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Is 64-bit Vista really faster than 32-bit in practice?

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December 31, 2008 12:38:03 AM

the x64 version is only faster in applications that can take advantage of the increased amount of RAM that the OS can support. Or if you have allot of background tasks, then having the OS with more RAM will.
In some extreme cases when the processor is really pushed, the 64 bit OS will help the 64 bit architecture of the proc
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December 31, 2008 1:41:53 AM

well, the first and last links are talking about the same small test done by Adrian Kingsly Hughes at Zdnet (hardware 2.0) - his results showing Vista is faster than XP are probably not the last word on the subject but they are still impressive and if nothing else they should help to dispel the oft repeated canard that Vista is somehow noticeably slower than XP.

As for 32 bit Vista being slower than 64 bit Vista or vice versa (there is some overhead in the longer word length of 64 which some will claim takes a performance hit) I think it is very hard to say and I'd wager there is actually not that much difference, all things equal, but things may not be equal for other reasons..

One thing to consider is that you have a different set of drivers for 64 than you do for 32 so this could account for some difference in performance too.

If you look at all the bench marks and published articles on the subject you will find many differing opinions and results so it may be that nobody actually knows what, if any, difference there is at this time.

As Arges pointed out above if you actually have applications coded to use 64 and thus will allow the system to operate on larger chunks of data at a given time then yes, there is a performance gain at least in some applications. The new Photoshop is one such application and I do believe it is significantly faster under 64.

The problem right now is that precious few apps are coded for 64 and thus they run under a 64 bit system in 32 bit mode.

The only major advantage at this time (assuming you are not a photoshop junkie or else a user of some other specialized 64 bit app) is that 64 will allow you to use a lot of RAM. Depending on your application and on how much stuff you are running simultaneously this can speed things up considerably and may even affect stability as there could be less crowding in your memory space.

All in all users of Vista 64 have been reporting they are very satisfied with it. I use it with 8 gig of RAM and I love it - best experience ever on an OS of any kind , and I've tried a lot over the years. I am amazed that I can have two virtual machines open, running XP and Linux, a web browser or two with a ton of tabs open, any number of other apps and bkg apps running and still I could fire up Crysis and play it with little or no performance hit and nary a crash.

Another thing to consider is that Vista also uses a very intelligent and aggressive pre-caching system called 'superfetch' and when you throw 8 gig at superfetch it will fill up as much as half of it, 4 gig worth (maybe even more on some occasions) with frequently used code and in my experience this makes Vista 64 very snappy indeed - most of my usual stuff pops up instantly.
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December 31, 2008 10:49:22 AM

notherdude said:
I am amazed that I can have two virtual machines open, running XP and Linux, a web browser or two with a ton of tabs open, any number of other apps and bkg apps running and still I could fire up Crysis and play it with little or no performance hit and nary a crash.


That luxury is more about multi-core CPUs than the amount of memory or operating system you're running, wouldn't you say?
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December 31, 2008 12:49:29 PM

4Ryan6 said:
That luxury is more about multi-core CPUs than the amount of memory or operating system you're running, wouldn't you say?



Well, now that you mention it I'm sure the extra core (I've only got a dual) is a big part of that but I'm pretty sure the RAM is too. As for the OS, aside from the fact that it is 64 bit and using all that RAM, it is hard to say if Vista is any better written for multi-core or memory management than XP, it might actually be, as some have claimed, certainly superfetch must figure in too, bit I cannot say for sure one way or the other.
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December 31, 2008 2:18:57 PM

notherdude said:
As for 32 bit Vista being slower than 64 bit Vista or vice versa (there is some overhead in the longer word length of 64 which some will claim takes a performance hit) I think it is very hard to say and I'd wager there is actually not that much difference, all things equal, but things may not be equal for other reasons..

Are you saying that this applies to 32-bit emulation? Because 64-bit would theoretically make it faster if you operate on more “bits per cycle”. Also, can emulation operate of "two 32-bit instructions" simultaneously in some cases...making it faster? Or is this impossible and would confuse the computer?
notherdude said:

One thing to consider is that you have a different set of drivers for 64 than you do for 32 so this could account for some difference in performance too.

…like…transferring double the amount of graphics data to your video card, etc?

notherdude said:

As Arges pointed out above if you actually have applications coded to use 64 and thus will allow the system to operate on larger chunks of data at a given time then yes, there is a performance gain at least in some applications. The new Photoshop is one such application and I do believe it is significantly faster under 64.

What are the advantages of 64-bit computing?
In early testing of 64-bit support in Photoshop for Windows®, overall performance gains ranged from 8% to 12%. Those who work with extremely large files may realize noticeably greater gains in performance, in some cases as dramatic as ten times the previous speed. This is because 64-bit applications can address larger amounts of memory and thus result in less file swapping — one of the biggest factors that can affect data processing speed.
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/photoshop/faq/?...

notherdude said:

The problem right now is that precious few apps are coded for 64 and thus they run under a 64 bit system in 32 bit mode.

So that means it should be actually a bit slower from emulation? Assuming you don’t count too much “driver intensive apps” like video processing? What about HD intensive apps? Wouldn’t data get moved in and out of HD and memory in 64-bits? Or is that only then you “copy files”.
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December 31, 2008 2:48:22 PM

There is no "Emulation" between 32 and 64 bit Windows. It would be, and is, completely unnecessary. In one sentence: x64 includes all the instructions in the x86 spec and it is *all* written to Windows API's.



