The migration to the next generation of computer hardware is happening already, albeit somewhat
The migration to the next generation of computer hardware is happening already, albeit somewhat quietly.
While computer processor speeds have increased dramatically over the years, the maximum amount of RAM has remained stagnant. And as anyone in this industry knows, software used for video production and other related multimedia fields needs a lot of memory to perform comfortably. In 32-bit PCs, the maximum amount of RAM tops out at four gigs; while in Apple's widely used Power Mac G4 32-bit computer (built 1999-2004), you're maxed out at two gigs.
In computing terms, a bit is a binary digit. It's the smallest increment of data that a computer processes. In the late 1970s, computer chips processed eight bits of information per operation; beginning in the mid-1980s, 32-bit computing eventually became virtually ubiquitous.
64-bit computing quietly began to arrive around 2003. After a few false starts by various industry players, that was the year that AMD's AMD64 chip architecture arrived, quickly followed by Intel's equivalent Intel 64 technology. A 64-bit version of Windows XP has been available since mid-2005, and Windows Vista will ship in both 32- and 64-bit versions. Apple will be using Intel's 64-bit technology to power its soon-to-arrive OS X 10.5 'Leopard' platform.
At a minimum, 64-bit computing promises buckets and buckets more RAM than 32-bit computing, whose standards were set in the 1960s and seventies, back when four gigs of RAM must have seemed like an astronomical amount.
The current 64-bit computing architecture allows for a whopping 128 gigabytes of RAM in Windows, and the theoretical maximum is an absolutely astounding 17,179,869,184 gigabytes, or 16 exabytes.
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