how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

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Are you running a 32-bit OS or a 64-bit OS?

32-bit
7
64%
64-bit
3
27%
I don't know (or care)
1
9%
 
Total votes: 11
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how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

Postby Lunkhead » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:30 pm

Reist mentioned having some issues with some Tascam audio interface drivers, running Windows in 64-bit. That got me curious about who in the SF! community is using 64-bit OSes vs. 32-bit OSes, and why. My understanding was that there was likely no significant benefit for your average SF! participant to running 64-bit, as we're likely not using >3GB of memory (or we're using an OS that can address that anyway), or working with >4GB audio files, etc. But I could be wrong. Anybody else have any thoughts or experiences about the topic?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit#32_vs_64_bit
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Re: how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

Postby fluffy » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:42 pm

This isn't letting me vote - just keeps telling me that the "submitted form was invalid." Yay phpBB.

At home I run OSX 10.6 which is basically 64-bit except for where it isn't. I'm still running the 32-bit kernel because of a couple of drivers that haven't been made 64-bit-clean yet, although I don't think I even use the hardware for those drivers anymore anyway so I could go full-64-bit if I wanted to, not that it makes any difference on OSX because of the way it partitions the userspace and kernel and whatever.

At work I have a Windows laptop running 32-bit XP and a Linux desktop running 32-bit Ubuntu, because a lot of the software I run and work on and so on can't even build in 64-bit, because of some rather irritating assumptions people made about pointer sizes (for example, freely casting between pointers and ints).

Not that it even matters since the only machine of mine that's even capable of taking more than 4GB of RAM is my old PowerMac G5 (which has 6.5GB in it, of which I'm probably only ever using 1GB at any given time anymore since that system is just a fileserver in the corner these days).
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Re: how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

Postby AJOwens » Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:15 pm

My entire studio is two-bit. :wink:
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Re: how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

Postby Generic » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:09 pm

Isn't it just a matter of waiting for the technology to catch up? Right now I'm runnign a 32-bit system. In about a year, I'm probably going to have a different computer, and it will probably be 64 bit, because I'm going to want RAM up the wazoo. I'm pretty indifferent to the whole issue, though. Are there any specific drawbacks to 64-bit, from a recording perspective?
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Re: how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

Postby fluffy » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:17 pm

Driver support is the only one that you generally have to be concerned with. There might also be issues with running 32-bit VSTs on a 64-bit host app, but I'm guessing that all the major DAW software for Windows is still 32-bit-only. Logic Pro only recently went 64-bit on the Mac, and MacOS has been slowly migrating toward 64-bit for years now, and that's a case where Logic Pro's 64-bit development was probably in parallel with MacOS's what with them both being Apple products. 64-bit Logic also has a compatibility layer so that 32-bit AudioUnits (the OSX-native equivalent of VSTs) still work

Also, frankly, I don't think 64-bit is really that important and won't be for a long time. All that 64-bit means is that individual applications can address more than 4GB of memory at once. From a programmer's perspective this is nice since it means that the app can just map all the raw data into memory and let the OS deal with paging and prefetching and so on, but from a user's perspective you're probably only going to see a few hundred MB of audio data actually loaded into RAM at any given time anyway, unless you use GigaStudio or something.

You'll get a much better performance improvement by switching to an SSD for your storage.

Oh, and FWIW, my largest single audio project (a very large and complicated multitrack thing for a friend's animated short) is about 1.6GB, so even if all that data were loaded directly into memory (and ignoring that a lot of it is unused takes, old video files, and bounced mixdowns - the actual recorded audio for the project is only about 850MB), it would work just fine in a 32-bit address space.
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Re: how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

Postby Lunkhead » Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:23 am

fluffy, I've been holding back from upgrading my Mac Pro DAW to Snow Leopard for fear of possible driver issues. Is that silly? I haven't really been able to figure out whether or not I really need to worry about that in the cases where there haven't been updates to drivers that were specifically labeled "10.6 compatible". It sounds like there are "compatibility modes" or "emulation" but I'm not sure how far that will get me with hardware drivers (as opposed to apps like Reason and Cubase).

On the RAM topic, I think it's important to have lots of RAM if you're working with high quality multi-sampled virtual instruments. Back when Erin and I did Nur Ein a few years ago I got motivated to upgrade my fake drums to Reason Drum Kit. Unfortunately the thing tries to load 1+ GB of high quality samples into memory and if it can't it won't work. At the time I only had 2GB so I didn't have enough free RAM.
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Re: how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

Postby fluffy » Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:32 am

Snow Leopard is very smart about how it handles legacy drivers. The kernel can run in either 32- or 64-bit mode, but on most computers it boots into 32-bit mode no matter what (I think the XServe is the only one which defaults to 64-bit). All 64-bit drivers are required to provide 32-bit operation as well, so it's basically always safe to boot 32-bit.

Now, the neat thing is that a 32-bit kernel can still run 64-bit applications! So you can have 32-bit drivers, a 64-bit userspace (the default), and a mixture of 32- and 64-bit applications. Most of the included apps are 64-bit now, and many of Apple's pro apps (Aperture, Logic Pro, and I think Final Cut Pro but I'm not sure) are 64-bit as well. They've also worked it such that the 32-bit kernel can address up to 32GB of RAM rather than the usual 4GB, and it'll be some time before they even make a system that can take more than that.

System Preferences also have a pretty neat fallback - if you need to open a legacy control panel that only works in 32-bit mode, it actually relaunches itself in 32-bit mode.

The only thing that doesn't have a 32-bit fallback or compatibility layer is the screen saver, and that's hardly a vital function.

Most of the remaining differences between 10.5 and 10.6 are cosmetic. So far I haven't run into anything that worked on 10.5 that doesn't work on 10.6. My PreSonus FireStudio and Inspire1394 both work great, as do both of my Wacom tablets. The rare times I bother to use my Contour ShuttlePro2 it works fine, too, and I think that's my only legacy 32-bit driver at this point (and I basically never use the damn thing anyway).
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Re: how many bits? (32-bit vs 64-bit)

Postby Lunkhead » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:05 am

Cool, thanks for the info. I will probably upgrade this weekend, then, and see how it goes.

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