Apple’s Mac G5 64-bit processor means speed for video editors and content creators

“It’s been nearly a year since Apple rolled out its groundbreaking new personal computer, the G5. A 64-bit platform, the G5 uses one or two of IBM’s PowerPC 970 chips, and adds more than just faster chips to the mix. In this article, we’ll take a look at what 64-bit computing means for Mac video editors and content creators, how it works, and see what software is taking advantage of this new capability,” Charlie White writes for Digital Media Online.

“What does the term ’64 bit’ mean, anyway? Think of the data flowing through your computer’s components as cars on a highway. The 32-bit highway is half the width of 64-bit, so a 64-bit highway can accommodate twice as many cars going the same speed. But that only tells part of the story. What really makes the difference in computing is the number of possible combinations of that data, and there are far more than double possible with this new wider pathway. When you’re talking about 32 bits, that translates into 4GB of data that can be handled at once, or more than 4.29 billion combinations. Move up to 64-bit processing, and then the number of combinations is so high it’s hardly comprehensible — 16 exabytes, or 16 quintillion (that’s a 16 with 18 zeros) possible combinations of data. That’s the theoretical limit of RAM that’s possible with 64-bit computing. Sounds crazy, but then 4GB sounded like an astronomical number when 32-bit computing was coming into its own at the beginning of the 1990s,” White writes.

Full article here.


  1. Will the “first post!” crowd ever grow up? Why don’t you grab your cell phone and call someone, bother THEM instead? And why don’t you do it while driving your car? Your chance of hitting a tree and removing your genes permanently from humanity’s gene pool will increase tenfold this way. We will be ALL better off when it happens.

    … and we will have only useful coments here at MDN…

  2. This article underscores why I’m waiting to purchase a G5: right now the G5 is a faster chip waiting on some other tech to catch up and let it reach its potential.

    Everybody: You can pick up your trophy for Day’s Biggest Asswipe from yesterday’s winner at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.

  3. jfbiii, your comment to Everybody was the funniest thing I’ve read recently. I nearly shot milk out my nose, and I’m not even drinking milk!!!

  4. My deepest apologies for selfishly redirecting this extremely intellectual discussion thread and returning it to the topic of the article…

    What Apple and IBM are doing is far beyond the imaginations of the Microsoft/Intel/AMD crowd. Microsoft is currently talking about producing another 64-bit version of Windows (one that is not so stripped down) and then having a built-in 32-bit emulator to run all of the “old” applications. This is very old thinking and technology, but they have no choice. They are not even able to run the 32-bit version simultaneously, like Apple did with OS 9, because XP is such a huge memory and CPU pig.

    Apple and IBM’s current hybrid utilization of 64-bit architecture and 32-bit applications are so far ahead of Microsoft & Friends that the G5 that is sitting on store shelves today isn’t even within the hopes and fantasies of the Microsoft developers.

    Borrowing from Mazda… ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM!

    Perhaps Apple doesn’t need advertising; all they need is patience and natural evolution. In the mean time, Apple quietly builds a stronger foundation and better user interfaces. I don’t care if the world still runs on Microsoft and Apple doesn’t produce a single commercial for 5 years as long as I have a Mac on my desk.

    Watching Rome fall will be a tragedy for most, but entertaining for the rest of us. I can wait.

  5. Nice article. My hunch is that the new Tiger version of OS X will mark a big advance toward a FULLY 64-bit compatible operating system. Combine that with the expected big jump in G5 clockspeed to be announced in June, and we’re all going to have to hold on to our seats when running a new G5.
    Gotta hope!

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