: IBM Says 64-Bit PC Chip in Works"> In addition, Apples migration to the Unix-based Mac OS X operating system has laid the groundwork for a possible transition to more advanced computing since Unix-based operating systems and applications are already widely used with 64-bit computers. Overall, 64-bit computers are valued for their ability to handle computation-intensive applications, as well as their ability to handle thousands of simultaneous transactions and address vast amounts of memory. For example, while a single 32-bit processor can address up to 4GB of memory, a 64-bit chip can potentially address up to a petabyte, or roughly 1,000 terabytes.Last month, Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., began shipping its first rack-mounted server, the Xserve, marking a somewhat late entry into what has become among the most-popular styles of server design in the last two years. Even if Apple chooses not to feature the chip in a new server, the processor could still make it to market in an IBM system, Krewell said. "The fact theyre working on this shows that IBM is really interested in the PowerPC, and not just the Power 4 line," he said. "They could be looking at this as a low-cost alternative to the Power 4 in entry-level 64-bit servers." IBM declined to offer further details on its chip plans. "I can only confirm that were going to be discussing a 64-bit chip at the Microprocessor Forum, and the information released by In-Stat/MDR is correct," said Michael Loughran, a spokesman for IBMs Microeclectronics Division. Apple representatives were not immediately available for comment.
While there are relatively few 64-bit applications designed for desktop, such applications are commonplace in the server environment, a market segment Apple has shown an increasing interest in lately.