lasitter

32-bit apps, 64-bit OS worth having?

7 posts in this topic

If you're running 32-bit applications, I was wondering how much gain you would see from running a 64-bit OS on the same processor.

I know the gains can be quite large with 64-bit gaming applications or video editing, but in the most extreme counter example, I can't imagine that it would make any difference with notepad / wordpad, small apps.

My concern is that if I upgrade to later OSs, I just start paying for software all over again, feeling the need to have 64-bit software that wouldn't offer much in the way of value.

What's the best case for 64-bit if you're just doing 2-D video or at most watching a Blu-Ray movie?

I have a new and expensive RAID controller with both 32 and 64 bit driver versions for Windows, Linux and other OSs that I'm planning to install, so that's one motivation for asking.

I'm trying to get a sense of the tradeoff of faster 64-bit drivers versus the extra bloat of newer versions of windows.

Are the benefits of 64-bit overpowered by the bloat, or not?

Thanks.

Edited by lasitter
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Are the benefits of 64-bit overpowered by the bloat, or not?

YEs and no. :w00t:

Basically, there is no real advantage (if not the capability of using more RAM - BTW RAM that you don't actually *normally* need) in *any* normal use.

Compare with this recent thread on reboot.pro:

http://reboot.pro/17568/

jaclaz

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I agree with Jaclaz, the issue of RAM far outweighs any other pros/cons.

For me, the breaking decision point has always been the amount of RAM machine has. Every "generation" of computers has some "sane", "reasonable" amount of RAM it's made for and works best with. Right now that value seems too be 8 Gb (2x4 Gb dual channel). And I'm not talking about RAM prices, that's a different thing.

Just for kicks, on such a machine (8 Gb RAM) I tried WinServer2003 Enterprise (it can see and use all the ram, but individuval limit of 2Gb per application still remains). So the RAM stays empty most of the time (not using it as server) and there is no real difference from what the usage would be if the OS would see just 4 Gb.

Another example, on an underpowered laptop with 2 Gb RAM I tried Win7 x64 and it was smothered. Worked much better with Win7 x86 (or XP x86, for that matter :) ).

As for your question, I've never seen (but haven't looked hard) a difference of more than 20% between x64 and x86 version of an application (with same RAM usage). About the OS, it depends on the generation. If you're wondering about Win7 x86 vs. Win7 x64, there is not much difference, so I'd say go for it. If it's XP x32 vs. XP x64, ditto. But if it's about XP x32 vs Win7 x64, that's a tougher one (although it's the most common upgrade path). There are some (general) improvements in the OS vs much bloat. I'd say, again, the bottom line is the amount of RAM the computer has. It makes no sense to install x64 on less than 4 Gb and x32 cannot see more than that. And I don't think ramdisks are worthwhile long-term solution.

And you have to define 2-D video. :) Editing, watching, transcoding?

GL

Edited by GrofLuigi
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As for your question, I've never seen (but haven't looked hard) a difference of more than 20% between x64 and x86 version of an application (with same RAM usage).

And unfortunately :w00t: you fail in the usual "generalizing issue". :ph34r:

WHICH specific application?

A few apps in which you won't *normally* see any differences ( I believe):

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Microsoft Excel (exception made for very large databases, that you really shouldn't use Excel for)
  • Outlook/Outlook Express
  • Internet Explorer and more generally internet browsers <- but if you put the cache on ramdisk you will likely appreciate a faster experience, even on 32 bit

A few Apps where you might actually appreciate a difference:

  • Mathlab, Mathematica and similar (when dealing with very large calculations)
  • AutoCad (only when working with extremely complex drawings and using in some 3D features)
  • 3dStudio and more generally rendering software
  • "high end" (professional) video or graphical editing (with a few programs only )

Let us be clear on the "testing" environment, same program (in same "powerful" machine) needs to be tested:

  1. in it's 32 bit version under a 32 bit OS
  2. in it's 32 bit version under a 64 bit OS
  3. in it's 64 bit version under a 64 bit OS:

Benchmarks may see a difference, but benchmarks are meaningless metrics, what counts is the "feeling" you have (and IMHO you won't find any sensible difference).

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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I think that one very important thing to consider before switching to a x64 version of Windows is whether there exist x64 drivers for your hardware. In many cases there are NO x64 drivers for older devices like printers, scanners, etc.

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Still seemingly among the "types" already listed :whistle: :

  • "high end" (professional) video or graphical editing (with a few programs only )

From that link you posted (underlined/highlighted by me):

Obviously these are big, big wins for any Photoshop users working with large images. I do however want to be careful not to oversell the benefits of 64-bit. As I’ve said from the start, 64-bit is a really big deal when you’re using large amounts of memory. Otherwise it’s not likely to make a very noticeable difference (e.g. your Web design tasks won’t run twice as fast).

Translated:

  • if you are a "professional" user of Photpshop CS 5, and you have not yet updated to 64 bit, run for it :thumbup .
  • if you are a "common user" that (senselessly :w00t: ) uses Photoshop CS5 to remove red-eyes from pictures originally taken with your smartphone, you have NO need for 64 bit (and conversely no need for Photoshop either :ph34r: )

jaclaz

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