Core Blimey

MC Rebbe The Rapping Rabbi June Editorial in The Technofile - Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Apple & Dual Core ProcessorsEver since Apple introduced 64 bit…or as they would have it ‘super’ computing to the desktop, Microsoft, Intel and AMD have been playing catch up.

Put simply, 64 bit processors offer an exponential increase in computing power over the 32 bit processors most of us have been using for the past few years and are particularly relevant to creatives, who need this extra power for photo editing, running virtual studios, rendering 3D animation & real time video FX.

64 bit processors aren’t new, they’ve been around in servers for a while, but what Apple did was to incorporate not one, but two 64 bit processors into their G5 desktops, making 64 bit the new battleground…and at the end of last month, core broke out…

First Intel announced its Pentium D Processors, then, 3 days later, AMD announced its Athlon X2s. Both chips are ‘dual core’, which means they contain two processing units (or cores) embedded…which means ‘more power’ as you are effectively (or ineffectively…depending on your point of view) getting dual processors on one chip.

But processors are only part of the story, as 64 bit processors need 64 bit operating systems…and 64 bit operating systems need 64 bit applications…which take time to recompile/rewrite…so the solution has been to design chips and operating systems that will run both 32 & 64 bit apps in the interim.

April finally saw the release of Microsoft’s 64 bit version of Windows XP Professional (though it will be next year before ‘Longhorn’, their ‘next generation’ OS is released…allegedly…) and while this is good news for Wintel users, 64 bit applications are still thin on the ground. Added to which, there are numerous hurdles to overcome in the transition to full on 64 bit computing…even Microsoft admit it may take several years…by which time 128 bit processors (or something more radical…) will probably be available….and we can start all over again…

In the meantime, Apple seem to have a clear advantage as a) they were first into the 64 bit arena and b) they have a much higher level of system integration than Wintel (they make the hardware, the operating system and some of the key creative applications), but who knows what the future may hold…

MC Rebbe

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