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It’s official: 64bit is the future for Premiere Pro and After Effects

64…bits…ONLY…  Are you psyched or nervous?

I don’t think many people are shocked by this and hopefully many people are excited about this as we slowly get closer to CS ‘Next’.  And to answer your next thought, no, it’s not anytime soon!

I’ve added a couple of graphics and reviewed the text. Originally published 10/20/2009

64-bit is logical on many levels.  The benefits are numerous and can be summed up by one word: performance. 

There is the question as to why is Adobe announcing this now, so far in advance of anything?  The answer is you my friends.  We want to make sure that you’re aware of where we’re going and that if you have any thoughts about upgrading in the future, that you have the necessary time to get ready for it.  In addition, if you’re using CS4 and not using 64-bit now, you should run not walk to the store to upgrade your OS and memory.  The benefits of ’64-bit aware’ CS4 are awesome right now. I have talked about it previously here and here.

CS ‘Next’ and true 64-bit is the next logical step and will provide users with optimized code, greater stability and more performance.  Video editing or motion content creation has always demanded the most from any computer and we believe that this won’t change any time soon.  Therefore the move to 64-bit is a necessary step towards the future to ensure that Adobe can continue to bring exciting tools and features to our customers.

Why no 32-bit version? There’s a good answer for that one as well.  The bottom line is that it’s a different program than a 64-bit version.  Two versions = two types of code.  Twice the engineering, twice the checking, twice everything.  You say, "Yeah, so what?"  Well, Adobe may be a large software company, but they do not have infinite resources. We’re constantly doing a balancing act – trying to get as many cool things we can with a certain number of resources.  I think we’ve done a pretty good job in the past.  Our assessment was that it was better to make one awesome 64-bit version of Premiere Pro and After Effects than to make two versions that were so-so.

What about all of the other products in the CS ‘next’ suite (whatever they may be)? Will they be 64-bit as well?  The answer on this one is mostly no.  As you know Photoshop CS4 on the Windows side is already 64-bit native, so that won’t be a problem.  The rest of the suite will remain 32-bit for the time being, but a move to 64-bit is probably eventual. Getting performance out of the two main video centric apps (Premiere Pro and After Effects) was essential and so it was done.

This decision has been a long time coming. It goes back about a year!  This should give you an idea of a) how far we’re thinking in the future and b) how much we’re thinking about the customer!

One final tidbit on the whole 64-bit only decision.  Originally, I passionately objected that dropping 32-bit versions would hobble a large bulk of our users.  I admitted that this was a necessary step and that it was a limited problem since the world would eventually move to 64-bit anyway, but it wasn’t the right time I argued.  Over the ensuing months, in talking to customers and in promoting the fact that CS4 loved 64-bits anyway I saw that most of our customers have already moved to 64-bit operating systems.

Today I find myself excited about the break from 32-bit and know that our customers have either moved or will move to 64-bit.  Snow Leopard is solidly if not entirely 64-bit and Windows 7 looks to be a real winner with the Windows crowd, so it’s a great time to start preparing.

Where you can get more information

A post on ProVideo Coalition

On the Production Premium Product page (You’ll have to look – there’s a lot of information there!)

And the FAQ

There are lots of FAQs on each of the product pages as well, but the above will hopefully get you started.


Not great – we NEED the next version but CANNOT move to 64 bit as our main production software does NOT run on 64bit or in the 32bit shell so thanks for alienating us adobe – a 20 year volume license customer, gone…….

[DR – Production Premium CS5 includes 32-bit CS4 versions in addition to the 64-bit only versions of CS5. This would allow you to function until you’re able to move to a 64-bit capable system. As this blog post date indicates, Adobe communicated that these products would be 64-bit only to its customers far in advance. With your existing application having a 32-bit requirement, I would recommend that you put it on an older system and try CS5 on a 64-bit capable system. Hopefully, this is a possibility.]


I wish Adobe CS4 was all 64 bit when it came out, as I have moved to 64 bit long time ago. But it is a fear of the unknow issues for some, and I will shed some light on it. It is OK, you can really upgrade 🙂

I just makes sense running large applications with ulta high res formats of today to go to 64 bit.

This is not MS Word/Excel editing we are talking about. Most of the adobe tools handles graphics, and some has to handle large graphics, which kills some 32 bit machines.

I can think of the days when I was about to buy a Pentium PC, and one of my friends warned me about not getting driver support, and that some software won’t run on the Pentium. He said it is safer to stick with 486. So I took a piece of software called 3D Home Architect, and ran it on both machines. While I appriciated seeing each wall build/rendered slowly (1 minute) after turning the model, I was even more impressed when the render was done instantly (5 seconds) when turning the model on the Pentium PC.

That’s it, I am sold. I have a need for that kind of SPEED. By the way, it was cheaper in the end to buy a Pentium, as the 486 pc parts was really becoming too expensive, and the same goes for today. It is cheaper to buy 64bit enabled hardware, than buyng 32bit hardware today. And bny the way, if you have a Dual Core processor, alyou have to do, is install Windows 64 Bit on it, that is all. Most of us are already running on 64 bit enabled hardware, so no need for upgarde, beside adding more ram! You are 80% there already.

