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64 vs 32-bit == end users measures the perceived performance

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April 7, 2006 4:28:17 AM

Looking at all the 64-bit vs 32-bit slug-fests I could only smile. I'm a programmer / engineer - I am a AMD fan ( just because they are opposition to Intel - sorry Americans ) and I have in my life used a good mix of both.

Currently I run a X2 3800+ as server at home and develop on Compaq nx9010 notebook (Hopefully my new nx6125 (Turion 64 rules) notebook arrives today - then it will be bye bye to the slow brick sized nx9010).

But back to my topic. In the end the only thing the end user see is the perceived performance of his or her PC / Notebook / what ever. This basically depends on the IO performance of the system. And with IO I mean disk IO (for databases, dev tools, office tools etc) and memory IO for the gamers - they nail the CPUs to close to 100% so to them 32 or 64 bit may be of importance.

And yes, Conroe is going to kick AMD ass it seems. So good for you Intel !

I'll be waiting for AMD to leapfrog that again as both my new AMD based tools will be good for two more years. And no I'm not going to use Vista - had the betas on my system and I rate Vista's improvement as eye candy at the expense of usability and performance.

Remember - all CPUs wait at exactly the same speed. If you cannot keep them busy, they do nothing. My Server system at home has a RAID 50 SATA disk system is perceivably VERY FAST ( With both cores doing nothing 80% of the time - so at the system can provide them with work 20% of the time ).

This notebook ( the nx9010 brick ) has a 5400 rpm Notebook HDD and is perceived as being HORRIBLY SLOW with the CPU being idle 98% of the time and the HDD being buy all the time.

So to me the underlying CPU architecture is of no concern to me Disk IO is the biggest pain the the back. As long as I do not have to look at an hour glass I'm happy - make that in any 32 or 64 bit way

And if AMD sells anything close in performance to what Intel has in 2008 - guess what I will be upgrading to.
April 7, 2006 4:39:31 AM

Quote:

PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:31 pm Post subject: Re: 64 vs 32-bit == end users measures the perceived perform
Quote:
Looking at all the 64-bit vs 32-bit slug-fests I could only smile. I'm a programmer / engineer - I am a AMD fan ( just because they are opposition to Intel - sorry Americans ) and I have in my life used a good mix of both.


Just curious, you do realize that AMD is also an American company?


Might be - but it's manufacuring is European based and therefore not perceived as being American.
April 7, 2006 4:43:02 AM

Surely you jest? AMD is clearly international, sort of like the Red Cross but they do more to help.
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April 7, 2006 5:29:26 AM

My opinion is that 64 bit will be required in the future... right now its not required and in some cases even a detriment (drivers) I have high hopes that the move to 128 bit will be smoother then this transition has gone. Hmmmm Oblivion likes 2 GB of Ram (not that I have that much ram but from what I hear it likes it !) so 4 GB wich is where you start to need 64 Bit (or is it 3GB ? I have heard conflicting things about 32 bit XP in that area) The first 64 bit only game will be using a minimum of 4 GB of ram ? thats gonna be sweat :)  hmmmm I wonder what the HD requirement will be LOL
April 7, 2006 6:12:16 AM

Quote:

Just curious, you do realize that AMD is also an American company? :) 

AMD is mostly based in Germany.... [sigh]
Just like IBM / Lenovo are 70% based in China.

The reason having twice your peak commit charge in physical memory helps performance (see Task Manager, Performance tab) is because once files are read they'll be sitting in the OS Disk Cache.

This is why the minimum weighted frame rate in games jumps when people have 2 GB of RAM. Even though said game might only use 800 MB, and the peak commit charge will be around 1,400 MB... disk access is avoided.

All free memory under pretty much every 32 bit or 64 bit Operating System is used as a disk cache. 8)

If you want to reduce the HDD impact on performance, get more RAM.

I suggest 1 GB for Windows XP with some apps running.
Commit Charge: 494,412 KB
System Cache: 439,444 KB
Non-paged Kernel: 80,588 KB
Total of above: 1,014,444 KB (Leaving about 3% to spare/grow, until heavier paging is required).

After running a heavy application check the Peak Commit Charge and see how small the System Cache had to shrink to make that memory available.

