Would this pose a problem? 128-bit Processor w/64 & 32-bit compat.

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by slooksterPSV, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. slooksterPSV macrumors 68040


    Apr 17, 2004
    Ok, what if IBM made a 128-bit processor and Apple used it for their Macs, but it still had 32-bit and 64-bit support? Would this cause any problems or would this be a good thing?

    This is hypothetical and if it happened in the next two weeks.
  2. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    It would be completely unnecessary and I don't think anyone would see any gain whatsoever from it. Even 64 bits is of questionable usefulness for everyday computing just now. its main advantage is the ability to address more ram, and 64 bit can address so much, its unlikely we'll need more for a very long time.

    Besides that, the chip would have to have compatibility for 32 and 64 bit built it. its not something inherent in a newer chip. It has to be designed that way.

    And of course, apple's not going to use any IBM chips anymore anyway.
  3. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Erm, so long as the chip was enabled to work with 32-bit software, it'd be okay. Of course, this is a pretty far-out hypothetical. It took ages to get to where we are with 64 bit with the transition still only partially underway. There'd be no real-life benefits of a 128 bit chip at this stage considering the advantages of 64 bit are still coming to fruition. :)
  4. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    A 128-bit chip would be able to address practically all of the RAM in the known universe, but I don't see how any of us would benefit from that.

    I don't know how the calculations work, but a 32 bit chip can address 4gb of RAM, and the G5 (a 64 bit chip) can address 4tb of RAM, so I am assuming a 128 bit chip may be able to address 4pb of RAM. (I wouldn't be even a little bit surprised if this is wrong, I'm too lazy to find out for sure, but I assure you a 128 bit chip can address a huge amount of RAM).
  5. aesth3tic macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2005
    University of Washington
    are 128bit processors even in existence? or even being considered?
  6. advocate macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2004
    Huge is right!

    A 1-bit machine can address two bytes: the one called 0 and the one called 1.

    A 2-bit machine can address four (2*2) bytes: 00, 01, 10, and 11.

    A 3-bit machine can address eight (2*2*2) bytes: 000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110, 111.

    A 4-bit machine can address sixteen = 2^4 = 2*2*2*2 bytes.

    Similarly, a 32-bit machine can address 2^32 = 2*2*2*...*2 (32 of them) bytes. That's 4 GB, about 4 billion.

    A 64-bit machine can address 2^64 bytes. That's about 18 exabytes. 18 followed by 18 zeros. 18446744073709551616 to be precise. That's huge.

    Now, a 128-bit machine -- of course, you can extend the pattern. Is it going to be twice as much as a 64-bit machine? How about four times? Eight? A billion times? No, actually, it's 2^64 times more than 2^64.

    Here's the number:


    I'm not even going to try to find SI prefixes for that. It's nuts.

    So, no, there is absolutely no point for consumer machines to address more than 64 bits of address space at this point in time. We're not quite in the territory of "number of atoms in the universe" but we're definitely blasting off our home planet before we are looking at 128-bit machines making any sense in your personal computer.

    Hope that helps clear it up!

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