(In advance - I am grossly over simplifying things for the sake of explaining the concepts. And ask that those more technical than I withhold the flames and instead add their kind wisdom)


Not technically accurate, but I find it easiest to think of it like a sandwich - The CPU on one side, and the operating system on the other.


On the processor side:

The CPU reads the actual binary code, which is presented in the form of instructions. These instructions are the "x86" and "x64" that you read/hear about. Understand that the X64 instruction set includes everything in the x86 - So any x64 processor can and will fully handle anything that's x86.

Therefore, as long as the game was compiled to the x86 (32bit) standard, the CPU can fully understand and run it because they are 'speaking' the same language.


On the side of the OS: There is a similar mechanic, though here it's called an "API" (Application Programming Interface). In very broad terms, it works like the instructions sent to a CPU: These are the commands and formats programmers use to talk to the Operating System, which they use to access system resources like memory and information on the hard drive. You can think of it like the teller window at the bank: It's your way to pass an instruction inside in order to get the result you want. When you go to the teller (API), you have to give her a message (instruction) that she understands, right? The OS wants to see some Function (Withdrawl), the location required (Account #), and some data set (how much). If you give the teller (OS) that, then you'll get your twenty bucks.

As long as the program (game, whatever) follows the proper API's then it will run on the Operating System.

So: Just so long as a given (32 bit) game is written to the proper Windows (Vista) API's, and compiled to run on an x86 processor, then it *will* run on 64 bit (Vista).


Generally speaking, when you hear about incompatibilities it's because the programmers who wrote a given application either did not adhere to the proper API spec when they wrote their code, or because they took short cuts (which may no longer work), or because the (new) Operating System's API set is different from the old one.



IN PRACTICE - There is little difference to the user between 32 and 64 bit Windows. Certain aspects may be a few percent weighted one way or the other, but from an end user perspective they look/feel/play pretty much the same. WOW64 doesn't 'emulate' - it plays a few games with pointers and registry entries in order to smooth the coexistence. That is all.


{Edit} If you want/need deeper technical knowledge of the inner workings, then I highly suggest that Tom's Hardware, like most internet message boards, is not the proper place to find accurate information. Rather, you should use TechNet and MSDN to confirm Windows related detailia, and buy/obtain the actual instructional and educational manuals for both general and windows specific theory. - You don't need to pay a subscription fee to use the boards there.

{EDIT part Deux} http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa384219(VS.85).aspx

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On the x64 processor, instructions are executed natively by the micro-architecture. Therefore, execution speed under WOW64 on x64 is similar to its speed under 32-bit Windows.
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January 4, 2009 1:29:17 PM

I was recently using both a 64-bit Vista as well as a 32-bit Vista.

It DID seem that the 64-bit was more responsive and can multitask a little better, but the hardware difference doesn't seem like it should make that much difference for what I was doing with them. In addition, I ran more things simultaneously on the 64-bit machine and it still seemed to work faster, especially in things that involved disk activity.

Well, the 64-bit had 4GB vs 3GB (on the 32-bit).
And the 64-bit had a 512MB Video card.
The 64-bit is also Ultimate vs. Home Premium (on the 32-bit) but that should actually make the machine a little slower I would guess (if by a small margin).

But one thing to note is that I have been using the 64-bit machine for a long time and only recently used the 32-bit machine so maybe SuperFetch has trained the 64-bit machine to me? But it actually seems like I'm using a "last year's model" computer comparatively. I can understand if I "maxed out user RAM from multitasking" or something, but I didn't. hmmm....
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March 3, 2010 9:55:09 AM

It's all to do with how the applications (including the O/S) use the 64 bit capabilities of the CPU.

Fundementally, the newer operating systems are being written to take advantage of the 64 bit registers of the CPU (thus, the reason for a 32 bit version and 64 bit version of the O/S). Yes, the memory address space is larger with a 64 register to address memory.

For most applications however, there won't be a difference in perceived performance just by switching to a 64 bit O/S. That's because for most applications, 64 bit wide data is not needed (in quite a number of instances, data that is 16 bits or 32 bits wide is enough --- example when counting/looping).

For the applications that are 'number crunchers'... there will be a difference. Those will be mostly mathematical, statistical or analysis type of applications (usually used by businesses, academics, digital media producers).

Also, the GPU (Graphal Processing Unit - or graphics chip) will make a difference in the newer O/S'es. If your PC has a high-end GPU, the O/S will use that for processing graphical rendering rather than the CPU. Thus if you have 64 bit O/S with a good GPU there will be hardly a difference between that and the same PC with the 32 bit O/S.

Hope this answer helps!

- Nalin Jayasuriya

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March 3, 2010 1:38:43 PM

Quote:
Hope this answer helps!

- Nalin Jayasuriya


Read the date of the post. You ressurrected a thread more than a year old.
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August 18, 2011 8:11:39 PM

what kind of diffrence is seen between the two when utilizing lower amounts of ram say 2g instead 8 or even 4g.
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August 18, 2011 8:15:22 PM

Both Vista 32 and 64 utalize supefetch regarding Ram usage. Superfetch does many things XP's Prefectch did not do including address ALL system RAM all the time. The more the merrier so to speak. Google superfetch. Best to start a new thread than ressurect an old thread like this one which opened up on 12-28-2008. Makes for less clutter of these old threads at the top of the Forum board.
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August 18, 2011 8:51:25 PM

This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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