Once data is not in the cache (talking reads here, as it is basically 'the most recent X KB of reads) it needs to go to disk.

eg: If you are reading a 512 MB file, end to end, over and over, and have a 512 MB cache, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th..... nth, read will be very quick.

eg: If you If you are reading a 512 MB file, end to end, over and over, and have only 384 MB cache, the oldest data in the cache will be pushed out, so when it comes back to start of the file to re-read it, (the 2nd, 3rd, etc time) it is no longer in the cache, as it reads the file again, the oldest stuff is pushed from the cache, so it hammers the disk each read and the cache provides little benefit. (In that scenario).

Windows places such importance on the disk cache, that it will page parts of less active processes to disk, just so it can dedicate more memory to the disk cache. (It goes without saying the disk cache can't be located within the pagefile, as that would hurt performance :p ).

If having performance issues, screenshot Task Manager (Performance tab) every 15 minutes from boot, see what is changing, and then find out why.
April 7, 2006 6:17:41 AM

I predict that even after the launch of Vista, it will be AT LEAST six years until the majority of users are using 64 bit cpus with 64 bit OS's, and probably another 4 years until 32 bit support is dropped completely. Ten years is a hella-long time before inevitable forced obsolescence. I think I'll be ready to part with my K6 by then. :wink:
a c 100 à CPUs
April 7, 2006 1:21:07 PM

Quote:
Looking at all the 64-bit vs 32-bit slug-fests I could only smile. I'm a programmer / engineer - I am a AMD fan ( just because they are opposition to Intel - sorry Americans ) and I have in my life used a good mix of both.

Currently I run a X2 3800+ as server at home and develop on Compaq nx9010 notebook (Hopefully my new nx6125 (Turion 64 rules) notebook arrives today - then it will be bye bye to the slow brick sized nx9010).

But back to my topic. In the end the only thing the end user see is the perceived performance of his or her PC / Notebook / what ever. This basically depends on the IO performance of the system. And with IO I mean disk IO (for databases, dev tools, office tools etc) and memory IO for the gamers - they nail the CPUs to close to 100% so to them 32 or 64 bit may be of importance.

And yes, Conroe is going to kick AMD ass it seems. So good for you Intel !

I'll be waiting for AMD to leapfrog that again as both my new AMD based tools will be good for two more years. And no I'm not going to use Vista - had the betas on my system and I rate Vista's improvement as eye candy at the expense of usability and performance.

Remember - all CPUs wait at exactly the same speed. If you cannot keep them busy, they do nothing. My Server system at home has a RAID 50 SATA disk system is perceivably VERY FAST ( With both cores doing nothing 80% of the time - so at the system can provide them with work 20% of the time ).

This notebook ( the nx9010 brick ) has a 5400 rpm Notebook HDD and is perceived as being HORRIBLY SLOW with the CPU being idle 98% of the time and the HDD being buy all the time.

So to me the underlying CPU architecture is of no concern to me Disk IO is the biggest pain the the back. As long as I do not have to look at an hour glass I'm happy - make that in any 32 or 64 bit way

And if AMD sells anything close in performance to what Intel has in 2008 - guess what I will be upgrading to.


First off, you don't have to apologize to Americans about AMD beating Intel. Both are U.S. companies- AMD is HQ'd in Sunnyvale, CA.

And secondly, you're right about the disk I/O. I don't have enough money to put together a large RAID 5 array, but my 10k Raptor as / and a 250GB 7200rpm drive as /home works pretty nicely, compared to my old laptop's single 100GB 5400rpm drive having all partitions on it. The P4-M 2.2 in that laptop is a little slow, but the disk really held it back.
a c 100 à CPUs
April 7, 2006 1:27:46 PM

And one thing that you will also notice will be the RAM will get used up over time as buffers, cache, and preloaded application memory gets left in RAM. When I started up my computer two weeks ago, I had about 600MB of RAM used as application data and about 200MB split between buffers and cache. (I run Folding@Home on both cores, so that eats up lots of RAM).

But here's my memory usage after 14 days, 9h, 46m of uptime:
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 2004 1879 125 0 162 558
-/+ buffers/cache: 1158 845
Swap: 2055 3 2051
Total: 4059 1883 2176

That is about 1.1GB of application data in RAM. I can tell what's loaded in there are OpenOffice usually takes about 2 seconds to open on a freshly-restarted computer, but after it gets opened and closed a few times and loads into RAM, I don't even see the splash screen anymore.
a c 100 à CPUs
April 7, 2006 1:29:43 PM

I used to have a computer very much like yours. It was:

Compaq desktop
K6-2 500MHz
64MB PC100 RAM
8MB Integrated video :( 
20GB Maxtor 5400rpm HDD (original 10GB Quantum died)
CD-ROM
April 7, 2006 1:49:31 PM

Quote:
Hmmmm Oblivion likes 2 GB of Ram

Not really, Oblivion performs well in 2GB system because it uses a little over 1GB NOT because it uses 2GB.
The same applies for WoW and BF2.

