Coffeehouse Thread

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Who has a 64-bit PC?

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  • eagle

    64-bit computing is going to get more support,"This is going to be a really wonderful transition," says Bill Gates in his keynote yesterday at WinHEC. Thanks to AMD and Intel we have the chips, but the software is not there yet. I built an AMD 64-FX box eight months ago and it's still running beta WindowsXP-64  software. Did you know you can add 16gigs of RAM to these machines? It boggles the mind, that we can each own a PC as powerful as that. Now we need software, and lots of it! 64-bit drivers are almost nonexistent now, but hopefully with the encouragement from Microsoft things will start falling into place in the race to 64-bit computing. Are you ready?

  • spod

    I've got a couple in my office - a quad amd64 and a I2...

    Have you looked at the itanium architecture / assembly language - that's one sophisticated chip...though i suspect the days of hand written assembly may be long gone..( except if you work for cern etc )...

    64 is a lot of bits though....if you had a program that just incremented a register in a tight loop, say doing a billion increments a second, it would take around 600 years for the counter to loop round...





  • eagle

    I wanted to build an Itanium system two years ago but learned that I can NOT get my hands on the chip-set. HP controls the chip-set named Pluto, so there are no motherboards out there.

    Did I meet you last year in San Francisco at the Embedded Systems Conference?

  • Shining Arcanine

    eagle wrote:
    64-bit computing is going to get more support,"This is going to be a really wonderful transition," says Bill Gates in his keynote yesterday at WinHEC. Thanks to AMD and Intel we have the chips, but the software is not there yet. I built an AMD 64-FX box eight months ago and it's still running beta WindowsXP-64  software. Did you know you can add 16gigs of RAM to these machines? It boggles the mind, that we can each own a PC as powerful as that. Now we need software, and lots of it! 64-bit drivers are almost nonexistent now, but hopefully with the encouragement from Microsoft things will start falling into place in the race to 64-bit computing. Are you ready?


    I won't until 3 years after both a 64bit Pentium processor is avaliable from Intel and 64bit versions of Windows is avaliable from Microsoft. Until that happens, I won't be using 64-bit.

    By the way, I'm aware that the AMD Althon 64 processor is 64bit but I refuse to use it. I want a 64bit processor from Intel; I will not use processors from any other company because I really like Intel and their products as well as a few other reasons.

  • Loadsgood

    By the time we get to Longhorn we will (probably) all be on 64-bit computers. Is Longhorn going to be just in 64-bit? Because if it was I think that it would be a sort of situation where 'the skies the limit' and Longhorn would be capable of many more things than just 'faster' processing.

  • sbc

    The bottleneck on PC's is not the processor but rather the hard drive (and PCI-Bus) so the speed of the processor (i.e. a dual AMD-64) is not going to make hard drive access any faster. The processor only speeds up processing (after you actually get the data from the drive). It would be even better if one day hard drive access was just as fast as RAM is today.

    I still think most can't really tell the difference between SDRAM and DDR Ram (maybe you will if doing heavy graphics processing - but even then, that is handled by the GPU).

    Does 64-bit make much of a difference when doing common things like word processing (compared to a 32-bit P4)? How can it make a difference to programs that are not processor intensive? Also faster processor may encourage less optimizations - if the processor can handle it there is no incentive to do so (except perhaps for server based software).

    What may work better now is have a very high-spec server and simply use thin-clients (or semi-thin), make the server do the heavy duty processing.

  • eagle
  • sbc

    I know you get PCI-Express and Serial-ATA, but those technologies don't seem to be in very common use (unless you buy a modern high-spec PC). Also, what about laptops (they can still run full size high-spec P4's, but everything else seems to lag behind)? RAM isn't really a bottleneck as it outperforms hard drives quite significantly. I wonder what it would be like to have hard drives operate at the speed of SDRAM (or even the older EDO RAM)

  • eagle

    With 16gigs of DD DDR RAM you will only need your Hard Drive when you Boot up.

    PCI-Express is not yet available, but I have been building  P4 3.0 with 800sysbus, SATA 180g HD, 128mb Video cards and a gig of DD DDR RAM  systems for about a year now.  

    The Penitum 4 runs too hot for a laptop and consumes too much power.  I have yet to see the Intel 800 system bus architecture on a laptop. Dotham, a successor to the Pentium M chip is coming out this week! 

