64-bit Applications

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cnakeitaro, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. cnakeitaro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    #1
    Ok this is not talking about the performance or how 4 GB of RAM would determine if you need 64-bit or not, but the question is, When do you think developers will stop writing code for 32-bit Applications. We are on the verge of a major step in computing evolution, this happens so rarely, and I think the last time we saw a change was 16 to 32 bit in the early 90's? Point is, I'm in the market for a new computer, my current one works, but is ailing and I want to buy something that will last with software support. So, since we are about to introduce 64-bit chips (again) into the new mac line in Q3 of this year, will we see a major reduction in the next few years for 32-bit app support that would in effect leave my computer unable to use newer apps, or will we always see continued support for 32-bit apps?
     
  2. slb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #2
    32-bit applications will be around for years. 64-bit apps typically yield an average of 5%-10% increase in performance, but a lot of it cancels out due to cache bloat and bigger pointer size, and in some cases the 64-bit app is slower. Also, many 64-bit apps optimize for SSE2/3 since all the 64-bit x86 chips have it, which helps with performance (whereas you're not as sure on a 32-bit chip because it might be an older processor). A 32-bit app optimized with SSE can compete with a 64-bit equivalent, and the Intel Macs are starting out with SSE3, making that the baseline spec for all Intel Mac applications. Not to mention that with the 36-bit addressing of chips like the Core Duo, 4GB is no longer a memory limit.

    64-bit will happen eventually, but based on my research into the topic (I had the same concerns you did a few weeks ago), I believe it won't be as sudden and all-encompassing as chip-makers like AMD want you to believe (so they can, surprise, sell more chips). In fact I believe it will be very gradual, especially in laptops, simply because most people do not need it and it makes little difference either way in a lot of benchmarks.

    Outside of the server market, I think 64-bit is a lot of marketing buzz (Far-Cry 64-bit edition had a bunch of texture and model content added to it to make it seem like it was better because of the 64-bit mode it was running in, even though 64-bit has nothing to do with that...sneaky crap like that...and of course, Half-Life 2 64-bit edition is slower than its 32-bit version). To answer your question, 32-bit applications will be around for several more years.
     

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