64 Bit Problems – The Good and the Bad About 64 Bit

Probably, the greatest leap in computer technology over the last several years has been the development of the 64 bit computer systems. 64 bit breaks through barriers 32 bit had presented us with. The main barrier is the 4GB memory addressing limit. We have lived very comfortably with this barrier until very recently. However, now that high quality video has become a part of our lives 4GB of RAM, though it once was considered an impossible dream, has become an obstacle.

How much more memory can 64 bit address? The answer is mind boggling. While it seems like adding an extra 32 bits to our computer’s power structure should grant us an extra 4GB of computer power, this is not the case. In fact, these extra 32 bits multiply our computer’s power. In other words, 64 bit systems, technically can address 4GB X 4GB of RAM. This number calculates to more than 18 Exabytes! The actual calculation is 4,294,967,296 X 4,294,967,296 = 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 Bytes of RAM.

Needless to mention is the fact we have no computer architecture available today to actually work with such a massive amount of memory. However, this does illustrate that 64 bit computer systems take all the limits off future advancements. The limits that are set on our computer’s capacities now are things like:

How many CPU’s can we cram into a motherboard?

How many tracks can we attach to our PC boards? And,

How complex a chipset can we develop to coordinate all the movements of a system talking back and forth to 18 gig of memory?

The Trouble with 64

Still, the fact remains 64 bit does make for a very mean machine! Of course, the fact these newer systems are much more powerful doesn’t mean they are maintenance free or immune to trouble. In fact, these computers present their own problems. Probably the most prevalent of the 64 bit problems is the compatibility issue. The simple fact is, many programs are not yet compatible with these computers and many people have put off purchasing them because of this fact.

I have owned a 64-bit laptop for about a year now and I must say I’ve run into this compatibility problem every now and then. However, all in all, I feel the advantages to owning this PC far outweigh the compatibility disadvantages I sometimes encounter. I would think anyone using video on his/her computer would benefit by taking the leap to 64 bit; but this is just an opinion.

64 bits of Corruption

Another of the 64 bit troubles many of us are encountering is keeping the registry free of corruption. For a 64 bit computer to function it needs to be running a 64 bit operating system. The most familiar of these are Windows XP64, Windows Vista64 and Windows 7 X64. Naturally, these operating systems have registries different from their 32 bit predecessors.

Being a stickler for keeping my registry in top shape; when I first got my 64 bit computer with Windows Vista64, I looked to get a registry cleaner to use on it as part of its regular upkeep. The problem was I couldn’t find one. Thankfully, there are now very good registry cleaners available that are compatible with my computer and operating system.

It is worth mentioning that another potential 64 bit problem is the fact their registries are very complex. This, of course, makes keeping corruption out of them doubly important because registry corruption can cause a lot of slowdowns, freezes and other types of computer aggravations. We just don’t need our machines that have been built for speed to suddenly start causing us trouble.