64-bit: More than just the RAM

Adrian Wainer

Power User
Forumite 1: "Hi, I am building a new system and I wanted to know what your thoughts were on whether I should use 64-bit or 32-bit Vista? I've heard varying things around the net regarding compatibility, and was hoping someone could help."
Forumite 2: "Hi! I just read your post. You should definitely go with the 32-bit version. There's tons of compatibility problems with 64b (Just look at XP-64), and it's going to die a long, drawn-out death. Besides, the only actual difference between them is that 64-bit can make proper use of 4GB of RAM."
Forumite 1: "Oh, ok! Thanks!"
IMHO What the author of the article has done, has been to set up a straw man and then decide to knock him down. The article itself is excellent but the introduction does not make sense to me in that the forums I have seen tend to give straight answers and certainly would not come out with rubbish like that. Re the comment: "and it's going to die a long, drawn-out death." nobody who knows anything about computers is going to come out with something like that. Personally I tend to be conservative if I find myself in the position of giveing advice, in that if people want to take a risk that's fine but I would not feel comfortable suggesting they do so, that said if somebody is going to retain access to Windows XP in the 32 bit version I allways suggest they go for Vista 64 if they are interested to do so, since the only issue is that one might not be able to obtain a driver for a particular critical peripheral or that a criticial software application might have a problem. As for Windows XP 64, I have a very high regard for that software, and MS deserve praise for the fact that you get the reliability of a server system since it is based on server 2003, the ease of use of Windows XP since it it is front ended with a Windows XP Professional user interface and the ability to run both 32 bit and 64 bit software on a single system. Unfortunatly an issue with Windows XP 64 is that, with the release of Vista the installed base of Windows XP 64 machines will not increase and whilst manufacturers are going to write drivers for Vista 64 for new peripherals and older peripherals still in production, they may not feel the installed base of Windows XP 64 machines warrants the production of drivers to support them.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer
 
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Adrian Wainer

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But for example, the benefit I get from 64 bit computing is not the ammount of RAM it can adress (if it has it to being with), but the ability to actually run my programs twice faster.
Sorry could you explain, how do you know programs are running twice as fast? like what programs are these that run twice as fast?

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer
 

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rasmasyean

Power User
But for example, the benefit I get from 64 bit computing is not the ammount of RAM it can adress (if it has it to being with), but the ability to actually run my programs twice faster.
Sorry could you explain, how do you know programs are running twice as fast? like what programs are these that run twice as fast?

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer
He's talking about stuff like this...
Maple 12 Professional –Math & Engineering Software – Maplesoft
MATLAB - The Language of Technical Computing

They are for advance math calculations that automate the work of like 10 million people with calculators over a year into an operation that last 1 minute.
 

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rasmasyean

Power User
If this is any indication that 64-bit is the wave of the future and 32-bit will be “obsolete”…

“There appears to be a shift taking place in the PC industry: the move from 32-bit to 64-bit PCs.
We've been tracking the change by looking at the percentage of 64-bit PCs connecting to Windows Update, and have seen a dramatic increase in recent months. The installed base of 64-bit Windows Vista PCs, as a percentage of all Windows Vista systems, has more than tripled in the U.S. in the last three months, while worldwide adoption has more than doubled during the same period. Another view shows that 20% of new Windows Vista PCs in the U.S. connecting to Windows Update in June were 64-bit PCs, up from just 3% in March. Put more simply, usage of 64-bit Windows Vista is growing much more rapidly than 32-bit. Based on current trends, this growth will accelerate as the retail channel shifts to supplying a rapidly increasing assortment of 64-bit desktops and laptops.”

http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2008/07/30/windows-vista-64-bit-today.aspx
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
Rasmasyean,

Yep. Just like the old 8 bit and 16 bit is obsolete today, the 32 bit will also be in the future. Now how far into the future this will be is anyone's guess. ;)
 

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roy69

47,65,65,6B
Vista Guru
Gold Member
I find it very hard to belive that a 64bit system is twice as fast as a 32bit system. In the old days when you went from 8bit to 16bit I could understand the computers getting faster quicker because of the maximum amount a varialble can hold in one memory location. The difference between 8 to 16 is more benificial than from 32 to 64 bit. Unless you are dealing with very very large numbers.

