64-bit computing – coming to a computer near you

The technology enthusiasts who think and feel ideas take time to germinate can now be sure as the 64-bit computing has finally arrived where the software and the operating system run on the 64-bit CPU from AMD or Intel. The operating system of Apple has been 64-bit for nearly five years and Linux for around eight years. However, the compatibility problem has dogged this 64-bit Windows version since Windows XP were introduced. There are a number of key benefits like an improved performance and support for several gigabytes of RAM. However, the question remains why 64-bit now and also why you should care for it now?

To be honest, the promises of 64-bit computing were around for quite a while and some even think it can be a broken promise. However Microsoft offers a 64-bit version for their both Windows XP pro and Windows Vista Ultimate while there are also 64-bit versions freely available for Linux. According to Gartner one PC from every four that is sold today is built with 64-bit operating system. When it comes to hardware, both AMD and Intel have also offered 64-bit processors for several years. Apart form this; the additional RAM that is supported by the several buses is now surprisingly affordable due to the smooth manufacturing process and the typical levels of demand. The most important thing is that several companies like Autodesk, Apple and Adobe also offer their flagship software products in versions of 64-bit. For the first time Adobe offers their Creative Suit 4 with 64-bit version.

Therefore the main benefit has much to do with the memory addressing. Long ago, the master minds working at Intel and several other companies had decided that a PC will require just 32-bit register size as the amount of RAM that a CPU can easily access. Right after that in 2003 AMD had launched the first 64-bit processor called as the Opteron. However the rules suddenly changes as the CPU was able to access a surprising amount of RAM which can be translated to several gigabytes of RAM. This does not mean that you could not install so much of memory but even if you wanted to you could not. Therefore since then the software and operating system have been gradually catching up to the hardware to finally reach then today.

There are basically two main advantages of 64-bit for computers. For the consumers it would be like adding 8GB or 16GB of RAM so that the memory intensive applications like Adobe Photoshop CS4 can have enough overhead to cut off page swapping virtual memory. However running 64-bit version of Adobe Lightroom 2 on MacBook, additional RAM would mean never overloading your computer as it often tries to process several megabytes of images. Additionally for the consumers running 64-bit computing would mean that they never have to worry about how many programs and applications they are running. You will hardly experience a BSOD on a computer with 16GB of RAM as the programs are free to consumer the sufficient RAM they need so that the computer is processing information rapidly.

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