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Thread: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

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    crisscross's Avatar
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    Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Really a mac OS10.6.2 question, but may share some characteristics with Windows 7 (though in the case of mac, it is going from a brilliant 10.5.8, whereas on PC Vista didn't sound so brilliant and you may be glad to see the back of it)

    Very few progs actually run in 64bit in current versions, so benefit may only lie in keeping up-to-date for the future. Quite a few progs actually have components/plug-ins/odds and sods from pre-intel days, so cause trouble. Eg if I want to use FocusMagic plug in to Photoshop, I have to force PS to work in 'rosetta' (ie using the pre-intel code). Mac literate programmers, even 'tryers' like Nikon are better at sneaking in a module that slides round.

    Any mac users either really happy with 10.6.2 or reverted to 10.5.8?

    Any techies who can actually explain why some 'universal' progs are more universal than others?

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Hi Chris,

    From a purely Windows environment perspective (which probably won't be of any help to you, but may be to others), I personally made the switch to pure 64 bit with the release of Windows 7 (and am doing the same with clients now as well). For the most part it's identical to 32 Bit counterparts. Photoshop is the main app running on both my main platforms, and it automatically installs 64 bit and 32 bit versions; I've only ever needed to use the 64 bit PS version, and it's been fine. The only issue I've had have been with a lack of a 64 bit driver for a particular Kyocera printer (which is now solved). Also, Windows 7 includes a licence for XP mode, so one can run Windows XP under Windows 7 (and in my case, get my beloved checkers game back again

    Vista has been an "interesting" experience from the start; in the beginning it ran like a dog mostly because we all seriously under-estimated the amount of RAM it needed to run efficiently (and was an even bigger problem with laptops as many at the time wouldn't take more than 2GB, and vista really needed a LOT more than that for anything substantial). Having just said all that though, once Microsoft released SP1 - and we got to know the OS a bit better - and we started maxing out the RAM on new machines (which from a $$$ point of view was inconsequential as RAM is now so cheap), it actually ran OK ... I have about a dozen clients running it and it's fine. Windows 7 is better though - just a collection of improvements; and it's probably fair to say that Windows 7 is what Vista should have been.

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    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    The mac version of Photoshop 11 still registers as 'intel' but not as 64bit (running with Rosetta turned off and as observed in 'activity monitor'). But I would class Adobe as 'porters' rather than 'tryers' and I think the Nikon-Adobe intercourse is pretty frosty too.

    Are all the plug-ins you use with PS universal/32 bit Colin? If not have they disappeared since last used?

    NeatImage is another that needs PS running in Rosetta/pre-intel mode, but i don't use that any more as NX2 in-house noise-reduction/focus balance is fine.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    Are all the plug-ins you use with PS universal/32 bit Colin? If not have they disappeared since last used?
    Hi Chris,

    I don't use any plugins with PS, but that's what the co-installed 32 bit version was designed to cater for, so I assume that it's works OK.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    I had a look at 64 bit with OpenSuse but couldn't get it to work; I don't use a telephone line but wireless dongle and it is this that didn't function leaving me without nVidia and my graphics are nVidia. It in any case needs a lot more memory and I have only 2GB but could expand to 8GB just haven't the inclination to do it but XP Home can only see up to 2.5 GB anyway.

    I have a quad core with hypertransport motherboard but mostly programs are not written to utilise its power and I suspect that will be the same with 64 bit, and it may not be enough of an improvement on 32 bit to justify the effort and money.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    I very much want to got to a 64 bit OS, but would not do it at the present. The only reason I have for going 64 bits is ability for PS to then address any amount of memory in the computer, for example 16 megabytes, or 32 or 64 for that matter. But there a catch. PS must be ported to a 64 bit system, that is, rewritten to use 64 bit versus 32 bit words. Even then a memory limit can be programmed, depends on how and why they want to design PS. Adobe currently states that 64 bit Adobe will run on 64 bit Vista: "On 64-bit versions of Windows Vista® with a compatible 64-bit PC, Photoshop CS4 can directly access as much RAM as is installed on your system." However some people who have measured the performance boost say it is about 8% although opening very large files is 10 times faster (due to fact that the scratch disk is not used). This implies that the 64 bit PS is not yet written to fully take advantage of large amounts of memory.

