Information Kit: 64-bit Computing

Part of the Learning guides glossary:

 In this Issue

>> From the Editor: What is a 64-bit processor?
>> Featured Topic: 64-bit Windows
>> Best Web Links: Annotated links to help you find information about 64-bit computing
>> Additonal 64-bit Computing Resources: White papers, expert advice, and more...


 From the Editor: What is a 64-bit processor?

 by Cathy Ketcher
Site Editor,

A 64-bit processor is a microprocessor with a word size of 64 bits, a requirement for memory and data intensive applications such as computer-aided design (CAD) applications, database management systems, technical and scientific applications like those used for predicting weather, and high-performance servers.

See our complete definition for 64-bit processor


 Featured Topic: 64-bit Windows

Remember the day Windows 95 came out? Thousands of people across the nation camped out at computer stores -- the benefits of 32-bit processing were obvious, even to the lowly end user. Seemingly overnight, the entire world made the transition from 16-bit to 32-bit operating systems.

Programmers were ecstatic too. No more segmented programming or extended vs. expanded memory. Certain programming problems, such as having 16-bit integers, went away too. No doubt about it, 32-bit computing was a big improvement.

The evolution continues. Intel, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, and AMD currently develop or offer 64-bit processors. A 64-bit chip has 1 terabyte of virtual memory compared to just four gigabytes in 32-bit processors. (To put this in perspective, one terabyte is 50% more information than all of the printed material in the Library of Congress.)

Will 64-bit computing change the world as we know it? Or is 32-bit computing more than enough to meet the average user's needs? We've gathered resources to help you find out.

Introducing 64-bit Windows


Related Links:

An Introduction to 64-bit computing and x86-64

Check out 64-bit processing

How microprocessors work




 Best Web Links

Looking for answers to your 64-bit questions? We've collected these resources to help you decide if 64-bit technology has a place in your enterprise.

HARDWARE: The goal of 64-bit computing is more powerful hardware and better application performance.

SOFTWARE: If you need more performance or are developing new applications, you may want to consider migrating from 32-bits to 64-bits. Wondering how much work is involved and which enterprise apps will most benefit? Find out here.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: In 1965 Gordon Moore observed an exponential growth in the number of transistors per integrated circuit and noted that this trend would likely continue into the future. Follow the evolution of Moore's Law as it applies to 64-bit processing.

Find the latest headlines and news about high performance computing.

Glossary of terms
Looking for a term related to 64-bit computing? We've collected them for you here.





 Additional Resources: White papers, expert advice, and more...

10 White papers on 64-bit computing

Browse our expert advice about 64-bit computing:

Ask our expert your questions about 64-bit computing

Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, and all that

This was last updated in May 2008
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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  • Learning guides

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