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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 ?
AMD is betting that the migration from 32-bitness to 64-bitness will be evolution-ary, mostly contingent on when 64-bit application become available.
Provides a Windows 32-bit to 64-bit application adoption bridge, by allowing 64-bit applications to be accessed by 32-bit clients, allowing customers to adopt new 64-bit technologies at their own pace.
Today's demonstration shows the promise of concurrent 32- and 64-bit application and platform interoperability, providing customers an easy migration path as they move their 32-bit Microsoft software investment to the power of 64-bit computing," said Marty Seyer, vice president of server business segment for AMD's Computation Products Group.
This reduces the complexity of the database administrator's migration tasks and makes the user databases ready for immediate 64-bit application use.
Ultimately, we had a 64-bit application that was able to pass the application's automated test suite after the first build of the ported code.
Added 32-Bit Scanner Support in 64-Bit Environments Simplifies Development Path to Use 64-Bit Applications by Eliminating Compatibility Concerns for Scanners that May Not be 64-Bit too
This notebook now features AMD Turion 64 mobile technology, which offers overall performance for 32-bit and 64-bit applications.
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.
The Hivemind 5520, with Intel Xeon processors, gives businesses the flexibility to run all existing 32-bit applications at optimum performance while at the same time being ready to handle 64-bit applications as they become available.
The architectural benefits of the AMD Opteron processor and the ability to run 32-bit and 64-bit applications in parallel will enable our customers to develop completely new products, reduce time to market and development costs.
Full EM64T and AMD64 Support -- Enable flexible use of higher end computing platforms with full support for both 32-bit and 64-bit applications.
IT managers, small and medium businesses and workstation users are increasingly interested in products that meet their immediate needs for 32-bit processing power and protect their investments as they move to the next phase of computing with 64-bit applications.