    There is another reason no to go to 64 bit now. Other important programs, such as drivers, also have to be rewritten, and many have not been revised, so things that worked on the 32 bit OS will not work or will not be available on the 64 bit OS.

    Bottom line: let things soak a bit longer.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Quote Originally Posted by victorlglass View Post
    I very much want to got to a 64 bit OS, but would not do it at the present. The only reason I have for going 64 bits is ability for PS to then address any amount of memory in the computer, for example 16 megabytes, or 32 or 64 for that matter.
    Hopefully you mean gigabytes

    But there a catch. PS must be ported to a 64 bit system, that is, rewritten to use 64 bit versus 32 bit words.
    Yes / No - kinda / sorta. In reality it's "simply" a recompile of the source code.

    Even then a memory limit can be programmed, depends on how and why they want to design PS.
    Any developer can program limites into any piece of software, but that's not really an issue here. In reality the application simply requests that memory be allocated by the operating system, and the operating system either approves or denies the request. There possibly are memory limitation built into Photoshop x64, but I for one have never hit them, and I don't know of anyone who has - so I'd suggest that in reality it's not anything to be conerned about.

    Adobe currently states that 64 bit Adobe will run on 64 bit Vista: "On 64-bit versions of Windows Vista® with a compatible 64-bit PC, Photoshop CS4 can directly access as much RAM as is installed on your system." However some people who have measured the performance boost say it is about 8% although opening very large files is 10 times faster (due to fact that the scratch disk is not used). This implies that the 64 bit PS is not yet written to fully take advantage of large amounts of memory.
    No - it doesn't imply that at all. Where you have to work around limitation of a 32 bit structure then 64 bit can produce significant improvement (as is the case with large image manipulations) - but in the vast majority of cases what slows things down isn't the fact that it's only 32 bit. I'll give you a simple case-in-point; lets say you want to add 1+1.

    In a 32 Bit structure this would be ...

    00000000000000000000000000000001 + 00000000000000000000000000000001

    In a 64 bit structure this would be ...

    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000001 + 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000001

    In the first example the CPU would add them using a 32 bit instruction - in the second they would be added using it's 64 bit equivalent (I used to be able to even tell you what they were, but my programming in assembly languare was in a previous life!) - bottom line is that even though 1 is 32 bit and the other is 64 bit, they'd probably both execute in the same amount of time (probably 1 clock cycle for something as simple as this).

    So - if you extrapolate this out a bit then if you were working on a 50MB image in 32 bit PS and the same in 64 Bit PS then you probably wouldn't see a lot of difference as both fit comfortably within it's limitations. You get a bit of an increase due to certain inherant efficiencies (you mentioned 8% - I've heard up to 20%) (until you start dealing with large images). So it's not really a case of "not yet written to take advantage of large amounts of memory" as it is "there's no advantage to be gained for relatively small images".

    There is another reason no to go to 64 bit now. Other important programs, such as drivers, also have to be rewritten, and many have not been revised, so things that worked on the 32 bit OS will not work or will not be available on the 64 bit OS.
    In a windows environment it's not a case of "32 bit drivers not being revised" etc - in the windows architecture drivers are given kernel mode access (ie unprotected access) to memory and MUST be 64 bit (you can't use a 32 bit driver on a 64 bit system) - so drivers need to be ported. Whether or not developers do a lot to the driver (or even need to do a lot to the driver) when they port it is up to them, but I have to say that I haven't had much trouble with 64 bit drivers functioning incorrectly - the only practical issue has been the existance of the driver in the first place, which is something people need to check before upgrading ANY operating system, be it 64 bit or 32 bit (I still have clients running WinXP because they have mission critical software that just won't run on anything else). Keep in mind also though that for the most part Windows 7 shares the same driver interface structure as Windows Vista - so any driver written for Vista x64 should work OK with Windows 7 x64 (and this has proved to be the case). Keep in mind also that 64 bit isn't new - I ran WinXP 64 for many years - and Vista 64 - and now Windows 7 x64 - all with no significant issues, and great performance (my current PC has 8 logical cores and 12GB RAM and runs very nicely).

