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Irrational News When I'm 64 BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 18, 03 | 1:37 pm

Today's the day Apple's new G5 computers (nicknamed the "Cheese Grater") hit the stores. Continuing its corporate tradition of innovation, the G5 is the first desktop PC with a 64-bit processor. Why should you care?

According to John Markoff in the New York Times, the move to 64 bits will again make the personal computer a significantly different kind of information tool. From his article....

"Microprocessors are generally defined by the number of pieces of information they can manipulate at once. A 32-bit microprocessor, for example, can move, add, subtract or multiply numbers that are 32 zeros and ones long. A 64-bit processor is capable of handling binary numbers consisting of a string of 64 zeros and ones.

It is the length of the information string that determines the amount of random-access memory, or RAM, a processor can make use of during a task. The more RAM per task, the greater the computing power.

Thirty-two bit processors are limited to a theoretical maximum of handling 4 billion bytes of RAM per task. (A byte equals eight bits.) But by the magic of exponential math, a 64-bit processor can theoretically handle 16 quintillion (or 16 billion billion) bytes of RAM. For all current practical purposes, that is an infinite amount."




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