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Author Topic: 64-Bit Software  (Read 7557 times)
Beth UK
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« on: September 26, 2007, 11:19:16 AM »

For those using 64-bit systems I thought a 64-bit bits thread may be useful!

Let me kick in here with two suggestions for software apps that are 64-bit native.

1. SmartFTP. I have traditionally used WS-FTP Pro for ftp work but wanted to check out 64-bit apps in this area. SmartFTP is fast, stable and with a good feature set (not quite rivalling Ipswitch but good).

2. AB Commander. My stable explorer program has always be Directory Opus. Again, wanting to check out 64-bit alternatives led me to AB Commander. Fast, attractive, functional, dual-paned and infinitely better than Vista Explorer.

I am terrible at software reviews so I guess I am just mentioning these as programs I think are worth checking out.

Other suggestions..?
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f0dder
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2007, 05:47:27 PM »

Hum, do ask yourself which apps need to be upgraded to 64-bit, though... not much needs the large address-space, and not everything benefits much from the additional registers - and code size does grow a bit with 64bit. (What's my point? If you have 32-bit apps that work fine, don't look for 64-bit replacements "just coz").

That a vendor has 64bit versions of their software does hint a bit at their code portability/quality though, so it's not like it's useless smiley
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- carpe noctem
mouser
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2007, 06:04:34 PM »

i think f0dder's points are right on the money, i'll just emphasize the points a bit more and ask for some correction if f0dder thinks i'm over simplifying.

just about the only thing that a program compiled specifically for 64-bits is going to get you is the ability to access more than 2gb of memory for that process.

that means that 99.99% of the programs on your computer probably won't show any benefit and may even run slower.

a few programs (like photoshop, or other heavily memory intensive programs) could show a serious increase in speed if the extra memory can be put to use.  for the most part though i don't think you should expect any improvement from most programs.

however, like f0dder says, you might view is as a good sign i think when an author releases 64-bit versions of their programs -- it means they care about performance and keeping up with such things, and are actively tweaking their programs.
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f0dder
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2007, 06:16:07 PM »

Well, an extra thing 64bit gives you is a larger number of general-purpose registers (and 64bit in size instead of 32bits), this can help tremendously with computation-intensive applications. And because of the way the x86-64 was hacked in (actually, done pretty well all things considered, even though I'd have preferred a clean architecture), code size bloating isn't that bad.

Then again there's of course things that have to be 64-bit - drivers for example. And unless an elaborate thunking mechanism is implemented, plugins (including explorer shell extensions) for 64bit apps have to be 64bit as well.

Sorry for this slight hi-jacking of the thread smiley
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2007, 06:25:50 PM »

In addition to drivers (which are required to be 64-bit on Win64 systems), one area where having a 64-bit version of a program is when the program integrates into Explorer.  Since Explorer is 64-bits, it can only load DLLs that are also 64-bit.

Also, if you're using an alternate file manager or registry editor, having one that's Win64 aware can be helpful in certain cases.  By default, Win64 systems will lie about certain directories and registry keys for 32-bit applications (unless the application makes specific calls to the API to indicate it doesn't want to be lied to).

For example, when 32-bit applications look in the c:\Windows\System32 directory, a Win64 OS will really have them looking at the C:\Windows\SysWow64 directory.  This is all done for backwards compatibility, but it can be confusing if you're not expecting it.
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Beth UK
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2007, 06:43:23 PM »

Hi f0dder

Quote
If you have 32-bit apps that work fine, don't look for 64-bit replacements "just coz"

Oh I absolutely agree - though I di have this really bad addiction to having to experiment with everything! Cool So, in a sense, that's what I am doing with the 64-bit apps I am trying - experimenting! I did try WS-FTP (32-bit) alongside SmartFTP (64-bit) and have to say that SmartFTP was so much faster - in real and tangible ways. When it came to AB Commander I was not expecting to see huge speed or performance boosts as file managing is not exactly RAM or CPU intensive. That said I was impressed to find what appears to be a compact, fast and highly usable application.

Mouser said:

Quote
a few programs (like photoshop, or other heavily memory intensive programs) could show a serious increase in speed if the extra memory can be put to use.

Absolutely - this was actually my primary goal and I have to say that the performance increase has been nothing short of spectacular! My workflow has been significantly speeded up - very obviously so with images around 400mb to 1gb range.

I haven't yet noticed a drop in performance anywhere with regard to 32-bit apps which has been surprising (I was expecting more 'glitches' and 'issues').

For anyone contemplating a move to 64-bit I would only advise it if you have a clear goal in mind - which I did. One reason is that while heavy duty graphics work will benefit you'll be disappointed in the number of apps that are genuine 64-bit coded. There is not yet enough benefit to be gained for an everyday computing experience. Maybe one day... but not now!
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2007, 06:47:04 PM »

Quote
Well, an extra thing 64bit gives you is a larger number of general-purpose registers (and 64bit in size instead of 32bits), this can help tremendously with computation-intensive applications.

thanks for making that clear -- that's important and makes sense.  so even if an application doesn't make use of the larger memory address space, you could see a big speedup in computationally intensive (especiallying double floating point, etc.) calculations.

it would be nice to see some benchmarks comparing 32bit vs. 64 bit compiled apps that are computationally (but not memory) intensive, like encoding and math benchmarks, etc.  if anyone has any references to such bechmarks it would be fun to see.
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EĆ³in
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2007, 05:37:53 AM »

Well here are some older benchmarks.

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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2007, 06:49:29 AM »

If you check out that page the basic conclusion seems to be that unless it's a 64 bit native application, the differences in execution speed are non-existent.
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f0dder
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2007, 08:43:14 AM »

Games tend to be more GPU than CPU bound, so testing those probably don't make too much sense (although some work is done in the graphics drivers, so at least that code can take advantage of more registers etc).

Btw back in the really old days, when NT was available for the 64bit Alpha processor, some 32bit x86 software ran faster emulated on the alpha than on native x86 hardware... but that was because the programs were mostly calling APIs, which of course had native code on the Alpha, with some thunking layer. Pretty impressive JITing they did for the rest of the app code, especially considering how long ago this was.

Anyway, back on subject - I agree with mouser that benchmarking should really be done on 32bit vs 64bit version of the same software, since 32bit code running under 64bit runs directly as 32bit code, and doesn't really have any advantages by running on a 64bit OS.
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2007, 01:51:34 PM »

I did try WS-FTP (32-bit) alongside SmartFTP (64-bit) and have to say that SmartFTP was so much faster - in real and tangible ways.

I'm not very familiar with WS-FTP, but I know the SmartFTP developer spends a lot of time tweaking it. I get the impression he spends time pretty much every day fine-tuning some aspect of it or adding something new. It may not be the 64-bit nature of SmartFTP that's showing up but the constant care and pruning it gets.

smiley
« Last Edit: September 30, 2007, 01:53:16 PM by Cavalcader » Logged

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