    Bottom line: let things soak a bit longer.
    Unfortunately, because operating systems are getting bigger and the most a 32Bit OS will see is about 3.2GB RAM, you have a situation where the sky is coming down, and the ground is rising to meet it (meaning the usable memory for programs is getting smaller and smaller on 32 Bit systems) ... and moderately busy systems (ie those running anti-virus - skype - office - MS messanger - iTunes etc) are starting to choke in 32 bit environments; trying to run Photoshop on them with either big images or multiple images really hits them hard. In a x64 environment with 12GB RAM I can have Photshop open with several images - Bridge open - ACR open and it doesn't blink.

    So my advice would be to do ones homework with regards to drivers etc, but only stick with 32 Bit if there was a compelling reason to - after all, all PC hardware has been x64 capable for ages, so why only use 1/2 the capability (and suffer reduced performance) of what you're paid for?

    Keep in mind that when you install Photoshop on a 64 bit system is installs BOTH 32 bit and 64 bit versions - so you can use the 32 bit version if you have plugins incompatable with the 64 bit version.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 3rd February 2010 at 10:15 PM.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Gee wilikers Colin, I guess I was a little loose with my terminology so that the average reader could follow along; I had very little interest in touting my 22 years experience as a software developer nor my involvement in the development of UNIX SVR4, which involved porting=revising=perhaps.rewriting=if.you.are.luck y.just.compile code from two different versions of the OS (AT&T and SUN).

    I don't enjoy getting into a retort, but ...

    "On 64-bit versions of Windows Vista® with a compatible 64-bit PC, Photoshop CS4 can directly access as much RAM as is installed on your system." This is not "implied" by Adobe, it is stated by Adobe in there literature.

    Have you read the Photoshop CS4 code? If not you don't know what the application level code is doing after memory is requested via a system call. And I did say that the main reason I'd move to a 64 bit OS is that *all physical memory installed on the machine can be used*. I am frustrated with only having 3 and change gigabytes of memory available with 4 gigabytes installed.

    And yes, 64 bit systems are not new, they've been around since the 1960s. And yes it is inevitable that we are going to 64 bits, and thank goodness.

    Since reading both of our posts sequentially (oops I almost said "together" which would have been technically wrong) may be arduous for most readers I'll simply restate my points:

    * to determine if it's "time" to get a 64 bit machine do google around to see what problems and issues people are having.
    * you will need different drivers, so as Colin and I have stated make sure the one's you need are available.
    * if it ain't broke don't fix it - if you want to move to a 64 bit system only for "keeping up-to-date for the future" (as stated in the original post), and you are able to do your work now without a problem, then you can afford to wait, particularly if you're very busy. Not saying you shouldn't continue to think about and research.
    * you don't need to understand assembly language and nor binary arithmetic to understand all this.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Hi Victor,

    I think we're basically on the same page here. For what it's worth, I've been in the industry since the early eighties (before the original IBM PC with the 16kb RAM, 8088 CPU, and cassette port! - even re-writing portions for the BIOS in assembly language for better performance) (I got the video routines going about 4 times faster).

    On 64-bit versions of Windows Vista® with a compatible 64-bit PC, Photoshop CS4 can directly access as much RAM as is installed on your system." This is not "implied" by Adobe, it is stated by Adobe in there literature.
    I have no disagreement at all with this - not sure why you brought it up to be honest.

