When people ask me if After Effects is 64-bit, I am always tempted to ask a follow-up question. I try to understand what benefit they are looking to gain. The answer is usually that they want to be able to render faster, and have longer RAM previews.
If you are running on multi-core system with a 32-bit Windows OS, you’re likely to experience better multi-core rendering and longer RAM previews if you move to a 64-bit edition of Windows. Simple as that. If you’re running a lot of ram-hungry applications, the benefit is even greater.
Here’s why: A 32-bit edition of Windows is limited to a total of about 4GB. Each process on a 32-bit Windows system is limited to about 2GB. By the time you reserve some for the OS and divide the remainder among all your applications and distribute some to each core for rendering in After Effects, it’s sliced into relatively small chunks. After Effects isn’t the limiting factor, it’s your operating system.
Enter 64-bit Windows. A 64-bit OS raises the roof on RAM limits, both for individual processes and the total. After Effects and Premiere Pro are both designed to take advantage of much more RAM than is available on a 32-bit system.
So the remaining question is: Do After Effects and Premiere take advantage of *ALL* the RAM on a 64-bit OS? The answer is no. They would have to be 64-bit native apps to do that. You get some great benefits, and the ball is back in our court. I can’t be specific about future releases, but it’s safe to assume that 64-bit native applications are a matter of when, not if.
But don’t let this stop you from enjoying the benefits of 64-bit. Get a 64-bit OS. Fill up on cheap RAM. Work faster today. I don’t want you to miss out on improved performance with CS4 apps on a 64-bit OS.