64-bit computing

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Post by Kazer0 » Sun Jul 30, 2006 4:06 am

Newfie wrote: It could use multiple computers.

If the holodeck needed 256 EB RAM, 16 separate computer systems could work together to generate the imaginary environment, each one working on its own piece of the "world".

If Captain Janeway wanted to visit a fake Florida, one computer could do Orlando, another could do Miami, yet another could be dedicated to Disneyland, another for Sea World, another for... you get the point. :D


Or they could use 256-bit processors and have it all in a central computer. Else the computer would have schitzo.
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Post by sonyboy » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:12 am

Hey everybody, check out this processor: Intel A thousand for that thing, wow.

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Post by Quillz » Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:39 am

Anon wrote: No, because you know that as we get more advanced more will be required. As an example, I have a magazine from 2001-ish which condemns 1ghz CPUs for being too powerful. That wasn't too long ago, so before long we will see that kind of RAM needed
qft

In the world of technology, there is no such thing as "too much RAM," "too much hard drive space" or "too much processor speed."

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Post by Newfie » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:37 am

Quillz wrote: In the world of technology, there is no such thing as "too much RAM," "too much hard drive space" or "too much processor speed."


The thing is, that 64-bit CPUs are limited to 16 EB RAM. If we could say that 16 EB of RAM is enough for anybody, we wouldn't need to go through the trouble of inventing a 128-bit CPU.

Even now, the current AMD64 CPUs are dealing with 3 layers of compatibility: 64-bit (some Windows and Linuxes), 32-bit (the majority of Windows and Linux), and 16-bit (DOS and older versions of Windows).

If 64-bit were to be the final end of CPU technology, more time could be spent on improving rather than re-inventing.

Obviously, 4 GB RAM isn't enough for everybody, hence why 64-bit is needed to begin with, to break the 4 GB barrier. Hopefully 16 EB should be enough for everybody. If not, then I don't know what is.

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Post by TheDrunkenNinja » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:39 pm

Also remember that they are working on static RAM to replace the HDD. Soon we won't even need harddrives because the static RAM can hold the information. This will be much more secure. Anything spinning at 7200 RPMs is going to fail sooner or later. RAM is less likely to corrupt. So probably the more RAM support the better.

I believe with the way things are going we may need more and more RAM as time goes on. So they will have to continue and make 128bit processing and so on.
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Post by phantomk » Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:16 pm

When we get to 512 I'll be wowed until then ... :)

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Post by Newfie » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:28 pm

For a 512-bit CPU, I do believe Intel and AMD already have the capability to create one, trouble is, it would cost an incredible amount of money.

Even with the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit, I hardly noticed any speed increase (the normal 32-bit Windows XP is about the same speed as Windows XP 64-bit, and the normal 32-bit Linux is about the same speed as a 64-bit Linux, I tried them on the same AMD64 based system). So taking it all the way to 512-bit might not help that much for all the work and money needed to achieve it.

Therefore, the main compulsion to increase the number of bits of a CPU is the ability to have more RAM. We are on the brink of reaching 4 GB RAM and some servers need more than that, hence the main pressure for the need for AMD to have invented x86-64, the biggest milestone in computing history since 1985 when the 386 was invented, stretching the x86 architecture from 16 to 32-bits, it took Microsoft about 10 years to release a mainstream OS to make use of this major step forward.

If 640 KB was truly enough for anybody, we wouldn't have needed the i386, we could just keep having faster and better 16-bit CPUs. But alas, programmers were having a hard time cramming their software into 640K by the late 80s/early 90s, and it was necessary to "reinvent the wheel" so that RAM increases would be possible.

The transition from 16-bit to 32-bit was very painful in the 90s when Windows 9x had to try to juggle 2 different architectures and try to make them work together in harmony. 32-bit has only become uniform since Windows XP became popular, and now that we're hauling towards 64-bit, there seems to be some degree of struggle between the 3 generations of x86 architecture (Example: 32-bit Drivers will NOT work on 64-bit Windows, so if you have a piece of hardware that 64-bit driver doesn't exist, no go. Also, Windows 3.1 software will not run either).

