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64-Bit Software

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Beth UK:
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..?

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 :)

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.

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 :)

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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