computers and never buy a prebuilt one (carried over from days when a pre-built one would carry a markup of nearly 75% over what I could build myself)
I went with the PC.

maby Tim Jennison could talk B.Gates into doing a 'Lite' version of windows ?

I am not even thinkin bout goin ta XP.
2000 is where I will probably stop untill Newtek forces me to do something else.

06-23-2003, 04:16 AM
You thought the Mac was "so dang proprietary" but then you went with M$?

At least the Mac adheres to international standards. M$ is the proprietary one, destroying international standards. I mean, do people really like Microsoft Windows? Or is it the challenge of build-your-own-beige-boxes that brings people there?

A few years ago (G3 days), Apple had much faster personal computers on the market than anything that came from Intel at that time. Intel got ahead for a while, but now Apple has regained its crown.

Intel will have further worries around the corner when 64-bit AMD/Windows boxes emerge. Anyway, competition is a good thing, and putting Intel's butt on fire will make them mov faster.

06-23-2003, 12:05 PM
Don't understand Beam...

When I was changing, the Mac was built so everything was on the mobo...
I had no choices of anything. The Mac way or no way..

But the PC way , I could get this modem, that video card,this mobo with that CPU.

Bill Gates made that possable
Jobbs didn't

You had
Mac mobos
Mac video
Mac sound
Mac Ram

Or nothing

And I don't like international standards,
I want what I want
not what the French want :D

06-23-2003, 03:32 PM
p. - I understand that you prefer your own choice of parts, but mac's way is no more "proprietary" than Amiga, Sun, SGI, Ford, Chevy, Blaupunkt, etc.

b. - "Apple has regained its crown"? G5's not even out yet dude!

06-23-2003, 03:53 PM
The 64-bit Apple G5, and it's got 8 gigs of RAM!

64 bit computing has arrived for the masses. Software companies can ignore it at their peril.

It won't be long before the low-end iMacs go 64-bit, and Windows users will get 64-bit beige boxes in the not too distant future.

06-23-2003, 04:04 PM
yes it's announced, but we have to see it go faster to hand out the crown, that's all I'm sayin' - I've seen "new, hot" motorcycles come out, with more horspower, but end up bein' slower.

(kinda ugly machine ain't it?)

06-23-2003, 04:17 PM
I like that ideas behind the new Mac tower. It's implementation is a little funny...and limiting the front to only one external 5 1/4" slot is kinda lame. But it's nice to see something different out there....

Btw Beam... I haven't seen a beige PC in years... hard to come by one nowadays that isn't black, neon green/blue, brushed metal or just plain clear...

I'm glad Apple has finally gone to IBM for their power... I think it's a well needed boost to Apple's ego. Heck, I almost want one now. =) Hook one of them up to a wide screen cinema display and you got yourself a kicka$$ setup. :cool:

As far as software companies going 64...until a 64-bit Windows is out and about in the common computer, there is no dire peril need for 64-bit compiled software. Even if the G5 does perform as good as the Pentium 4, that won't shift the market by any landslides.

It'll be fun to watch all the fray....don't get me wrong though...I've been wanting 64-bit even before the Itanium was a whisper of a rumor.

06-23-2003, 11:16 PM
I think you can swap cases (not that you'd want to... it looks sick!).

I have always wondered why only one/two bays in front...

06-24-2003, 05:00 AM
I am sorry, but I think all this new faster technology will only make programmers more lazy into writing optimized code. I think many applications could run much faster than they do to day only from better code. It's the wrong way to go.

06-24-2003, 06:02 AM
I agree with that, claw...I don't have the programming knowledge to support the argument, but my tech friends who do all echo your statements...

It appears that some in the programming community want just to get the product out the door, and rely on the iron to achieve speed efficiency.

we sure can't get away with that behaviour in web design, can we?? you can't take the same images you put in the annual report and expect people to sit by while 35MB of your stuff downloads..you have to optimize the images FOR the web..to meet the realities of the medium to ensure a good user experience.

not so in software-writing, I s'poze..