If Our Software Cant Come, We Wont Go
I would not have wanted a 32-bit laptop if it ran only software yet to be written.I didnt buy my first 32-bit PC to run 32-bit applications. The year was 1989, I spent most of my workday in DOS and my decision to consider only 386-based laptops narrowed the field to two high-priced machinesbut products such as Qualitas 386Max made it seem like false economy to buy a 16-bit system that wouldnt let me arrange my memory and other resources as I pleased. Ive never regretted my subsequent choice of a 12.5MHz GRiD: Its 386 CPU gave it the headroom to do a huge amount of work until its hard disk finally died in 1996, and I didnt think it worth the cost of repair. But now, its 2003; were all running 32-bit applications, except for a few special cases; and were looking at the prospect of x86-64 chips from AMD appearing in servers in Apriland in desktop-oriented configurations before the end of September. And people are asking me, "Why do I need a 64-bit PC?"
I could offer you three numbers that answer the question directly. The parts of the human genome can barely be counted with 32-bit numbers. The bytes in a 20-minute video clip cant quite be indexed with 32 bits. The people of the world cant, by a long way, be given individual network addresses in a 32-bit address space. Applications, especially those enabled by explosions in processing power and bandwidth, are ready for more.