Daniel Eran Dilger
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Road to Mac OS X Snow Leopard: 64-bits, Santa Rosa, and the great PC swindle

Prince McLean, AppleInsider
Snow Leopard’s across-the-board leap to 64-bits, from the kernel to all of its bundled apps, will do more than just make more memory available. It also exposes a great PC swindle and highlights Apple’s lead in 64-bit computing. Here’s why.

Following the initial introduction to 64-bit computing leading up to Snow Leopard, this second segment takes a look at the issues related to the amount of RAM that can be installed and actually used by the system. Additional segments will examine how much memory a specific app can reserve for itself, how the OS gets faster with 64-bit addressing despite the additional overhead involved, how the market for 64-bit apps is unfolding, and how Apple is pioneering 64-bits on the desktop.

Road to Mac OS X Snow Leopard 1: 64-bits
2: 64-bits, Santa Rosa and the great PC swindle
3: Twice the RAM, half the price, 64-bits
4: the future of 64-bit apps


1 fatbarstard { 09.03.08 at 10:22 am }

Well bugger me…. I didn’t know that! Why did M$FT walk away from PAE? Was it just too hard for them?? it seems ridiculous to supposedly have all this new stuff and have the computer chained to the wall by a RAM limit – no wonder people are getting annoyed with Vista…

2 fatbarstard { 09.03.08 at 10:23 am }

Ha! Another thought… I can’t wait to see a PC and Mac commercial discussing this ‘feature’ of Vista!

3 g4dualie { 09.03.08 at 5:19 pm }

Before I commit this info to memory can you clarify something for me?

You state Alienware’s top-of-the-line machine is subject to the memory shortcomings illustrated in the article, but according to their website, their machines do use Intel’s Core 2 processors but are opting for the NVIDIA 790i Ultra SLI Chipset instead. I couldn’t find any reference to memory mapping on the site, so is it possible they don’t use MMIO and are not subject to the same problems as other OEMs?

The reason I bring it up is because I usually take your words and construct a snarky graphical representations of them to further drive the point home. You use graphs and pie charts, I make ads.

So before I make one for this article, I need to know whether Alienware’s machines or any other OEM’s machines that use something other than Santa Rosa chipsets have the same memory shortcomings.

4 danieleran { 09.03.08 at 5:26 pm }

It doesn’t matter if Alienware is selling a Santa Rosa-like platform or not, because Windows XP/Vista can’t take advantage of the extra memory anyway. Only the x64 Windows XP/Vista can (and then only if you have a 32-bit SR-like platform), but Dell isn’t offering x64 on the Alienware machines.

5 g4dualie { 09.03.08 at 6:09 pm }

Thanks. That also answers my other question about my own Santa Rosa Mac running in Boot camp mode and whether or not it can take advantage of all the RAM available to it.

6 chelgrian { 09.03.08 at 7:38 pm }

It’s actually even more complicated than the article documents, and the people commenting at Apple Insider are mostly Worse Than Wrong.

I could write thousands of words about the subject but the explanation would be completely inaccessible to the very people I would be trying to correct :/

However to try and correct some of the greater ills…

Firstly Windows, as of SP2, does use PAE all the time. This is because having PAE enabled is required to use NX or NoExecute bit. However all 32 bit consumer versions of Windows are limited to 4GB of physical RAM even with PAE enabled. As the article says this is due to broken kernel mode drivers which can’t deal with device memory above 4GB.

Secondly you always need some physical address space to map device memory into, there is no such thing as an Intel based PC that “doesn’t us memory mapped I/O” the only question is how much physical address space you need and where you can map it in the address space. Current Intel chipsets have 33 bits (8GB) of physical address space therefore you can put about 7GB of physical RAM in them and need about 1GB for device memory.

This is why Apple uses workstation class chipsets in the MacPro which can deal with far more physical address space.

7 fatbarstard { 09.04.08 at 7:08 am }

Well Chelgrain… apart from being an arrogant dickhead who can only talk down to people you do provide some useful information…

Not everyone on the planet is as smart as you (most clearly) are and there is no need to take a swipe and people who may not have your massive brain and insight. So there are some inaccuracies – it would be helpful to point them out in a polite manner that encourages people to learn rather than beat them over the head with your arrogance.

So Apple Insider has got it all wrong… well Mr Brain Box… care to enlighten us all (including AI) as to the rest of the issues with the article – maybe we could all learn something from your clearly superior intellect… maybe you could learn something too… for example, how not to be an arsehole.

8 sadbuttrue { 09.04.08 at 6:32 pm }


chelgrain’s right, it would go over your head unfortunately. By taking offense you put yourself in the category of people he mentions.

9 chelgrian { 09.04.08 at 7:20 pm }

No AppleInsider and their journalists have got it right..the commentators have got it wrong.

I’m sorry but “arrogant dickheads” like me design the technology which you use to comment on threads like this. So forgive me for not giving two hoots what you think.

10 LuisDias { 09.05.08 at 12:14 pm }

fatbastard does sound like one indeed.

11 fatbarstard { 09.05.08 at 2:08 pm }

All suspicions confirmed… all three past posts done by people who look, act and think like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons….

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