Let me explain. The largest number a variable can hold in 8 bit is 255
This is a low number so is used alot. This is why upgrading to 16bit was a good thing, the os doubled in speed because the variables can now handle a number up to 65535. This in its self is a large number.
Now you move to 32bit and the largest number there is 4294967295. This is a very large number and most (not all) programs will get this high.
Now 64 bit can handle numbers up to 18446744073709600000 or there abouts. If a 64bit system wants to use a number bigger than this it will take two clock cycles of cpu time not one. These clock cycles is where the main speed increase is.
 

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Adrian Wainer

Power User
But for example, the benefit I get from 64 bit computing is not the ammount of RAM it can adress (if it has it to being with), but the ability to actually run my programs twice faster.
Sorry could you explain, how do you know programs are running twice as fast? like what programs are these that run twice as fast?

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer
He's talking about stuff like this...
Maple 12 Professional –Math & Engineering Software – Maplesoft
MATLAB - The Language of Technical Computing

They are for advance math calculations that automate the work of like 10 million people with calculators over a year into an operation that last 1 minute.
Hi rasmasyean thanx, for the detailed heads up, well if they are running twice as fast it is probably because they are native 64 bit programs or they have chunks of 64 bit code in them or they are regular 32 bit programs which because of their specialist nature are able to make use of the added features Vista 64 has. But for the ordinary user that likes to play games and use it for e-mail and stuff like that unless one can get hold of some games specifically designed for 64 bit one is unlikely to see an improvement in speed by using a 64 bit operating system. It is not I am trying to be negative but I think it better not to give people a false impression of Vista 64bit operating systems in that if they are sold to people on the basis they are capable of running 32 bit application software as fast as vista 32bit operating systems, most 32 bit programs will run on the on the Vista 64 bit operating systems and driver support is good but not fully comprehensive and additionally you are buying in to an operating system which can perform significantly better [ than a 32 bit system could run a like 32 bit applications software, with the 32 bit system being unable to run 64 bit applications software full stop ] when paired with native 64 bit applications software, people are going to be happy with their packages, if they come into the thing expecting a doubling of performance from the get go on popular applications software, they are going to be majorly p*ssed off.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer
 
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Adrian Wainer

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Rasmasyean,

Yep. Just like the old 8 bit and 16 bit is obsolete today, the 32 bit will also be in the future. Now how far into the future this will be is anyone's guess. ;)
I guess when MS decides to decommission 32-bit Vista just like they did to XP. :p
There is no way that MS will withdraw 32 bit Vista but continue on selling the 64 bit version, what will happen will be that when Vista's replacement comes on the Market both 32 and 64 versions of Vista will be withdrawn from sale like they have done with XP but probably sooner than XP if the Vista replacement is well received and MS will push to get the bulk of sales for the Vista replacement for the 64 bit version so that with the Vista replacement the 64 bit version is the mainstream product and the 32 bit version is the secondary product.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer
 

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sidewinder

Vista Guru
I find it very hard to belive that a 64bit system is twice as fast as a 32bit system.
You don't have to believe it because it is simply not true. Anyone that says it is true has no idea what they are talking about.

S-
 

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rasmasyean

Power User
I find it very hard to belive that a 64bit system is twice as fast as a 32bit system. In the old days when you went from 8bit to 16bit I could understand the computers getting faster quicker because of the maximum amount a varialble can hold in one memory location. The difference between 8 to 16 is more benificial than from 32 to 64 bit. Unless you are dealing with very very large numbers.

Let me explain. The largest number a variable can hold in 8 bit is 255
This is a low number so is used alot. This is why upgrading to 16bit was a good thing, the os doubled in speed because the variables can now handle a number up to 65535. This in its self is a large number.
Now you move to 32bit and the largest number there is 4294967295. This is a very large number and most (not all) programs will get this high.
Now 64 bit can handle numbers up to 18446744073709600000 or there abouts. If a 64bit system wants to use a number bigger than this it will take two clock cycles of cpu time not one. These clock cycles is where the main speed increase is.
I don't know how many times speed is vs. 64, but I guess I should point out that you are talking about integers. There are also numbers called "floating point". There is decimal and some others too that I can't think of right now. But what you wrote seems to be a simplified scenario and it doesn't exactly work that way for all operations.
 

