Cocoa and Objective-C: Up and Running (by me) is now available from O'Reilly.

Welcome to the 64-Bit Era

So, it happened, and perhaps not everyone noticed. With the exception of the entry-level Mac mini, Apple has transitioned its entire line of Macs to dual-core 64-bit chips. Anybody who wanders into an Apple Store in the mall can accidentally walk out with a bondafide unix workstation.

At WWDC, there were a few sessions about how 64-bit Intel chips would impact development (and not just in the ways you'd expect), but the feeling was this only applied to the Mac Pro at the time, so it wasn't clear how quickly such things would be a factor.

Suddenly, we have Core 2 Duos everywhere, and 64-bit Leopard will arrive in a few months. Maybe by that point even the Minis will be on Core 2 Duos. It also shines a new light on that little footnote about Core Animation — that the layer rendering happens on its own thread, which means it will often end up with its own core.

So the future is here now. Get in your flying cars.
Design Element
Welcome to the 64-Bit Era
Posted Nov 08, 2006 — 17 comments below




 

Tyler Kieft — Nov 08, 06 2350

Makes those of us who are still stuck with G4 Powerbooks a little bit sadder. And yet I only bought my computer less than a year and a half ago! Now I guess we must set our sights on the days of a full line of quad cores...any estimates, anyone?

Robbie Duncan — Nov 08, 06 2351

I've just checked the Apple UK store and the Mac Mini still appears to be Core Duo, not Core2Duo based so 32 bit. Soon, but not yet....

Scott Stevenson — Nov 08, 06 2352 Scotty the Leopard

Mac Mini still appears to be Core Duo

Yep, said that in the intro. :)

MatzeLoCal — Nov 08, 06 2353

But the MacBooks and the MacBook Pro still have that 3GB of RAM limitation. I really wish I could have more than RAM in my MacBook.
With eclipse,JavaApplicationServer,Parallels and XCode running there is not much RAM left...

Mike Abdullah — Nov 08, 06 2354

Interesting that Core Animation is rendered in its own thread automatically.

With dual, quad (and soon octo) core chips in its lineup, Apple (and other companies) really need to concentrate on paralleling more and more tasks for developers.

J. Kritner — Nov 08, 06 2355

But the MacBooks and the MacBook Pro still have that 3GB of RAM limitation.
Actually the new Macbook is limited to only 2 GB, also the current iMac is also limited to only 3 GB.

Strangely this is actually a problem with Intel's current NAPA chipset for notebooks, the memory controller is only 32bit. Technically this should mean that you could have 4 GB of memory, BUT a chunk of the 32bit memory space is absorbed by things like graphics memory and hardware addressing so that would limit the available RAM to something like 3.2 GB.

IIRC Intel is releasing the 64bit NAPA in Q1 2007 so maybe we will see a version bump. Big question will be wether we have to get 4 GB SO-DIMMs or if Apple can cram a couple more memory slots w/o a complete redesign of the notebook internals...

Mark Grimes — Nov 08, 06 2356

Wonder if that 64bit NAPA is due to arrive with the introduction of the 800mhz bus. BTW people have been resocketing their minis for some time now to c2d... they just aren't bundled that way from Apple -- if users are doing it makes you wonder where the product is already -- probably just finishing off their yonah inventory :)... but alas with 800mhz that requires a new mobo regardless if the cpu is pin for pin compatible with coreduo.

MatzeLoCal — Nov 09, 06 2357

For the mac mini, there was an "Error" on the MacMini page -> apple.com/macmini/intelcore2duo.htm .. now it's gone, but it's almost certain that C2Ds are around the corner.

I'm not sure if the C2D-MacBooks (but also the CD-MB and MBP) are limited to 2GB. It's just what apple "says". Unfortunately 2GB Modules are quite expensive so just giving it a try is out of reach (for me).

I really hope that next gen MBP will have 4 RAM-Slots... a MBP with 6GB would be great...

