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[newbie] Q: CPU prices in light of 64 bit intro?

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September 4, 2003 9:50:36 AM

[new to this community: hi everyone]

I've got a dilemma of sorts... I really need a more powerful machine for desktop/workstation caliber apps. Audio/Video (post)production, mostly. Currently, I'm running P3 on an old abit be-6 mainboard. I've already ruled out upgrading this machine, because I expect the limited performance gain will not really be worth the $.

So, I've been looking around for a new setup, starting naturally with choice of CPU/mainboard. Since AMD have anounced the launch of the first 64 bit CPU (well, for desktops anyway) will happen in a couple of weeks, and Intel have their first 64bit desktop platform in the wings (P5, whatever they'll decide to call it).

Now, I've got a few questions, and I'd sure appreciate any advice or comments you guys (gals too) might have!
Here goes:

1) CPU prices... Any ideas what the prices of these new 64bit monsters will be? And any ideas what their intro might mean for prices of current CPUs (Athlon XP, P4) -- Will they drop considerably?

2) CPU performance... I understand that at least the new AMD CPUs will run old 32bit code 'without loss of performance due to emulation routines', and I would expect something similar from Intels new CPU. Any ideas when the industry might pick up on the 64bit era and optimize their code for it? Would this improve considerably the performance of a/v software (e.g., cubase, nuendo, premiere, afterfx -- that is, mostly floating point ops, I guess)?

3) Basically, I'm wondering: do you think I should buy now or will it be worth to wait another couple of weeks?

Thanks in advance,
RphlX
September 4, 2003 1:24:40 PM

Unless I've missed some huge headline, you've got one thing seriously mistaken: Intel is <i>not</i> producing 64-bit x86 CPUs anytime soon. AMD is (well a bastardized version of what 64-bit x86 should be anyway) but Intel isn't.

As for waiting, do you actually know of <i>any</i> 64-bit software that you plan on using?

If yes, then wait for AMD's Athlon64 or don't wait and get one of AMD's Opterons now.

If no then just buy something already because a 64-bit processor doesn't do you any good if you're only using 32-bit software anyway.

<font color=blue>If you look <font color=purple>The Devil</font color=purple><font color=red>®</font color=red> straight in the eye and only see yourself then you must be standing in front of a mirror.</font color=blue>
September 4, 2003 1:36:04 PM

Is AMD opteron can be used for desktop pc's?

-J<font color=red>//\</font color=red>ECOR™ -
-J<font color=purple>//\</font color=purple>ECOR™ -
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September 4, 2003 2:00:38 PM

Quote:
Is AMD opteron can be used for desktop pc's?

Sure if you don't mind overpaying and using CAS2.5 PC2700 ECC RAM instead of CAS2 PC3200 (or better) non-ECC RAM. There are 1CPU Opteron configurations and Opteron mobos with AGP, so there's nothing stopping anyone from owning an Opteron desktop. (And no one ever said that you couldn't use a dualie Opteron workstation as a desktop.)

<font color=blue>If you look <font color=purple>The Devil</font color=purple><font color=red>®</font color=red> straight in the eye and only see yourself then you must be standing in front of a mirror.</font color=blue>
September 5, 2003 9:15:58 AM

Ah, thx slvr_phoenix for pointing that out to me. I'd stupidly half-read an article by some guy about the upcoming 'clash' between the new breed of processors by amd and intel. Just assumed the new intels (not sure what to call it, prescott, p5?) on the new socket would be 64 bit too. Guess not.

Anyway, you're right in asking what apps I expect would exploit 64bit architecture anytime soon. As I mentioned I mostly do audio/video processing, including some sci visualisation stuff. The latter is almost all fp's, and if I'm not mistaken (but I well may be!) the a/v stuff is largely fp too. Just mentioned this because I heard that floating point operations would benefit most (should I shoot the guy who told me that, too?) from 64 bit.

Alternatively, I might of course decide to stick to 32 for a while, wait and see what the software producers will be up to. But even so, might the introduction of amd64 (adequately hyped, I'm sure) not cause the older cpu's to get cheaper? Even if I'm no longer one of them, there always seem to be a lot of people who want the latest for the sake of it being the latest... As well as a lot of people who don't want to spend as much on the previous generation after the new batch arrives on the scene (I'm definitely one of those)

Ah well, think I'll wait just a little bit longer. Thx again!

rphlx
September 5, 2003 3:48:05 PM

Quote:
I heard that floating point operations would benefit most (should I shoot the guy who told me that, too?) from 64 bit.

Definately shoot the guy. The 32/64 bitness is in the x86 general purpose registers and used almost exclusively for integers. Why only for integers? Because the x87 specific processing and registers that use 80-bit accuracy are much better at FP and have been implemented in x86 processors for years and years.

So in practice the 32/64 bitness really only applies to integer operations.

<pre><A HREF="http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030905" target="_new"><font color=black>People don't understand how hard being a dark god can be. - Hastur</font color=black></A></pre><p>
September 12, 2003 11:34:19 AM

[late reply, was away at Ars Electronica festival]

I see...
Consider the guy who told me [bla] shot. And consider me off my 64 pipedream for the time being ;) 
thx again!
-rphlx-
September 12, 2003 2:00:19 PM

I've never heard of x87. Is that what Itanium is or something?

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!
September 12, 2003 6:04:00 PM

Quote:
I've never heard of x87. Is that what Itanium is or something?

Think <i>waaaaaay</i> back to the days of the 286, the 386, and the 486. There was this thing called a math co-processor. The 486 came in an SX and DX version. After the first Pentiums no one heard about math co-processors again because from then on they were always just built in.

These were the emerging bits that became the x87. It's just a floating-point extension to x86 that at first was an option but later got permanently added. It has nothing to do with Itanium.

<pre><A HREF="http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030905" target="_new"><font color=black>People don't understand how hard being a dark god can be. - Hastur</font color=black></A></pre><p>
September 12, 2003 10:55:14 PM

Back in the 286 days I was probably like 8 years old. I was born in in April 1983, when was the 286 era around?
My Computer Literacy Teacher told me that the math co-processor made math computations dozens of times faster on the old 8088 boards. I asked him how much prices were back then for coprocessors, but I think his figures were off extraordinarilly or he misinterpreted my questsion. His response was $100 for 8088 CPU & $30 for math-coprocessor.

My OS features preemptive multitasking, a fully interactive command line, & support for 640K of RAM!<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by UFO_WARVIPER on 09/12/03 06:59 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 12, 2003 11:28:10 PM

just to add...

80286 was the name of the cpu and 80287 was the name of the copro

Just as 80386 was the name of the cpu and 80387 was the name of the copro, and so on


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