64-Bit vs 32-Bit -- The Results Revealed

Discussion in 'macOS' started by A Macbook Pro, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. A Macbook Pro macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2009
    So, I've seen my fair share of 64-bit threads with people not knowing which one to choose and people saying it doesn't make a different etc etc. So, I did a test. Read on for the results. (All results in seconds)

    Adobe Photoshop CS4: 64-Bit: 2.9 32-Bit: 8.8
    Microsoft Office Word 2008: 64-Bit: 7.1 32-Bit: 7.1
    Mail: 64-Bit: 1.4 32-Bit: 1.7
    iMovie 09: 64-Bit: 7.2 32-Bit: 7.7
    Safari 4: 64-Bit: 1.4 32-Bit: 1.4

    All results are averages. Each application was opened 3 times on each respective kernel. Results may vary. Testing conducted on June 2009 MBP, 2.8Ghz, 9600M GT, 500GB 5400RPM, 4GB RAM.

    I think everyone should use the 64-Bit kernel. It's a bit faster, and hey, you payed for it!
  2. craig1410 macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2007
    I appreciate you taking time to conduct this test but I think I would need more details of how exactly you tested to ensure accuracy as the differences are very small except for CS4 which I don't use. In particular I would like to know how many times you tested each kernel and whether you did a cold boot before each and every test to eliminate caching etc. I would also need to know how you measured the times and what sort of accuracy you think the measurements had. If you used a stopwatch manually then I'd say your error margin would be +/- 0.25 seconds at least. I often help out at my local swimming club where my kids swim in competition and when timing races by stop watch we always have two time keepers who's times are averaged to give a more accurate time. Often there can be variations of several tenths.

    I don't mean to pour cold water on your tests but I think you need to show that you performed these timings in a competent manner for people to take them seriously.

    Many thanks,
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    One application opens up faster and you came to the conclusion that its overall faster then the 32bit kernel?

    Opening an app, is not what I call conclusive tests and while many apps can and will benefit from K64, not all will, couple that with the incompatibilities of some programs and drivers mean that its safer in the short run to stay with the 32bit kernel - imo.
  4. santos79 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2009
    I don't see the problem. What's "unsafe" about booting into the 64-Bit kernel? If an application doesn't work, just press 3 and 2 and you're back in 32-Bit kernel mode.

    I agree with the original poster that the 64-Bit kernel is available and its the more logical choice for a 64-Bit system unless you have applications that absolutely need the 32-Bit kernel. If you don't it doesn't make sense to use the 32-Bit kernel.

    In my case, I've been using the 64-Bit kernel since having installed SL and I love it. My applications are more responsive. (I know a lot of would-be experts doubt that).

    My advice is to try it. There are absolutely no risks.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I meant safer in the that there will be less incompatibilities. Not safer in terms of risk of damage.

    There are applications and drivers that will not function in K64, plus what advantages are there for booting up the kernel in 64bit mode especially if most people only have 4gig or less? SL still will and can run 64bit applications. The 64bit kernel has no bearing on whether the full OS will be capable in running 64bit applications.
  6. zeeklancer macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2008
    Launch times of applications do not test 64bit vis 32bit, as the slowness related to launching applications is directly related to DISK IO. Your hard drive is not going to go any faster or slower using 32bit or a 64bit kernel.

    In fact, running a 64bit in most cases is SLOWER and REQUIRES more ram to run than in 32bit. This is because the address pointers are in most cases 2 times the size as that of a 32 bit process. This means the memory footprint of the problem is much larger and MORE bits have to be moved around to get the same job done.

    The only case that 64bit would ever be faster is when accessing memory ranges above and beyond 4 gigs. This is because on the 32bit systems a method of PAE is used that requires extra processing to map lower virtual address to higher physical addresses. But even then the increase in speed would ONLY be seen on processing of data that already took DAYS or WEEKS to process. And the speedups would not be measured in seconds, but more likely hours or days. This is because it would save a sliver of time off of a job that would be repeated trillions of times and over time those slivers would save up to be 1 second, then 1 minute, then 1 hour, and so forth.

    So, UNLESS you are a scientist of some sort you WILL NOT be able to see any difference running 64bit vs 32bit.

    For those saying they DO see change, it is placebo. Likely linked with the fact that you did a fresh install of your OS, and that Apple has DONE some work to improve performance, but that is unrelated to 32bit or 64bit issue.

  7. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    Photoshop CS4 takes 7 seconds to open initially on my MBP 2.93 C2D
    Then it takes little 2 seconds to open after.

    This is in both 64bit/32bit snow leopard.

    Your timing seems very questionable, and as others have posted is not a measure of whether 32bit or 64bit is faster.
  8. gilkisson macrumors 65816


    Don't listen to 'em, OP. You remain steadfast and secure is the knowledge that yours in indeed faster. In fact, now your car is brighter, the sunshine is sweeter, people smile at you more, you are more popular, and you can bask in the reflected love of the entire universe.

    Oh, and you "paid" for it. :D
  9. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Even if these timings were accurate.... who cares???

    A few seconds doesnt make a difference in my mind, as long as the program isn't slow and doesn't crash... i'm happy. Program startup times arn't the thing we should be looking at. It should be stability of the program.

    This just shows how much of a let down 64bit is.
  10. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  11. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    ...and doggone it, people like you!


    But on a serious note, with all the RAM you can run on a 64-bit system, I'd be more concerned with app performance after launch because you could certainly afford to never quit anything.
  12. BigAus macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2007

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