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roy69

47,65,65,6B
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Ok I agree that I have just talked about integer Variables and there are alot of other type. Floating point being the decimal point, also signed and unsigned values which basically cut the amount stored in half for examply instead of 0 to 255 it is now -128 to 128. If a program uses alot of maths routines then it will have a speed increase. However not all of the program is going to be math routines. You will get different menu routines, routines to save data and so on. Doubling the amount of bits will not double the speed on normal programs or maths intensive programs. On normal programs you will not notice much difference. On maths intensive programs you will get a big increase but not twice as much.
 

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Adrian Wainer

Power User
It's interesting to see how everything is based on "how much RAM this and that". I've actually ran Vista x64 with 1GB RAM just for the heck of it, not trouble at all for common tasks (not games).

But for example, the benefit I get from 64 bit computing is not the ammount of RAM it can adress (if it has it to being with), but the ability to actually run my programs twice faster. I never thought it would be such a change to make my simple equation solver on 64 bit, it was actually twice faster for double and I loved the long long variables.

Nevertheless, knowing that actually the M$ OS are becoming more and more like an X-PC-Box gaming OS. It's logical to think just about the RAM and if the "x64" on the box would give you more FPS... or if you could put more stuff in SLI... kinda, depressing.
Hi roy69, rasmasyean and sidewinder this is the posting that sparked the whole "twice as fast debate", well I do not wish to criticize another poster but the way it is written up it is nearly impossible to read ie the colours used for some of the text and the style of writeing is frankly bizarre, so really I would not worry about it too much. Runing one's computer as little more than a super pocket calculator, may or may not produce a 100% increase in speed but very few people's computer usage fits in to that category. So really it appears to me as if there are aspects of this debate, which are akin to three men aboard a submarine argueing who should have the parachute.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer
 
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KrossX

Member
Hahahaha, this is fun.

Well, just to make it clear... I remade my program for 64bit, and yes it runs (my program, not the hole OS nor other programs) in averange twice faster. Basicly, it requires less cycles overall and less iterations to archieve the desired error. It's a pretty simple program easy to test and measure.

And just to make another thing clear... 32bit applications WONT run twice faster on a 64bit OS, period.... and even supposed 64bit applications most likely WONT run twice faster comparted to their 32bit counterpart, yes another period.

It was only needed to read the post properly, but I admit it, the colors are aweful. Although, I did put a note that says "Added colors and stuff out of boredom", so I'm free of guilt. =P
 

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Brink

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mvp

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Adrian Wainer

Power User
Hi Kross, really I was not haveing a go at you, so thanks you took it in good spirit....where I am coming from is that in an open forum there are all sorts of people viewing it and one has to be somewhat careful what one says, in that even very intelligent people can not be experts in everything. E.G. I was recently on a forum with another poster who is a jet passenger airliner pilot and who is much better than most people with computers and he went out and bought a second card to run crossfire for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, when as best I am aware it will not run any faster with a second card, it might even run slower and it might even not run at all with two cards. So if somebody comes on to a forum and starts saying that Vista 64 runs twice as fast, people can come away from that thinking, yeah I'll replace my XP with Vista 64 and my computer will run twice as fast.

Best and Warm Regards
Adrian Wainer
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
LOL Rasmasyean,

The extra RAM certainely helps for now, but it is just a great bonus until software is made to truly use 64 bit. Read through the article in the first post to see the other main advantages that 64 bit offers. :p;)
 

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KrossX

Member
@Adrian Wainer: Yes, I really didn't think about it that way.

Although my point was, as Brink said, that there's more to the 64 bits than just more RAM. Wich is actually the topic's title...

And yes, time will pass until true 64bits applications are seen extracting juice from our super-multi-stuff-something-64-processors.... Maybe once 128bits processing is around for PC's and alike? And then... a new topic will appear! "128 bits: More than just cookies". Hehehehe
 

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rasmasyean

Power User
Well...if you put it THAT way, the "quantum computers" over the horizon will blow 64-bit AND 128-bit out of the water! :devil:

Hey, the first "notable" title that is coming out soon is Adobe CS4. And even then, only selective people will use that. Perhaps it is very true that 64-bit has great "processing" advantages. But practically it means very little until what you say (and that article says) will happen in the future...whenever that may be. Heck, by that time it might already be time to upgrade to Windows 7. And all those scientists have already been using 64-bit for years like in XP-64 (with equation solvers or whatever) anyway.

The question then becomes...why should "everyone else" go Vista 64-bit. And that's what we want an answer to...imho. ;)
 

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