Does 64bit make any difference on Macbooks ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by TheBrazilianGuy, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. TheBrazilianGuy macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2006
    Please, post your opinion. Here are my two cents on this subject.

    I have read several posts defending the idea of "get a new Macbook C2D because it uses 64 bits technology and it is more bullet proof than the not so old core duo models". This sort of misleading message is being spread much faster with the upcoming Leopard release.

    It looks to me that the current situation is exactly the same years ago when AMD introduced their 64 bit solution to the market. Many people jumped to the wagon without even thinking what that technology really meant (there were no Windows version to get advantage of 64 bits and even linux had its bag of issues). So they paid a hefty price in order to get their "bullet proof" AMD CPU without any gain on real world applications (but only on the buyer's psyche :rolleyes: ).

    Despite the fact that Leopard is (will be) a native 64 bit operational system,
    I do not see how portables will take real advantage of it. If you could
    install more than 4Gb of memory, then it could be arguable. Sometimes, marketing aside, it is good to remember that the difference between 32 and 64 bits comes down to how a computer stores and makes connections to memory, data, files, etc. A bit can have a value of 1 or 0, nothing else. By using 32 bits your processor can represent numbers from 0 to 4,294,967,295 while a 64-bit machine can represent numbers from 0 to 18,446,744,073,709,551,615. Hence, if you do not have enough memory in the system, your bullet proof 64 bit CPU is nothing better than a 32 bit CPU (well, at least for numerical calculations).

    I am NOT saying that Leopard will run slower than Tiger as everybody well knows how Apple takes pride on releasing polished and sleekier systems everytime. I just want to make a point that portables will see 64bit advantages when they get more than 4Gb of physical RAM.
    Until then...
  2. countach macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2006
    Three points:

    1) It is not physical memory that matters, but virtual memory. On a 64 bit system you could run a program with a 6GB footprint, even with only 2 GB of actual memory. Not that many people need to run a program that uses 6GB of memory, especially on a laptop, but still, the possibility exists.

    2) Some time in the future, there may be 64bit-only apps and/or OSes. If you don't plan on keeping your laptop for at least 5 years, this may not matter.

    3) If you have a number of computers, you will get a more consistent experience if they are all 32bit or all 64bit. This is because universal binaries will be released with both 32 and 64 bit code in them. If there's a bug or problem or difference in behaviour between them, you won't get the same experience. This may be important in corporate environments where they want to test something and deploy it everywhere and know it works.
  3. TheBrazilianGuy thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2006

    Thanks for the note about the virtual memory. Still, as you already
    pinpointed, who is going to run such load on a macbook ? Not the average

    About note (2), people move on to newer machines from time to time.
    There are always exceptions but they eventually give up. Just
    ask someone who bought AMD's first 64bit generation laptops.
    Right technology but wrong timing.

    About note (3), I would be much more concerned about universal
    binaries than the dispute between 32 and 64 bits. It is not hard to
    find people willing to get Powerbooks, G5's and such.

    My objective with the original post was to open the discussion whether
    Leopard will make real use of the 64 bit on a Macbook. My guess is that
    the average user will not have any advantage.

  4. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    u nailed it, as the speed of 64Bit software development, I don't see C2D 64Bit will be anything but an empty promise
  5. mikefly macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2007

    what about the 802.11g vs 802.11n?


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