The issue around drivers might be your next problem, you might say. What issues?
My machine installed 64Bit Win 7 Ulitmiate (this os flies!!) without any driver issues. 64 Bit drivers were around since 64 bit XP!

Video editing in 32bit mode sucks, but flies in 64 bit with only 8GB cheap ram.

All 32 bit apps still runs fine on my Win 7 64bit box, by the way, almost as if I still have a 32bit os installed. The only difference that you will se between 32 bit and 64 bit, is that 64 bit can show more ram, but runs like a bullit.

I am sold on 64 bit. Can I get 128 now please? Imagine 1TB of cheap ram!

As a developer, I would hate to compile for 32 bit as well as 64 bit. It is exrtremely anoying. It is like taking the bullet fast Windows app, and try to perform similar image editing in DOS. Noooooo!

Shaun O’Reilly

[DR – thanks for the comments Shaun. Great insight.]

Hey Dennis, as far as Windows goes, 64-bit-only is the way to go, there’s no reason to try and squish Premiere CS-NEW into 32 bits anymore. For Windows users, if I may be so bold, STOP DRAGGING YOUR FEET ON 64 BIT, IT’S 2009, TIME TO GET ON WITH IMPROVEMENT! I admit, now that Windows 7 is out that does may the 64-bit transition so much easier… I’ve been a Mac fan since my first MacPortable in 1990, but let’s face it, when budget is a factor the hardware cost is way cheaper for a well-built Windows rig. The problem was the fussy OS. 7 changes all that, it’s fluid and a joy to work in (like my iPhone!). So Windows folks have no excuse, 64-bit should be our only mindset, and Adobe’s choice lines right up. I mean, c’mon, does anyone even have a floppy drive anymore? I hope not! 😉

[DR – Hey Paulie, well what can I say but “I agree!” I think there are still a lot of people who are hesitant for either cost reasons or on the PC side because they heard how bad Vista was. For them, having people like you say that it really does work and 64 bit made a difference for me, is important. It validates what I’m saying by coming from someone outside Adobe. Again, our purpose is to educate people about our direction now so it’s not a surprise and they’ll be able to realize the benefits immediately.]

Hi Rosyna,

You may have a different engineering team / process than us, since it seems that you have no overhead for 32bit builds (which are separate builds).

While it’s not exactly 2x the work to do 32 bit and 64 bit versions, it is significantly more work. There are 32bit only bugs that are found. It is two sets of binaries to build and test, and if we only ran automated testing you would *hate* the quality of our products.

There is a saving because some bugs are common across 32 bit and 64 bit and some across OS as well.

On Mac there is a saving of not having to test as many OS flavors, whereas with Windows you have to test 32 bit code on the 64 bit OS because it could be installed and run.

So, for us, yes, even on Mac, the sprint we dropped building 32bit versions we got a lot more features built and tested.

And so, for us, the question boils down to trading off more features in 64 bit only products, or fewer features while keeping 32 bit and 64 bit support for another cycle.

We chose to move with the times and go where the world of HD is taking our customers and offer them stronger products by focusing there.

Finally with Macs, there is the whole Carbon 64 and Cocoa issue and the fact that we are not a Mac only company. No doubt this contributes to the decision as well.

I’m not sure I understand this. The HIToolbox 64-bit issue has to be solved for the apps to be 64-bit on Macs. And when you solve it, the app can still run in 32-bit (meaning no API restricts it to 64-bit)

And it’s not really two unique platforms for Mac OS X, at least (it is on Windows).

Automated testing would work on both 32-bit instances and 64-bit instances of an application (the arch command can cause an app to run at either 32-bits or 64-bits, on the fly).

Finally, I think it’s a horrendous mistake to release any application that’s 64-bit on Mac OS X 10.5. No one used it and those apps that tried to use it failed spectacularly (the best kind of failure). Since no one used it, many bugs were left unfound and unfixed.

[DR – thanks for the feedback.]

The statement:

Why no 32-bit version? There’s a good answer for that one as well. The bottom line is that it’s a different program than a 64-bit version. Two versions = two types of code. Twice the engineering, twice the checking, twice everything.

Doesn’t quite track with regards to Macs. 32-bit/64-bit is one version, one type of code, and none of this “twice” stuff.

And, of course, compiling for multiple architectures often means fewer bugs as the compiler(s) may warn about assumptions. (Or you see an assumption causes a bug nearly immediately)

[DR – While you’re right that I over generalized about things like ‘twice the engineering’, the effort required to compile and test two separate versions on two unique platforms with new features and two separate multi-million code line applications is more than the effective returns we might see from this in a short term scenario. Furthermore, benefits from a native 64-bit architecture would frustrate users using 32-bit who would likely upgrade to 64-bit sooner because of feedback anyway.

The benefits of 64-bit only in the end far outweighed the idea of doing separate versions of 32 and 64 bit.

Finally with Macs, there is the whole Carbon 64 and Cocoa issue and the fact that we are not a Mac only company. No doubt this contributes to the decision as well.

Thanks for your comments.]

Michael Coleman has more information about After Effects on his blog:

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