4x1GB really hampers the memory controller in any Intel or AMD system.


I wouldn't say hampers, but it does force you to run at 2T, but that's the case with most mobos and 4x512MB. Some boards will allow 1T, but I'm running at 2T now and my X2 is so fast that it's scary. I get instantaneous return to the desktop after closing a game. I rarely ever hear my HD except when booting or loading (it lasts a sec or two) an app. Funny thing is what does his post have to do with the speed diff between 32bit and 64 bit? I expected him to say something about the comparison, BUMMER!

I can say that ater using 64bit XP and 32bit XP, 64 is much snappier but uses a lot of extra RAM to have 32 bit compat. 64 bit drivers are much better - if you can find them.
April 7, 2006 1:57:02 PM

Quote:
Oblivion likes 2 GB of Ram

Not really. It depends on the video settings. I tried Oblivion at the lowest settings with only 512MB of RAM and it worked fine, no disk swapping.
April 7, 2006 2:04:06 PM

Quote:
What is funny, and I am not sure if it is still true, but sometime ago AMD was sooooo hurtin' for cash, they had to sell their corported HQ building and then lease it back from the buyer. :)  ....


Hey, a question I can answer unlike most of the technical ones in here! A buyback lease isn't indicative of a poor cash position but is often used for either tax purposes (kinda like leasing your car if used for business vs buying it) or to clean up a balance sheet. If you're a banker and you're going to lend someone money, what would you rather see they had on their balance sheet --- $100 million in cash or a big building? Also, you hold assets like that at cost. So if they paid $50 million and it's now worth $250 million, the company become $200 million "richer" the days they sell it.
April 7, 2006 2:45:26 PM

Quote:
Surely you jest? AMD is clearly international, sort of like the Red Cross but they do more to help.

AMD was founded and is based in the United States. AMD is not even remotely analogous to the Red Cross, which was conceived from the start as a neutral, international institution.

When assigning a nationality to a company, the location of their base of operation is the relevent criterium.

Nintendo will always be considered to be a Japanese company, Nintendo of America notwithstanding.

Nike will always be considered to be an American company, despite the fact that the majority of their products are made in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, China, etc.

Nearly ever major manufacturer has facilities in countries other than the one they are based in. The place that calls the shots, that is the nationality that gets assigned.
a c 100 à CPUs
April 7, 2006 3:57:46 PM

It sure is :D 
April 7, 2006 4:23:18 PM

Well since all the new Proc's are 64 bit and they are clocked faster than the old 32bit Proc's

I just go with the newer faster, dualcore, etc...

I dont want my friends to find out I have a 32 bit proc in my machine Oo

ewww... J/k

I can say my 4800 really outshines my old 3200+ 2.2ghz 32bit and Tom's CPU chart can verify that. Thanks Tom!
April 7, 2006 4:33:20 PM

So as far as I can tell, the whole point of the original post is as follows...

when comparing 32bit vs. 64 bit computing, there is no difference because we don't use the processors to their maximum potential anyway.

Wow, thanks for that !

Now, does anybody who actually USES their CPU have any comment on the subject ?
April 7, 2006 5:02:35 PM

Why do people assume that American's are like Intel big company pushings around little AMD. Truth is Intel is large but AMD is growing. IBM's 64bit chips are very diff. from what we see now in 1997 IBM released their RS64 full 64-bit PowerPC processors. But we all know intel and AMD decide on their own brand of 64bit "instruction". With AMD and IBM being closer together on the CPU chart. AMD has pushed 64bit but with Intel saying a few years ago that 64bit wouldn't get the user that much of a beneift companies like Dell haven't pushed it on the user.

The driving force that would help the world move to 64bit is the companies like HP, Dell, and Gateway. The out the box people. Because the "users" of those PC make up the market. All of us in TG forum are not avg. users. Dell bought Alienware to reach us.


American companies have been the driving force behind all of this tech. R&D may be over seas but the money is from America.

