[BALU] 64 bit systems

Thomas Stover thomas at wsinnovations.com
Thu Jun 7 23:57:34 CDT 2007

We are running several 64bit linux servers, and only one or two 32 bit 
ones. From the server / developer point of view the big issue with 64 
bit was the limited choice of distros for a while. We even switched to 
64bit bsd on one box for a while out of frustration. Now with options 
like centos thats really no problem. Don't expect any huge wow factor 
just from moving to 64 bit. As a developer getting to play with a new 
technology it's cool. As a nerd getting the rush from having your very 
own 64bit super computer it's cool. Other than that it's going to be a 
long while before most programs see benefits. We did have a problems 
with a raid card driver, a dual head video card, and a usb 2.0 
controller card over the years. Several closed source applications do 
not yet support 64 bit, and although they should be able to run fine in 
a 64&32bit capable linux, some don't.

Briefly here is the skinny on 64bit:
-first its really a lie - x86_64 is only 48 hardware bits! (so 50% more 
data can be transfered in and out of the core each clock cycle)
-native 64bit operations (this means that for example when redesigned, 
certain kinds of complex computational algorithms could be orders of 
magnitude faster)
-goodies like native 128bit floating point operations (this means a 
program could do some crazy dsp or something way faster) (these 
operations actually take more than one clock cycle to complete)
-fix to the 32bit unix time problem
-my personal favorite: mmap() files into a 64bit address space - oh yeah!

Just get Mark to give a presentation about it. :) I spent 40+ minutes 
geeking out to his questions about it.

Jason Sandlin wrote:

>  How many are running a 64 bit system now. I did a while back but 
> still had issues. I was just thinking about trying ti again. Are ther 
> still many issues with running a 64bit system? Does if truly have a 
> lot of benefits?
> -- 
> Jason Sandlin

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