An Introduction To 64-bit Computing And x86-64

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Ars have posted an introduction to 64-bit and x86-64 computing! Could this be the chip that finally puts AMD ahead of Intel? Here's a snip.

If we think realistically about most of the world's commercial software not as "software" in the abstract but as x86 binary code, then it becomes apparent that improvements to the x86 ISA represent one of the most practical and cost-effective ways to advance and expand the x86 software market. Indeed, Intel's continuing extensions of additions to the x86 ISA prove just this point. Consider the move from 16 bits to 32 bits, the addition of the x87 floating-point instructions, and the addition of integer and then floating-point SIMD instructions. All of these modifications of x86 helped bring new capabilities to the PC, allowing it to find new applications and enter new markets. Thus, the ongoing adaptation of the x86 ISA to ever newer technological contexts has been one of the essential subplots in the past two decades' story of the "information revolution.

The present article outlines what AMD hopes is the next step in x86's evolution: x86-64. As we'll see, x86-64 is more than just a 64-bit extension to the 32-bit x86 ISA; it adds some new features, as well, while getting rid of some obsolete ones.

An Introduction to 64-bit Computing and x86-64