    Have you read the Photoshop CS4 code? If not you don't know what the application level code is doing after memory is requested via a system call.
    No I don't - but I would assume that the compiler would generate appropriate 64 Bit code. Again, I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Are you saying that the 64 bit version should run a lot faster than the 32 bit version - and that Adobe have ported it inefficiently? My experience with Photoshop is that it's very well written and I've seen no reason to suggest that it's not reasonable efficient. Regardless the 64 bit version works slightly better than the 32 bit version (which is also available), and it all seems a bit pointless summizing over whether it's a relatively efficient porting or relatively inefficient; It is what it is - and if anything that small performance increase should be more of a nod towards using it than not using it.

    And I did say that the main reason I'd move to a 64 bit OS is that *all physical memory installed on the machine can be used*. I am frustrated with only having 3 and change gigabytes of memory available with 4 gigabytes installed.
    Yep - couldn't agree more

    And yes, 64 bit systems are not new, they've been around since the 1960s. And yes it is inevitable that we are going to 64 bits, and thank goodness.
    Absolutely

    * to determine if it's "time" to get a 64 bit machine do google around to see what problems and issues people are having.
    * you will need different drivers, so as Colin and I have stated make sure the one's you need are available.
    * if it ain't broke don't fix it - if you want to move to a 64 bit system only for "keeping up-to-date for the future" (as stated in the original post), and you are able to do your work now without a problem, then you can afford to wait, particularly if you're very busy. Not saying you shouldn't continue to think about and research.
    * you don't need to understand assembly language and nor binary arithmetic to understand all this.
    Sounds good to me. My suggestion would also be to not upgrade if what you have already continues to work well for you ("if it isn't broken, don't fix it") - but I would say that if someone is in the process of upgrading/replacing a platform then - personally - I think the time has some to be needing some pretty compelling reasons NOT to be using 64 bit these days.

    The time has come for 64 bit ...

    ... enjoy

  10. #10

    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Don't forget about GPUs. The dedicated GPU RAM uses some of the computer RAM.

    Ask Dan: What's with the 3Gb memory barrier?
    Power users with a hankerin' for dual graphics cards may be experiencing something of a sinking feeling, at this juncture. Yes, the 256Mb reserved for my little old graphics card means exactly what you think it means: Those two 768Mb graphics cards you can totally justify buying will eat one point five gigabytes of your 32-bit memory map all by themselves, cutting you down to a 2.5Gb ceiling before you even take the other reservations into account.
    Read this up too: http://www.overclockers.com/forums/s...d.php?t=584631
    All 32bit processors and OSs support 32bits of physical address space which allows software to address a total of 4GB. However, your BIOS reserves space for your graphics card and other peripherals, as does (sometimes) some of your drivers. Why? [COLOR=grey]“This is because some physical address space must be reserved as I/O regions for memory mapped peripherals. These I/O regions are allocated between the 3 GB physical address and the 4 GB upper physical address limit. Physical memory addresses that are mapped to these I/O regions cannot be used to address physical system memory. These addresses also cannot be used to prevent the operating system from using some physical memory that would ordinarily be accessed between the 3GB physical address and the 4GB upper physical address limit. The size of these I/O regions varies from system to system because they determine the type and configuration of the system’s peripherals.”[/COLOR] MS Link
    This does not happen in 64bit OS if I'm not wrong
    Last edited by Blazing fire; 5th February 2010 at 09:32 AM.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post
    This does not happen in 64bit OS if I'm not wrong
    You're not wrong

    Out of interest, I'm using 2x 8800GTX cards in my post-processing PC (so 1.5GB total RAM).

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    From a purely Windows environment perspective (which probably won't be of any help to you, but may be to others), I personally made the switch to pure 64 bit with the release of Windows 7 (and am doing the same with clients now as well).
    Any experience setting up Win 7 32-bit (or perhaps XP 32-bit) & Win 7 64-bit dual boot systems? I'm fighting a failing computer and want to upgrade my hardware to an i7-920 (probably) system and would like to take advantage of all that DDR3 RAM. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever find 64 bit drivers for my old Nikon Coolscan film scanner. My thoughts were to use the 64 bit system to run CS4, but have the ability to boot into 32 bit mode to use the film scanner. Yes, I have tons of negatives and have even thought about brushing the dust off the old Pentax Spotmatic or maybe even picking up a used EOS film camera.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    @ Terry