  • androidi

    HDD accessing needs to be improved. There are some improvements coming along with the new SATA specs but the major improvements should be done in the OS & FS.

    Having a raid of whatever size is not the issue, neither is the bandwidth. I could get peak 200 MBytes/s on my home computer utilizing 4 HDD's simultaneously. Fact is access times aren't getting lower in same pace as there are other improvements. The OS should do some continous tracking of what happens on the HDD and try to optimize the file placement. Imagine the speed if everyone had two hard drives, which would show up as one hdd for simpilicity, but the OS would acknowledge that there is two hdd's and when you install software or copy files, it would always be done across the hdd's and only into already background defragmented areas. This would really make noticeable speed improvement when it comes to HDD. There is still time to do this for Longhorn I'd believe.

  • Shining Arcanine

    sbc wrote:
    I know you get PCI-Express and Serial-ATA, but those technologies don't seem to be in very common use (unless you buy a modern high-spec PC). Also, what about laptops (they can still run full size high-spec P4's, but everything else seems to lag behind)? RAM isn't really a bottleneck as it outperforms hard drives quite significantly. I wonder what it would be like to have hard drives operate at the speed of SDRAM (or even the older EDO RAM)


    While SATA is a considerable improvement over IDE, the hard disks themselves are the bottleneck, not the connection. That is unless you have a 74GB Western Digital Raptor drive and an SATA controller that supports NCQ, then it (although the translation chip on the Raptors would probably cap it to somewhere around 100Mb/sec) would probably be a bottleneck for bursts.

    RAM can be a bottleneck if all of the data you need is in the RAM and the processor can process it faster than it can recieve it.

    If hard drives operated at the speed of SDRAM you would probably have 1 to 3 second boot times.

  • Gandalf

    What I'd like to know is, how efficient is Windows for handling obscene amounts of RAM? Managing highmem can be a bit of a juggling act...

    I do not know what the advantage of 64-bit computing would be to casual users. Also, what is the performance penalty of having bigger pointers take up precious L1 cache real estate?

  • peartree

    eagle wrote:
    Are you ready?


    No, but that could change. 64-bit is obviously the way of the future, we're just in the same position we were when the 386 took over from the 286 chips.

    What would I say was THE most critical need right now? Drivers for hardware. The AMD chips can drive 32-bit apps, so there's no lack of apps that will work until the true 64-bit ones are released, but if there are no drivers for hardware, the whole move will take twice as long (or more!).

    By the time that I get the money, the prices should be down another 10% for the hardware, but I won't go if half my hardware won't work. It will all happen, the wuestion is- how fast? Drivers will be the key.

  • eagle

    Shining Arcanine wrote:
     

    74GB Western Digital Raptor drive and an SATA controller that supports NCQ, then it (although the translation chip on the Raptors would probably cap it to somewhere around 100Mb/sec) 



    SATA is a Seagate technology, I don't believe the clams made by Western Digital, have you tested for this result?

    Has any independent body tested the WD SATA at 100mb/sec?

  • Gambit

    We've got a couple of them in my office. Really nice set ups too. I only wished I could take one home Sad

  • One of the Twelve

    I have a 64bit system an Athlon 64 3000+, second mobo under testing, nForce3 150 wont get much recommendations from me, this current Asus K8V SE Deluxe has a Via chipset, but somehow Im still looking forward to the future nForce3 things... after 250.

    And as regards longhorn 64bit, Im bit disappointed with the driver issue ("Install longhorn drivers only") .. maybe there is a way to use XP 64bit drivers but I havent yet had time to investigate the matter forther... will do within 2 days (promise Wink )

    Why did I choose cheap 3000+ ? I could easily afford 3200+ or similar, but guys, there was a wonderful review/comparison at anandtech(?) site which made my decision not to "waste" $100 to bigger L2.

    64bit it the future and Im really looking forward to it .. from a view of a java/C++ programmer.

  • eagle

    I'm using the same Asus K8V motherboard, Asus does a good job but it is a 1st gen chipset.

    I attended the Intel ICC this week and the best news is that PCI-Express is coming in June!

    Also look for 32-64bit addressing by  Xeon Processors by years end.

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