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st: Re: 64-Bit Stata

From   [email protected] (Alan Riley)
To   [email protected]
Subject   st: Re: 64-Bit Stata
Date   Wed, 29 Oct 2003 13:28:51 -0600

Chinh Nguyen ([email protected]) commented that we intend to produce
a 64-bit version of Stata for OS X running on the G5 when appropriate
developer tools are available:
> We've received many inquiries as to if and when we will provide support for
> the G5 and/or offer a 64-bit version of Stata.  The simple answer is when the
> tools are available for us to do so.
> ...
> A 64-bit version will be forthcoming as soon as our developer tools allow us
> to produce one.

This prompted Tim Sass ([email protected]) to write
> In addition to speeding up processing a bit, wouldn't a 64-bit version 
> double the maximum allowed RAM from 4GB to 8GB?  If so, this could be quite 
> important for researchers working with very large data sets.
> Any thoughts on the outlook for a Windows-based 64-bit version of Stata?  I 
> heard recently that AMD is rolling at a 64-bit chip.

I will start with a quick summary of current and future 64-bit
versions of Stata:

  64-bit versions of Stata                    Availability
  Stata for Sun Solaris                       now
  Stata for SGI IRIX                          now
  Stata for 64-bit Linux on AMD chips         very soon
  Stata for 64-bit OS X on G5                 hopefully soon--as soon
                                                as developer tools permit
  Stata for 64-bit Windows                    down the road a bit,
                                                once OS and developer
                                                tools are out of beta

A 64-bit version of Stata is indeed able to allocate more than 4GB of
RAM.  In fact, in theory it would be able to allocate up to 4GB * 4GB
of RAM--that is, roughly 16 BILLION GB.  In practice, of course, no
computers have that much RAM.

The 4GB limit for 32-bit computers also happens to be in theory.  In
practice, given how the most popular 32-bit operating systems have
been written, the maximum memory allocation a single process can
achieve is really 2GB or less.

AMD's 64-bit chip is already shipping in three flavors: Opteron,
Athlon 64 FX, and Athlon 64.  We have already performed an initial
port of Stata for Unix to 64-bit Linux running on an Opteron.  We
are doing the final work on that right now, and it should be available
for purchase by those with 64-bit Linux running on 64-bit AMD chips
within a month.

We are excited about this version of Stata and the 64-bit chips from
AMD, because our initial tests have shown that the price/performance
ratio is excellent on these chips.  For users with large datasets,
being able to allocate 4GB, 8GB, or more RAM is especially important.

We also plan to create a 64-bit version of Stata for Windows.  This
will not be available so quickly though, as it is a much more involved
project, and only beta versions of 64-bit Windows and 64-bit Windows
development tools exist right now.

Users buying currently-shipping 64-bit AMD-based computers should
watch out for a few things.  You can buy computers running Windows
right now that have the Athlon 64 or Athlon 64 FX chips in them.
These computers are 64-bit, but the operating system IS NOT!  What
this means is that the fact that the computers are based on 64-bit
chips may offer some speed advantages to applications running on
them, but the applications and operating system will still be 32-bit
and can not access more memory than the 32-bit operating system would
allow on a 32-bit computer.  For Windows, this is something a bit
under 2 GB.

In addition, if you buy one of these computers now thinking that you
will put 64-bit Windows on it later (or 64-bit Linux on it now) and
add more memory to it, pay attention to the motherboard specifications.
Several of the motherboards currently shipping for AMD's 64-bit chips
only support up to 2 or 4 GB of RAM even though the chip could
theoretically address more memory than that.  There is nothing wrong
with this if that is all you need, but if you are a user who could
take advantage of more than that amount of memory in the future,
buy a computer with a motherboard that will support more RAM.

([email protected])
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