64bit Gaming?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by eclipse525, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. eclipse525 macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Location:
    USA, New York
    #1
    Maybe someone can shead some light on 64Bit deal. What kind of advancements might we see when they start writing Apps. for 64Bit? Also, how will it affect the gaming world? Thanks.

    ~e
     
  2. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #2
    I don't know if there would be any difference anytime soon...graphics cards are already 128 and 256-bit and from what I understand, the majority of muscle needed for games comes from the graphics card as opposed to the processor itself.
     
  3. toughboy macrumors 6502a

    toughboy

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Izmir, Turkey
    #3
    I believe, eclipse525 has pointed out a really important issue.. If 64bit envirionment adds a lot to the rest of the tech world, why shouldnt it add to the gaming part?

    if the graphic cards already run at high bit levels, then it means our systems will come closer to the graphic cards, so we will see more of the potential of the next generation graphic cards which will be compatible to 64bit systems...
     
  4. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #4
    I don't see a CPU reaching 256-bitness anytime in the near future, though. Same with 64-bit native games, I know developers will start exploiting the platform, but it will be a while before they really start since there isn't a big percentage of 64-bit personal computers out in the masses yet.
     
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #5
    There seems to be a huge amount of misinformation and misunderstanding about the real-world advantages of a 64-bit CPU. I believe I have a reasonably good idea of what the facts are, but I can't seem to find a decent, accurately-written FAQ on the subject anywhere. Here is one FAQ on the subject that, while it's rather technical, does provide a reasonably good idea of the issues involved:

    http://www.anandtech.com/guides/viewfaq.html?i=112

    Basically, a 64-bit processor lets you do two things that a 32-bit one doesn't: Make use of more than 4GB of RAM, and process 64-bit data chunks.

    The RAM issue is a biggie for high-end pro applications and especially servers, but really has little to do with most regular PC users or gamers--a couple of gigs of RAM is more than enough, even for high end gaming.

    The 64-bit intiger issue sounds good--twice as much data=twice as much speed--but it's really not that simple. The thing is, the chunks of data that are passed around in most applications don't need to be any bigger than 32-bits, and regardless of the upper limit to the size of a chunk that can be processed, the CPU can only process one chunk at a time.

    That means that, basically, most applications get no benefit whatsoever out of a 64-bit CPU--they don't need either the extra memory or the bigger data chunk size. I'll also mention that the G4/G5's 128-bit Altivec unit CAN process two 64-bit or four 32-bit chunks in parallel, which is why it's so fast on operations that can be heavily optimized for this kind of processing.

    If you're a scientist or running a server that does deal with big chunks of data and lots of RAM, then 64-bit kicks butt, though.

    All that said, games actually will see some benefits eventually, I believe. Though a lot of a game's speed is based on the graphics card, there is still quite a bit of work in most games that is done by the CPU, and the kind of work that CPUs do might in fact benefit at least a little by being 64-bit--I've heard things like more detailed textures mentioned (though probably not actual "performance" increases--just better looking graphics).

    A 64-bit version of Unreal Tournament 2003 exists as a sort of technology demo for the Athlon 64, although I've never seen a comparitive benchmark for it. I asusme that, eventually, there will be a few high-end games that give you a bit of extra graphics quality on a 64-bit CPU, but likely not many for a while, and even longer before we see any on the Mac.
     

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