64-bit Applications

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

  1. cnakeitaro macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2006
    Virginia Beach
    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

    Apr 15, 2005
    New Mexico
    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.

Share This Page