    Hi Terry,

    Windows 7 supports XP Mode which allows Windows XP to run on top of Windows 7 -- so there's a good change that that might work for you. My personal experience dual booting XP -v- Vista has been mixed; Vista uses an entirely different boot manager, and is SUPPOSED to migrate the XP environment ... problem I had was that there was RAID drivers used by XP that the Vista boot manager couldn't see - so Vista killed my XP installation, which took a while to recover

    If you're not running any special disk drivers then it should be OK - probably worth the experiment if you don't mind playing around loading your own PCs.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Nope, don't mind at all. I had heard rumors of XP/Vista RAID driver issues. Would like to run XP as I know the drivers are stable with XP, but will do Win 7 if I have too. I don't think I'm interested in running "virtual" XP or virtual anything for that matter, I guess I don't trust it. Do you know, is it best to give each OS it's own disk or disk partition or will they peacefully coexist on the same partition?

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Hi Terry,

    I'm running XP mode on 2 PCs, and it's just fine, if that helps. Plan B for you might be to just buy a new scanner -- after all, if you were buying a new car you wouldn't settle for a 2002 model just because you couldn't play your old cassette tapes in anything newer!

    Definately create a new partition if you're going to dual boot.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    In the unlikely case that any mac users have not by now gone to sleep, I thought i would record that I have stayed with OS10.6.2 for now, ie 64bit. I stuck the full 4GB RAM into the macBook pro when i got it, so that is not an issue. Nikon Capture NX2, my main editing prog, seems to dive through the OS layer down to UNIX or machine anyway, possibly why it is so effective, and no different.

    Although there is probably zero advantage, there are a lot of minor glitches to sort which one may as well sort now as later. Rosetta is still alive and kicking to use PowerPC progs (eg Appleworks Database) and it is easy enough to toggle eg CS4 to run under Rosetta (to make use of plug-ins that won't run on 64bit) or without.

    It is however noticable that a lot of progs do need to be re-installed raising the suspicion that it is partly a plot to kill off any naughty versions we might have acquired, perish the thought.

    I still have my old G4 PowerBook nailed down to OS10.4.8 to access Classic (OS9) progs.
    Last edited by crisscross; 18th February 2010 at 10:02 AM. Reason: clarity

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    You're not wrong

    Out of interest, I'm using 2x 8800GTX cards in my post-processing PC (so 1.5GB total RAM).
    Thanks for ascertaining! Btw, you really shell out lots of money on your GPU. Those 8800GTX cost like $500 each in 2007. People ought to be thankful for the much lower cost of computer parts .

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post
    Thanks for ascertaining! Btw, you really shell out lots of money on your GPU. Those 8800GTX cost like $500 each in 2007. People ought to be thankful for the much lower cost of computer parts .
    I think in New Zealand dollars they retailed for something like $1500 each PC pricing has come down slowly over the years - top shelf stuff still goes for quite a premium though - I recently did a mini-upgrade to an i7 extreme-edition CPU, 12GB RAM, and an appropriate Mobo (so I kept the PSU, RAID arrays, DVD Writer, Monitor etc), and it still came to $6000 It plays a mean game of tic-tac-toe

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Postscript: last year I backed off 10.6.2 and went back to 10.5.8 until a week ago

    Nikon came out with Capture 2.3 which is fully 64 bit to give me a push

    Then after installing from the Snow Leopard CD, 'software update' gave one a link all the way to 10.6.8 the 'mature' version in one go. So much less hassle on changeover and none since with the minor exception of Safari 5.1.2 of all the things that should be bomb-proof but isn't & older versions won't run at all.

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    Re: Any thoughts on whether to go 64 bit (yet)?

    Hi colin, It looks like the question has been answered, but I thought you might be interested in knowing that Steve Gibson of GRC.com and the Security Now! podcast still programs his apps in assembly language. He is the inspiration for my looking at learning programming at all.

    -Sonic

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