Dan Price — Nov 09, 06 2358

I wonder why the whole Intel-transition, and 64-bit migration has been so underplayed by both Apple and the IT industry? The company is capable of feats that many others would never contemplate, nevermind achieve in 18 months. It only struck me recently that EVERY Mac is now a multi-processor Mac.

The days of Macs trailing behind PCs in performance is over.

I was at MacExpo UK in October and Apple was running a presentation comparing the features and price of the MacPro to the equivelant Dell. Behind me, sat a couple of PC-heads. When the presenter revealed the huge difference in price (in the Mac's favor) on the Dell website, they were gobsmacked. It was like their whole world had been turned upside down. And they can run their Windblows games if they want to.

Really, who would have thought? :)

Hkan — Nov 09, 06 2376

It's bona fide, not bondafide!

I agree with the rest. ;)

Hkan — Nov 09, 06 2377

By the way, your message system does not seem to support non-ascii characters in the name.

Ben — Nov 12, 06 2391

I wonder why the whole Intel-transition, and 64-bit migration has been so underplayed by both Apple and the IT industry?
Underplayed to whom? Customers don't--and shouldn't--care about how wide the registers are on their CPUs. To the extent that this enables new things (more addressable physical memory), then those features should and will be marketed directly. As for developers, well, the ones that do work that benefits from 64 bits, they are already keeping score...

Scott Stevenson — Nov 12, 06 2392 Scotty the Leopard

Underplayed to whom? Customers don't--and shouldn't--care about how wide the registers are on their CPUs.

You know, I actually agree that consumers have no direct reason to care, but it hasn't stopped companies from advertising equally intangible things in the past.

Hang Tuah — Mar 05, 08 5591

"Anybody who wanders into an Apple Store in the mall can accidentally walk out with a bondafide unix workstation."

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the proverbial Herr Anybody who has bought a 64 Dual Core iMac and now I learn from you that I inafvertantly have a UNIX workstation. So I ask a dumb question; "So what ? What do I need to know about the wonders of having a UNIX workstation? Until now the only people I knew who used them were Airport Flight Cpntrollers. P_m a bot confused. I used to be a Windows XP person, so what can I now do that I could not do before? "

Hung Tuah
PS: I am also a software developer.

Scott Stevenson — Mar 05, 08 5593 Scotty the Leopard

@Hang Tuah: What do I need to know about the wonders of having a UNIX workstation?

I'm not sure how to answer that question right here since it covers such a broad area. You might be better off reading a book on Unix and/or 64-bit software to get a foundation on the basic ideas.

The main point I was alluding to, though, is that "64-bit Unix workstation" was for a long time the last thing you'd expect a consumer to have. They were traditionally the realm of science, government and academic research.

John Baughman — Mar 19, 08 5665

Scott, one aside: it's interesting to note that a year and a few months later, this is still a hot(tish) topic. Thanks for the original!

Having been a PC-convert within the last year (over 10 years with PCs), I find the Mac (MacBook Pro 2.4 Ghz Core2Duo/4GB RAM) to be far superior to ANY other Intel based PC. AMD, well I'm not too sure just yet, budget is still not allowing any other computing devices for a while.

One of the things that makes the Mac better then the PC is not just hardware. It's also the OS. After purchasing my MacBook Pro with Tiger, I was impressed at that point. Now, with Leopard, this thing screams! Actually utilizing the processor at 64 bits!

I'm still somewhat grounded as an ASP.NET C# developer by day and need that little bit of Windows at night because of some other side job stuff, so Parallels is revived a bit with this new OS, just wish Parallels would run at 64 bits too then I could go with Vista at 64 bits, and drop my Boot Camp partition. (Just in case anyone didn't know, a 64 bit virtual machine would mean higher graphics in a virtual machine - greater than 64MB, possibly 128MB or higher.)

Now... Xcode/Cocoa and iPhone... (yeah, had that before the MacBook Pro.)

By the way, I just subscribed to your feed. Thanks for being my first "official" Mac based feed subscription!

Scott Stevenson — Mar 19, 08 5666 Scotty the Leopard

@John Baughman: Thanks for being my first "official" Mac based feed subscription!

That's a great compliment. Thanks.




 

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