THE 64-bit PC running a 64-bit OS finally, officially, became a reality last week. And no, it is not an Apple PowerMac G5, simply because MacOS is not yet available in the 64-bit form. As expected for months, the new kid on the block is AMD's Athlon 64 platform. There were dozens of Athlon64, Athlon64 FX and Opteron boards on the show around, from almost every mobo vendor except SuperMicro, compared to only one Itanium2 offering - a dual-CPU board from, yes you've guessed it right, SuperMicro. While of course we couldn't find any PowerMac G5 clones - cloning Macs is almost as ethically unacceptable as human cloning - the 64-bit tension was palpable. There have been many failed attempts to bring 64-bits to the desktop before, but does this latest iteration of the game justify those demanding such a shift?
The history of efforts and initiatives to jumpstart 64 bits into the mainstream goes back some 12 years to the ACE consortium when several key vendors, including Compaq, Acer, MIPS and Microsoft, among others, gathered to create an alternative, non-Intel, CPU-independent Windows platform to run the then-future Windows NT operating system. At that time, the MIPS R4000, the very first 64-bit mainstream processor appeared, and soon after, Acer launched a nice high-end 64-bit PC based on that CPU.
News source: The Inquirer