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Old 12-29-2005, 07:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Consumer’s Guide to 64 Bit/Dual Core

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Consumer’s Guide to 64 Bit/Dual Core
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If you’re building your next PC you may consider using a new processor that supports 64 bit and you may even consider using a duel core processor. Is it really the proper time to use 64 bit and duel core processors when there is such little support for it. Lets explore the truth and rumors about 64bit/duel core computing.

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Why Dual Core
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Dual Core is a huge advantage in the process of making faster CPUs. With a single core you can only increase the clock speed so much before you start to harm the processor due to heat this can be thought of as a wall that no single core processor can break without greatly shortening its lifespan. With Dual Core you no longer need high clock speeds; a processor with two cores can now have lower clock speeds to perform just as good as or better than single core chips by splitting the load.
  • There are also many physical advantages of using the clearest reason is 64 bit registers opposed to 32 bit registers. When large amounts of data is used a 64 register will outperform a 32 every time. Because they are larger though they will hog more of your systems memory making lots of RAM essential on a Duel Core/ 64 bit Processor. For the past 10 years or so Single Core/32 bit was standard leaving users with RAM limitations. With 64 bit registers we are no longer restricted to 4 Gigabytes (2^32) of RAM. With this new technology we are restricted to 17 Billion Gigabytes of RAM (2^64) which is hardly a limitation with today’s technology. 4GB is overkill now but no doubt it will become outdated in the future. Duel Core and 64 bit Technology is a way of future proofing your system.

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Building 64 bit/ Dual Core Computers
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There are many things to look into when building your first 64 bit and dual core computer. The most important is the clock speeds. You get more bang for the buck now with two separate cores at the processors speed instead of one core so upgrading a few GHz has a greater affect on a dual core processor than a single. This also means you can still get more performance with conservative overclocking but the OC'ers who want to go all out will truly benefit from this.

Perhaps the most important thing to do before you build your computer is make sure there are 64 bit drivers available for your hardware in your case double check before you upgrade. It would be a inconvenience if your webcam and such would not work using a 64 bit operating system even worse imagine your sound or video card are not supported. Before you pick your parts out on newegg or your retail of choice be sure to head over to the manufacturer's website and see if it's compatible. Look before you buy!
  • Things are not as bad as they seem though I was fairly surprised when I built my first 64bit/Dual Core PC. Of course I made sure all my hardware was supported but the support already available was better than I could have hoped for. Most of my machines drivers were natively detected, my media card reader was detected, Xbox360 Controller for Windows, External Hard drive, Printer all natively detected. Don't be fooled by people who have never even used a 64/Dual Computer tell you there is little driver support for the 64 bit operating systems.

A huge mistake that people make is think that AMD is their only choice for using Duel Core and 64 bit Processors. Intel has a few Pentium Ds out there that are duel core as well as the Pentium Extreme Edition. Intel processors that are 64 bit and Duel Core will say EM64T on the box. All AMD processors are now 64 bit, but also capable of running 32 bit apps. AMD's Dual Core Processors are the AMD Athlon 64 X2 Series and the AMD Opteron 16, 17, and 18 Hundred Series. Regardless of what company you are loyal to they both can offer you this new technology.

A mistake that often leads to disappointment is that a 2.0 GHz Processor is actually 4.0Ghz. You do not double the speed because there are two cores. Each Core operates at 2.0 GHz. This is more than enough when these two cores are sharing the load that one Core normally takes on all alone.

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Moving to a 64 bit Operating System
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If you have a 64 bit/Dual Core Computer there is no reason to not upgrade to a 64 bit Operating System. Linux and UNIX users have taken advantage of this for many years but even Windows is now offering choices to the 64 bit/Dual Core market. I am no UNIX or Linux user so perhaps some could fill in the blank spots. Regarding Microsoft though they have 3 main choices for you. Windows XP Professional x64, Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64, and Windows Vista x64. They offer their server brand for businesses and corporations and Windows XP for home users. Windows Vista will be released second half this year with 64 bit/Dual Core support for those wanting the bleeding edge Technology. Since XP x64 is what most will be using lets take a look at that.
  • Its based on Server 2003 SP1 x64 Edition, which means it can and does use the same updates and service packs as their leading Server Operating System (Which you can guarantee they will be supporting even after Vista is released). You will not have to sacrifice your existing 32 bit software. XP x64 can run native 64 bit code as well as 32 bit code through WoW64 Emulation you will not noticed a speed decrease using 32 bit apps on a 64 bit OS.

    The only downfall is that XP x64 has no support for 16 bit programs. These are legacy apps and are not common. A Legacy 16 bit app came from Pre-Windows 95 days. It is pretty uncommon to use 16 bit apps in today’s world unless you are really into playing DOS based games.

