Merom: 64bit, OS X 64bit = happiness?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Greebazoid, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. Greebazoid macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2006
    Cape Town
    I've been reading about the upcoming merom processor with some interest. I suspect, 25seconds after my core duo mini is out of warranty, it'll be on its back, in pieces getting a new brain.

    But that got me thinking (oh dear - always dangerous).

    The Merom and its family of CPUs are 64 bit. OS X on PPC is also 64 Bit. But I bet the OS X that's installed on my mini now is 32-bit

    So what happens when I open my baby, replace her 32bit brain with a 64 bit brain. Howz the OS gonna behave? Will I need to reinstall to get full 64 bit functionality?

    Any ideas?
  2. Piarco macrumors 68030


    Jun 24, 2004
    Can't say for sure, but Leopard will be out by then, so you should just upgrade straight to that for full 64-bit goodness....
  3. yippy macrumors 68020


    Mar 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    There won't be a difference at all.

    OS X being 64bit is a little deceptive. All of the code for Mac OS X is 32bit and runs as 32bit even on a 64bit processor. However, it is capable of addressing the full ram capacity of a 64 bit processor and allows for fully 64 bit applications to run on top of it.

    This was discussed when the G5 came out but here is a recap. Whether or not the OS is fully 64bit does not matter at all in terms of speed/power of the system. What matters is that the application itself is 64bit or can take advantage of 64bits. The advantage of 64 bit to most everyday applications is minimal to none and so they have not been rewritten yet, however, in very high end applications, like Photoshop, Final Cut (I think), and various scientific number crunchers, 64bits has a clear benefit and they are starting to be rewritten to take advantage of this.

    Essentially, there won't be a difference unless you have an application that is 64bit, and right now there aren't many, but in a few years it should be more common.
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    I'm not sure that full 64-bit apps will be common, even in a few years. In the past when more people had access to the code (in the days of NeXT) when the AppKit (the GUI part of Cocoa) was compiled and run in 64-bit mode instead of 32-bit mode it GOT SLOWER!

    There is no need for most apps to ever be 64-bit. Unless an app need more than 4Gb or RAM for it's process it's not really worth it.
  5. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    I think you need to hear the voice of the Mac buying mantra who's gospel sings the chorus "Buy what you need, when you need it."

    Meaning, if the Merom chips come out and they get great reviews and OS X 10.5 comes out and it gets great reviews, but you are still very happy with the speed and abilities of your current computer, then stick with what you got. The only time you should ever think about upgrading anything is when your current computer no longer meets your demands. So don't even worry about what's newest and fanciest, enjoy what you have right now.

    Only implement a solution after you identify a problem.

    Once in awhile you should step off of the upgrade treadmill so you can stop and smell the gui. :D
  6. Greebazoid thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2006
    Cape Town
    buying treadmill

    heh. yeah, you're right - but its fun fun fun...

    I'm actually pretty happy with the dual 1.66 - except at some of the games I like to play thru bootcamp. The extra ooomph provided by the stronger CPUs will definately bolster the 950 chipset's graphics power there.

    Also.. it should be noted, that tinkering and fisking is my way of smelling the roses of life
  7. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Ah, so your happiness lies in the quest, not the treasure. Many wise men have held the same view.
  8. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Honestly, bit-ness is not a reason to be excited about Merom. Bit-ness is not a good reason to be excited about ANY processor, in fact, because bits != speed. Merom (Core 2 Duo) will be faster than Yonah (Core Duo), but not because it supports 64-bit instructions and registers.

    Now, of course, it WILL be able to run applications that take advantage of native 64-bit support... but as has been mentioned numerous times in this thread (and elsewhere), there are precious few of those at the moment.
  9. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Hmm, now you have me thinking. Unless I'm misunderstanding something, 64 bit capability should enhance the quality of audio processing and summing. Most native audio programs (as opposed to dsp hardware based), including the high end guys, process all their audio data in a 32 bit floating point math space. This requires dither and/or truncation of all data to fit into 32 bits. If there is a 64 bit workspace then an enormously greater amount of data representing the audio can be processed before truncation or dither. So theoretically, once audio programs have been rewritten to take advantage of a 64 bit CPU it should lead to higher quality audio signal processing. Of course, doubling the bit depth of the signal you are processing will require double the amount of resources to process it, so maybe it's not such a great trade off after all.
  10. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    What you are saying is true about the G5 and about the PPC family of processors in general. This is because they were designed to be 64-bit from jump. Intel x86 processors were not designed as 64-bit processor from the beginning. Perhaps the 64-bit extensions to the IA-32 ISA behave much like the PPC in this regard. I don't know. I hope that someone who does know will address this issue.
  11. howesey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2005
    The main question is not the 32bit to 64bit jump on x86, but the new kernal for Leopard. Mach will be gone in favour of NeXT.

    Micro-kernals just do not cut it anymore I'm afraid.
  12. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    My SWAG...

    Nothing, it will basically act like a speed bumped machine.

    While the CPU may be capable of addressing more than 4GB, the chipset in the machine is still a 32-bit unit -- thus nothing will likely happen.


    So in PC happiness, people will run out and upgrade their CPUs -- and find out they need a new motherboard with the next generation chipset designed for the expanded capabilities.
  13. howesey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2005
    Yup, also the pins on the CPU may be different.

    Intel always change the pin layout, just look at the Pentium 4 history.

    Even so, ass stated, all the chipsets used by Apple so far are nly 32bit, so no reason to upgrade.

    One reason to why I do not like Apple, you cannot upgrade hardware such as the motherboard in a Power Mac. If you do buy one, it costs through the roof. A decent motherboard should be £100-£120. Apple charge £600-£700 for a motherboard that is of equal spec to a £100 one.

    All Apple hardare is expensive anyway, you can buy a laptop with same spec with the same off the shelf parts to the MBP's for £300-400 cheaper.
  14. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    64bit "Double" floating point math is provided on Intel chips by the SSE2 extensions already present in the current Core chips, so in this case writing "64bit" audio processing operations are already possible and accelerated by the hardware.

    Also 64bit math has been supported by Intel chips generally for years. I believe the x87 FPU does all its math internally with 80 bits, and then truncates to 64 bits.
  15. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Actually, everything I've heard is that Merom is pin-compatible with the current Core chips. And that it will work as a drop in replacement.

    That said, it's true that the 64-bitedness won't net you a whole lot of gain. Merom is supposed to perform somewhat better, however (I've heard the number 20% tossed around, but I have no idea if that's accurate), which would be reason enough to upgrade.

    Oh, and folks who want or need more than 4GB of RAM do indeed need 64-bit--this was one of the best things about the G5s. Not many in that category, but even if you're not processing in 64 bit all that RAM addressing can be useful.

    I'm trying to resist responding to this, but really, while Apple hardware does tend to be expensive, you get what you pay for when compared to comperable name-brand Wintel hardware. I was helping a relative compare a Sony Vaio to a MacBook, and while you can get a decent Vaio for less than the base MacBook, if you add all the extras that are stock on the MacBook the Vaio was significantly more expensive. Same went for Dell's budget laptops--the base model might be fine and costs significantly less, but once you add all the equivalent features the price is usually quite similar and the Dells are generally thicker and heavier. I would have ended up paying more for a 17" laptop from Dell with the same goodies, and it would have been .25" thicker and weighed something like a pound more.
  16. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    It reminds me of the Commodore 64. The keyboard with the CPU and ports all built-in. I think it was a 8-bit system that had 64k - (38K) available. (Yes, smaller main memory than some icons today).

    I am no longer impressed with 64bit after reading these forums. It sounds like it doesn't do much for 99% of the users.

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