I see that Paul DeMone, who has done a lot of good technical work over the years, has shown the same sort of skepticism about the urgent, widespread need for 64-bit applications we’ve voiced (here and here) in the past.
Unfortunately, the responses so far seem to resemble a digital brain trying to analyze an analog signal.
Neither of us have said that no one needs 64-bit. Neither of us have said that no one could use more than 4Gb of RAM.
What both of us do think is that not all too many need either (especially if you look at the total computing population) anytime soon.
As Mr. DeMone put it, “Where are the masses of small businesses and home
users who are buying Sunblades and old Alpha systems on ebay to
do critical “64 bit stuff” they can’t currently do on x86?”
The choice is not between “no one” or “everyone” or “now” or “never.”
The question is “How many need 64-bit now or soon, and our answer is “A small percentage of the total computing population.”
This, of course, is not a technically correct, or TC answer.
The Times They Are A-Changing
Computing is now close to being a consumer electronics item. For the foreseeable future, for the average person, there’s no longer any need for more, more, more.
“More, more, more” is starting to sound more like a dinosaur bellow than the cry of the cutting edge.
Of course, there are some folks doing some things who legitimately still need more, more, more. In the past, they’ve been able to drag all the Joe Sixpacks and Suits along for their ride.
What I and (I think) Mr. DeMone are really questioning is whether this dragging along is going to continue, or whether what is now the desktop market will split into expensive boxes for power users and cheap small boxes for everyone else.
In short, who rules the desktop, the geeks or the Joes?
The TC answer is “the geeks will continue to rule as they always have.” The non-TC answer is that the Joes will decide what mainstream computers will be like, and the geeks will get pushed out to the niches.
That’s the real difference here, not “Who is against 64-bit computing?”
A Tale of Two Sockets
Just a little reminder.
We should see Opterons coming in a few weeks.
If the initial indicators of pricing mean anything, we’re not going to see too many enthusiasts buying one in a few weeks, but then, not even AMD expects that.
For those few who might be interested, one little reminder:
Opterons and Athlon64s use different sockets. Opterons use socket 940. Athlon64s use socket 754. Opterons can’t be compatible with socket 754 boards. Athlon64s theoretically might be capable of working in a socket 940 motherboard, but you’d have to be an idiot to assume that.