64-Bit Computing
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Computer Science Clay
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#1
25-02-2009, 02:32 PM


64-Bit Computing

The question of why we need 64-bit computing is often asked but rarely answered in a satisfactory manner. There are good reasons for the confusion surrounding the question. That is why first of all; let's look through the list of users who need 64 addressing and 64-bit calculations today: oUsers of CAD, designing systems, simulators do need RAM over 4 GB. Although there are ways to avoid this limitation (for example, Intel PAE), it impacts the performance.

Thus, the Xeon processors support the 36bit addressing mode where they can address up to 64GB RAM. The idea of this support is that the RAM is divided into segments, and an address consists of the numbers of segment and locations inside the segment. This approach causes almost 30% performance loss in operations with memory. Besides, programming is much simpler and more convenient for a flat memory model in the 64bit address space - due to the large address space a location has a simple address processed at one pass. A lot of design offices use quite expensive workstations on the RISC processors where the 64bit addressing and large memory sizes are used for a long time already. oUsers of data bases.

Any big company has a huge data base, and extension of the maximum memory size and possibility to address data directly in the data base is very costly. Although in the special modes the 32bit architecture IA32 can address up to 64GB memory, a transition to the flat memory model in the 64bit space is much more advantageous in terms of speed and ease of programming. oScientific calculations. Memory size, a flat memory model and no limitation for processed data are the key factors here. Besides, some algorithms in the 64bit representation have a much simpler form. oCryptography and safety ensuring applications get a great benefit from 64bit integer calculations.
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