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A term describing a computer architecture based around an ALU, registers and data bus which are 64 bits wide.

64-bit processors were quite common in 1996, e.g. Digital Alpha, versions of Sun SPARC, MIPS, IBM AS/4000. the PowerPC and Intel were expected to move to 64 bits at their next generation - PPC 620 and Intel P7.

A 64-bit address bus allows the processor to address 18 million gigabytes as opposed to the mere 4 gigabytes allowed with 32 bits. There were in 1996 already hard disks which can hold over 4GB. Floating point calculations can also be more accurate.

A 64-bit OS is needed as well to take advantage of the CPU. In 1996 there were only a few 64-bit operating systems, including OS/400, Digital Unix, Solaris (partialy). A 32-bit OS can run on a 64-bit CPU.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nowadays more and more mobile end-user devices are powered by 64-bit architecture.
SAS Enterprise BI Server, one of the first major enterprise business intelligence solutions released capable of operating on a 64-bit architecture, continues to offer the widest choice of operating systems and hardware by any BI vendor for companies looking for a flexible deployment environment that is able to meet their business needs now and in the future.
For about a grand, the 64-bit SunBlade 150 comes with a 550- or 650-MHz UItraSPARC III processor and up to 2 GB of RAM.
The Opteron chip, the first microprocessor to natively support both 32- and 64-bit applications, represents both an enormous challenge for the struggling chip maker (the company has been losing money for years) and a significant challenge to Intel, the world's biggest chip maker and the OEM with a stranglehold on the desktop market--and large market share in the enterprise as well.
Windows Vista, the latest version of the Microsoft Windows operating system is scheduled for commercial release in early 2007 and features significant updates and changes that will impact engineering and scientific applications, including a focus on increased security, improved search capabilities, additional application programming interfaces (APIs) for controlling new aspects of the operating system and a 64-bit edition.
an international provider of legacy application extension solutions, has announced the availability of the ACUCOBOLGT development system for 64-bit SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 on IBM eServer zSeries servers.
Till now, these computers were typically 64-bit Unix systems.
RAID controller manufacturer ICP Vortex is now shipping 64-Bit PCI- Wide/Ultra 160 SCSI RAID Controllers with clustering support.
Latest Version of Software to Facilitate Development of Graphical User Interfaces Supports 64-Bit Architectures
AMD (NYSE:AMD) has announced that 64-bit versions of software applications Crafty and The Panorama Factory running on the beta version of the upcoming Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP 64-bit Edition for 64-bit Extended Systems demonstrate significant increases in performance, up to 57 percent for the Panorama Factory, compared to 32-bit software versions.
0 and the all-new UniPrint for 64-Bit environments have been priced to make enterprise-class printing functionality a cost-effective reality for any organization.
The migration of these core business applications to the AMD64 platform will help ensure enterprise customers have access to x86-based 64-bit software optimized for improving e-business and enterprise resource planning (ERP).