P.S. The internet was made by America 8)
April 7, 2006 5:38:36 PM

Quote:
Why do people assume that American's are like Intel big company pushings around little AMD. Truth is Intel is large but AMD is growing. IBM's 64bit chips are very diff. from what we see now in 1997 IBM released their RS64 full 64-bit PowerPC processors. But we all know intel and AMD decide on their own brand of 64bit "instruction". With AMD and IBM being closer together on the CPU chart. AMD has pushed 64bit but with Intel saying a few years ago that 64bit wouldn't get the user that much of a beneift companies like Dell haven't pushed it on the user.

The driving force that would help the world move to 64bit is the companies like HP, Dell, and Gateway. The out the box people. Because the "users" of those PC make up the market. All of us in TG forum are not avg. users. Dell bought Alienware to reach us.


American companies have been the driving force behind all of this tech. R&D may be over seas but the money is from America.

P.S. The internet was made by America 8)


Wonder then why AMD has sued Intel for unfair trade practices. Lets face it - AMD would have much more share if Intel has not all but locked out of the corporate environment. I work for a large european company and even they do not support their own country's manufacturing plant.

Got a Centrino based notebook for a 'company' notebook. Tired of waiting for everything to happen, I bought my own Turion based HP nx6125. Man it rocks the socks of the Intel rubbish.

:D  :D  :D 

And yes AMD has offices and research facilities in CA. SA Breweries owns Miller (is that spelled correctly?) and is listed primary out of New York. The fact is that it is a South African Company - thus having an office in the good old US of A does not make you American

:D  :D  :D 
April 7, 2006 5:41:04 PM

Personally other than enthusiasts and gamers I don't see the need for more processing power than we have now. Email and word documents don't need quad cores with 4 GB of RAM. The only reason technology is progressing as fast as it is is because otherwise companies like Intel and AMD would go out of business and have done a great job at convincing the lemmings out there that they need dual core 3GHz processors, 2GBs of RAM, and 250GB hard drives to check their email and write documents.

90% of people at most use their system to at most 10% of its ability.

Other only people fully using these systems are games, developers, and other enthusiasts but for the most part people don't do anything with their computers.
April 7, 2006 5:48:46 PM

First off yes Intel has made some of it's vendors buy a crap CPU and force AMD out of many markets.

Secondly

Jerry Sanders, an alumnus of the University of Illinois founded AMD.

He's not from Africa at all.

AMD founded in 1969 by Jerry Sanders and friend

Thirdly
I agree that American money pushs people around but not American's. People move for money Intel has it and uses it. People in power push others around just a fact of life. For you to single out a whole country as push is in error. American's have given the world many a great things. Just because a few rich people use the money for evil is not your chance to say look all American are like Bill Gates, or Intel.
April 7, 2006 6:13:00 PM

Quote:
Looking at all the 64-bit vs 32-bit slug-fests I could only smile. I'm a programmer / engineer - I am a AMD fan ( just because they are opposition to Intel - sorry Americans ) and I have in my life used a good mix of both.


My experiences are quite similar: I'm a programmer and an AMD fan. I'm not sure I'm "only smiling" though, but maybe "rabidly grinning" as the competition only provides better products, as long as Intel doesn't play dirty... which AMD claims it has.

Quote:
In the end the only thing the end user see is the perceived performance of his or her PC / Notebook / what ever. This basically depends on the IO performance of the system. And with IO I mean disk IO (for databases, dev tools, office tools etc) and memory IO for the gamers - they nail the CPUs to close to 100% so to them 32 or 64 bit may be of importance.


In general I would agree with you, at least as far as modern processors go. I have always been a big fan of fast disk access; I've had SCSI subsystems in my three previous personal computers (P90, PII-400, AMD 2000+), and recently bit the bullet for an Areca RAID controller in my new FX-60. Yea, I'm a nerd. But boy does my stuff load fast!

However, as others have mentioned, and I'll agree that up to a certain point, more memory is better. After that point, it doesn't help anymore but currently 2GB seems the "sweet spot" for system smoothness and modern games.

I'll also argue that, if you're a gamer, a good video card is more important than a new CPU. But I'll take 64-bit for several reasons:

Numerical computing. I have interest in some recreational math problems that can be solved much faster with a longer and wider register list. Much less memory access involved. I'm going to have to brush up on the IA-64 instruction set, though and start programming on that linux partition I installed.

