“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.