Compilers for Intel Macs

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by Dubharmonic, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Dubharmonic macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Are the apps (and OS) compiled for Intel Macs taking advantage of the 64-bit capabilities these machines have? Is there any official documentation on this? Thanks!

    I'm aware of the mess that's going on with the 32-bit to 64-bit switch in the Linux and Windows worlds, and was curious where Macs stood as I start coding on OSX exclusively.
  2. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Personally I think most of the 64 bit hype is just that. Okay, Intel processors may give your application a small speed boost due to the extra registers available in 64 bit mode, but you need to ask yourself if that small increase in speed is worth the extra memory a 64 bit application requires. I mean how many applications need to address more than 3 - 4GBs of RAM on their own anyway? Making an application 64 bit if it does not need it is nothing more that a marketing technique if you ask me.

    Plus another thing to think about, the OS needs to load the 64 bit version of any libraries that your application uses thus increasing total memory usage of the system. If your application has a legitimate need for being 64 bit then you are fine in Leopard (Tiger is 64 bit to an extent as well, but you will need to run your application as a terminal application and then bolt on a 32 bit UI on top).

    I'd like to hear other peoples opinions on the whole 64 bit thing.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you are marketing a product to (mostly) clueless end-users than saying "64-bits" may help sell the product. After all, more is always better right?

    But if you are building an application and want best performance don't guess, profile it. It many cases it is clear you are best off going one way or the other, if you are not doing a lot o floating point and you don't need a huge address space 32-bits is faster but on those border line cases there is no need to guess when you can measure.
  4. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    I know on the Linux / AMD side of the house, we see about a 20% performance hit by using 64 bit Red Hat EL4. Mac OS is never really a consideration in our datacenters.

    The upside is memory limitations of the applications. If you need to keep really big sets of data in memory (database, caching applications, etc.) 64 bit is great.

    If your looking for absolute performance, 32 bit is usually the way to go. The chips today are so fast, you would have to have some pretty strict requirements to have any real impact one way or the other.

    FYI... Intel does make compilers that will squeeze every last ounce out of the Intel chips. I believe they are GCC compatible, but they do charge for them.

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