Now, if we could sit back, and say firmly, "16 EB of RAM should be enough for anybody!", we could spare ourselves the sheer pain-in-the-butt of moving from one architecture to another once 64-bit becomes accepted as the norm.

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Post by Kazer0 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:10 pm

TheDrunkenNinja wrote: Also remember that they are working on static RAM to replace the HDD. Soon we won't even need harddrives because the static RAM can hold the information. This will be much more secure. Anything spinning at 7200 RPMs is going to fail sooner or later. RAM is less likely to corrupt. So probably the more RAM support the better.

I believe with the way things are going we may need more and more RAM as time goes on. So they will have to continue and make 128bit processing and so on.


They already have, check out the Gigabyte iRAM. Only holds 4gb though.
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Post by Newfie » Sat Aug 05, 2006 2:33 am

Interesting concept, having all of the computer's information in one big chunk of RAM, from running programs to all the data that is not currently used. The OS would boot from a RAM drive, and then the CPU would use the remaining RAM for the binary code/executables. Yet all of it is contained in the same big monolithic chunk of RAM (as opposed to separate hard drives, CD-ROMs, etc.)

If that be the case, the RAM consumption rate will grow to unprecedented heights, and the 16 EB limit might just not be enough for too long.

With that method, the average person would already need 80 GB RAM, while the heavy-duty movie and music users would need about 256 GB or more already, as of 2006.

My original theory was based on the assumption that RAM would only be used for data/software/binaries currently in use at a given moment in time. Once something is no longer in use (ie: quitting a program), it usually no longer uses RAM, freeing it for other purposes.

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Post by smithy_dll » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:15 am

TheDrunkenNinja wrote: Also remember that they are working on static RAM to replace the HDD. Soon we won't even need harddrives because the static RAM can hold the information. This will be much more secure. Anything spinning at 7200 RPMs is going to fail sooner or later. RAM is less likely to corrupt. So probably the more RAM support the better.


Wrong,

Samsung are the main entity working to replace HDD's with Flash ROM (yes, Flash memory is technically ROM, this is due to it being based on EEPROM, whose predecessors include UV EPROM and PROM).

It is important to know the distinction between RAM and Flash ROM because one is volatile (RAM, when the power goes off you loose your data), and the other is non-volatile (the bits are static even without power).

There are RAM Disc solutions which allow you to have 4GB RAM Drives, these are suitable only for HEAP type database tables due to their volatile nature.

Flash ROM is the most suitable type of memory currently avaliable to replace HDDs. However, due to the design of Flash ROM it is likely it will always be slower than DRAM in terms of access speed. However it will still be faster than HDD due to it's solid state nature, giving it 'instant' seek times.

You guys are forgetting a few things about jumping the number of bits of a CPU, cost. A 32bit databus requires 32 wires, a 64bit requires 64 wires, however a 16bit only requires 16 wires, this made the transition from 16 bit to 32bit less costly than the transition from 32bit to 64bit.

I should also mention that EM64T from Intel means Extended Memory 64, which means that it can use a 64bit database to address 64bit memory addresses for greater than 4GiB of system RAM. Single clock 64bit integer operations have been avaliable in Intel processors since MMX. Heck, even now they can do 128bit single clock integer operations with the SSE instruction sets.

Of course the issues are _alot_ more complicated than I have presented here, and heaps heaps more complicated than you have presented in your arguments Newfie.

Obiviously we should keep watching new technologies because one day DRAM will be replaced with something even better, as will Flash ROM, and the CPU as we know it won't exist in the same manner as it does now.

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Post by Techie-Micheal » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:46 am

I remember RAMDisks from my DOS days. Volatile in nature, they helped speed up access to certain things. That said, Solid State drives are becoming more popular and rather effective at what they do.
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Post by Newfie » Sat Aug 05, 2006 6:12 pm

Well, if RAM continues to be separate from the user's main storage, then 16 EB oughta be enough for anybody! :D

And if the flash drive is fast enough, Virtual Memory can do the job in the unlikely chance that more than 16 EB of RAM is ever necessary.

Everybody here today should be dead by the time we need more than 16 EB of RAM, if ever. :)

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