    The common myth is that useful 32 bit software works on XP x64. The truth is almost all Microsoft applications work, Program Database and Web design applications work, Adobe, Macromedia, Fire Fox, anti-virus, Visual Studio and most of the other big software giants offer working 32 bit apps and better yet native 64 bit apps. Also the myth that you can not use any Virus Scanner is false there are plenty of Virus Scanners being developed and many are already finished.


    List of must have 64 bit applications:

    Avast Anti-Virus
    Mozilla Fire Fox
    Clone DVD & Clone CD
    Window Blinds
    Adobe Acrobat/Reader

    A huge list of working and apps that do not work that I could not list in this guide and that I did not find to be a must have app.
    List Of Programs

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Gaming
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Gamers take advantage of Dual Core and 64 Bit Technology. You can encode/decode a movie while playing a game without noticing a performance lose when the acclaimed killer AMD FX-57 would not perform as well. This clearly is an exaggeration but having dual core even helps in today’s 32 bit games with multitasking. I doubt everyone shuts down all their services, music, firewalls, and operating systems down when they play their games. Think of a X2 3800+ it’s basically two 3200+ chips, this means in single threaded apps you have one core/3200+ devoted to the actual game, and the other could be set to handle all of the background workload such as music, web browsers, running the operating system, decoding movies, etc. But when games become 64 bit and multithreaded is when gaming on this new technology will shine. There will be a great performance increase and that day is not too distant many of the future games will be 64 bit and multithreaded. Oblivion the predecessor of Morrowind, Unreal 2007, hopefully Halo 3 to name a few. Even some of today’s games like Unreal 2004 are 64 bit and multithreaded. When this day comes one core will handle calculating the physics for example while the other core handles sending the frame to the GPU. Non gamers will also benefit though from greater multi tasking power with less performance decreases. Where they can now run Visual Studio, Dreamweaver, PhotoShop, Web Browser, and Music at once with less performance decreases.


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Conclusion
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There is no reason why you should not get a 64 bit/Dual Core Processor if you are building a PC. They run just as fast as today’s 32 bit apps and in the near future you will see great performance increases when almost all programs migrate to a 64 bit code base. The only thing that should prevent you from embracing this technology is the price as with everything new there is a sizeable price tag. In short this technology can be summed up as Fast, Stable, and Compatible.



Credits: I would like to send many thanks to Gaara and Nubius who have helped me compile this helpful information. I would be grateful if the TF community could help work out the errors in this article and perhaps contribute.
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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AMD Opteron Series: The Opterons are said to be better overclockers than the X2 Series.


AMD X2 Series: AMD's standard Dual Core flagship product.


Intel EM64T Series: Intels that are cabable of handling 64 code.



AM2 Series: The next generation of AMD Processors that will support DDR2 RAM


Next-Gen Intel: Though AMD rules the market the next gen intel seems to be much better than the AMD and will be more efficiant per clock cycle. Some of their future processors will be quad core.




Edit: I will be updating this section soon with time.
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Community Requests

-Fix errors with the article

- I would be greatfull if people who own a AMD Opteron (I know there are lots of you) and people who own Duel Core Intels/ EM64T to post PM or Post me screen shots of the Direct X Diagnostic Tool (dxdiag).

- Provide details on what makes the Opterons Different from the X2s without downtalking the X2s as well as in depth info on the Duel Core Intels as well as the next generation processors.
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Old 01-07-2006, 10:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I know that there are several 32-bit programs like Adobe Acrobat which do not run under a 64-bit processor.

Most softwares are not yet ready for it I think.
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Old 01-07-2006, 11:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Where did you get this article from? It seems to be lopsidded by far towards stuff that is far fetched and not fully the truth.
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Old 01-07-2006, 11:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think he wrote it.
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Old 01-08-2006, 12:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by DJ-CHRIS
Where did you get this article from? It seems to be lopsidded by far towards stuff that is far fetched and not fully the truth.
Then please even it out and point out my errors, I'd like this to be accurate and informative for TF.


Piggysmile Adobe does work on a 64 processor and will also work on a 64 bit OS... If you want a list of 32 bit programs that do and do not work check the section under "Moving to a 64 bit Operating System"
Adobe Works
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Old 01-08-2006, 03:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I enjoyed your post. I think that it is very well written and will be very helpful to other people. I myself am upgrading to a 64 bit processor and am running linux. I'm not sure whether I should keep the operating system the way it is now in 32 bit mode, or if I should upgrade to the 64 bit version. I'll have to do more studying on the pro's and con's of my decision..
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Old 01-28-2006, 01:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Linux has many great x64 distros I can think of Fedora, Mandriva, and SuSe off the top of my head.
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