Less hackish (think NUMA or any memory paging scheme) memory extension. Better for servers, databases, and any other big-data environments where 2GB is just not enough. Most desktop users won't see it, but it makes the back end quicker at work and on the web. And in 5 years when our desktops are able to actually have more than 4GB of physical memory, it will come in handy there, too. Of course memory-is-free coding will eat up that space with a more modern but just-as-useless equivalent of Clippy, I'm sure.

It pleases my sense of elegance. Although the x86 instruction set seems mostly a hack fitted with a kludge smoothed over with putty filler in all the cracks and draped with a nice tablecloth, x86-64 extends it well and practically, so that it's there when you want it. You could probably say the same about SSE3 and such, but those smacked of monopolistic greed more than anything else. x86-64 was promoted in the open, for anyone-- even Intel, who copied it more verbatim than necessary-- to use.

So am I an AMD fan? Yes. Do I think they always do better? No. If Conroe is better, I'll consider buying it. I look at AMD kind of the same way I look at Google, as a company with good ideas trying to promote a superior product. If Google gets as greedy and self-focused as Microsoft, I'll drop them like a hot rock; I'll do the same for AMD, too.

But I get the distinct impression that AMD knows which side their bread is buttered on, and I hope it stays that way.

--dv
April 7, 2006 8:11:30 PM

Quote:
So as far as I can tell, the whole point of the original post is as follows...

when comparing 32bit vs. 64 bit computing, there is no difference because we don't use the processors to their maximum potential anyway.

Wow, thanks for that !

Now, does anybody who actually USES their CPU have any comment on the subject ?


I'll be happy to chime in. Went from a 3000+ Barton dual channel rig to a Socket 939 with A64 3200+. Kept the same video card, an ATI All In Wonder 9800 pro, SATA drives, Win XP Pro, etc. I wanted more performance for video editing and got what I asked for. Games ran smoother, Win XP was snappier, etc. it just worked!

Then came improvements to various apps and drivers to take advantage of the 64 bit platform.... More speed!

Of course, being on a single threaded CPU pretty much left me twiddling my thumbs while waiting for a lengthy video to compress.

Enter DUAL CORE! (I love my 939!) I installed a used X2 4200+ 2 days ago and am still exploring the possibilities. My usual video creation apps had already added multi-threaded support. General overall Windows response is improved yet again and Diskeeper 10 blew me away! I didn't know it was multi-threaded! Simultaneously defragged 3 large drives in under 40 minutes and I was still browsing the Web with very little hit in responsiveness.

Ignore the naysayers... nasayers? Whatever.. having too much fun to care.. off to test my various games.
April 7, 2006 9:49:26 PM

I see someone doesn't know what sarcasm is.
April 8, 2006 12:51:51 AM

Quote:
Looking at all the 64-bit vs 32-bit slug-fests I could only smile. I'm a programmer / engineer - I am a AMD fan ( just because they are opposition to Intel - sorry Americans ) and I have in my life used a good mix of both.


Just curious, you do realize that AMD is also an American company? :) 

No, AMD is a Malaysian company. It says "Assembled in Malaysia" on the chips. 8)
April 8, 2006 1:16:45 AM

Quote:
And yes AMD has offices and research facilities in CA. SA Breweries owns Miller (is that spelled correctly?) and is listed primary out of New York. The fact is that it is a South African Company - thus having an office in the good old US of A does not make you American


While you are at it, check who the major stockholders of SAB are - not that it matters for this thread but...

Why did you turn a technical discussion to a nationalistic issue for god's sake? Are you German?
April 8, 2006 6:09:05 AM

Are you writing a poem or something?
April 8, 2006 8:30:02 AM

You're factoring in the OS's read-ahead / prefetching and write-back / write-combining caching right ?

One thing I find odd, not that you're doing it, is people who disable write-back caching on the RAID controllers 'for data security' then leave it enabled in the OS disk cache scheme.

Have you experimented with different sized MFTs (by increasing or decreasing the cluster size, the MFT will shrink or grow. With larger clusters the MFT gets smaller, I find 8 KB on NTFS works quite well as the MFT is only half the size and can be 'searched' faster. If using the older, and dodgier, CONVERT tool from WinNT the MFT would only be 1/16th the size if using 8 KB clusters).

CHKDSK and/or DEFRAG from the command prompt can report the size of the MFT.

I know it might sound crazy to some people, but it can improve performance significantly under certain scenarios.
!