Thinking Vista? Think 64-bit.

I was at an electronics store the other day and I was surprised to see how many of the new systems are sold with 64-bit editions of Windows Vista. I also noticed that a gigabyte of computer memory is now touching the $25 price range.

I think this is a great news.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your Adobe CS4 applications is to run them on a 64-bit operating system. Mac users have it easy because the Mac OS Leopard is only available in a 64-bit flavor. Windows users face a choice between 32- and 64-bit. I suggest walking right past 32-bit Windows and picking up a 64-bit edition of Windows Vista.

The advantage to running CS4 applications on 64-bit OS is that you can install and use large amounts of RAM. Here’s how it works with After Effects: When you are rendering in the Render Queue or building a RAM preview, After Effects can use multiple processor cores to render several frames at the same time. Behind the scenes, After Effects starts a process on each available core. Each process can address up to 4GB of RAM. The After Effects Help on the Web has all the details about memory and multi-core rendering.

How much RAM should you have when running AE? A good rule of thumb is 4 GB per core, plus whatever you want to use for your operating system and other applications.

Speaking of other applications, say you’re running Premiere Pro CS4 along with After Effects CS4. Premiere Pro can also take advantage of extra RAM. Throw in a couple more gigs for Photoshop, Illustrator and web browser, and it’s looking like the sweet spot is now 16-32 Gigs on a 64-bit OS.

Windows users should make sure that your hardware drivers are available for the 64-bit edition of Vista. It’s been a while since Vista shipped, so this is becoming less of an issue every day. Also, it’s good practice to update to the latest versions of your software. For Vista, get Service Pack 1. For Adobe software, be sure you are using Premiere Pro 4.0.1 and After Effects 9.0.1.

For those of you who aren’t interested in moving to 64-bit, send me a comment and let me know what’s holding you back!

25 Responses to Thinking Vista? Think 64-bit.

  1. John Kim says:

    That would be sweet to have a 64 bit system. Definitely would make my computer run much smoother.

  2. S Y says:

    Is After Effects actually a 64-bit application or is it only beneficial for multi-processing?[Not today. Keep in mind that running on a 64-bit OS is beneficial for the other reasons described in the article. If you’re already on a 64-bit OS and have a lot of RAM, you’re probably already enjoying those benefits. –M]

  3. I’m confused. Is After Effects CS4 64 bit under Leopard? I was under the impression that it wasn’t ?[ No. This article is meant to communicate some of the benefits to running our 32-bit CS4 apps on 64-bit OS. If you’re on the Mac, you are already good to go, but Windows users can see a big difference between 32- and 64-bit and CS4. –M]

  4. LGFN says:

    You didn’t mention anything about Windows XP. What’s about this OS? Is it worth upgrading to Vista for the 64 bit Version or should I wait For Windows 7? Or maybe I can update My XP system to 64 bit?[ I only mention Vista because After Effects CS4 is not officially certified for 64-bit Windows XP. It may run fine, but it’s not supported. I have no idea when Windows 7 will be released, so if you want the benefits today, you’ll need a 64-bit edition of Vista.]

  5. Chris says:

    I bought a 64 bit system with Vista. But it sits in a corner and I’m still on my old 32 bit machine. If I can’t get a 64 bit flash player then the machine doesn’t work. Can you give me any work around?v/rChris[ I am using the Flash Player in the 32-bit Internet Explorer on my Vista 64 machine with no issues. Since both versions of IE were installed, this was easy to do and it works great for me. Adobe is currently working on a version of the Flash Player for 64-bit browsers, so this will only be a temporary part of the transition to our brave new 64-bit world. –M ]

  6. jb says:

    You say in your post:Mac users have it easy because the Mac OS Leopard is only available in a 64-bit flavorand then say:The advantage to running CS4 applications on 64-bit OS is that you can install and use large amounts of RAMso why is AE only seeing 3 gigs on my mac?Thanksjb[ This is what I get on my MacBook Pro, but because it’s limited to only 4GB of RAM. It’s not a great machine to take full advantage of After Effects. It’s good, but not great.I’m not sure how you’re checking RAM usage, but the About After Effects screen doesn’t show the whole picture. The new memory preference panel in After Effects CS4 is a much better place to understand what your system is cabable of. Make sure that you have multi-core rendering enabled. This will make use of more RAM while you are rendering a RAM preview or the Render Queue. This is when After Effects CS4 will use the extra RAM. If you’re using Activity Monitor to keep tabs on things, note that After Effects RAM usage may be divided among several process, some with different names. On the Mac there is some additional memory overhead, so we’re not quite getting the full 4GB per core. The max I would expect would be about 3.5 GB, but it varies depending on your specific situation. Hope this helps. –M ]

  7. Pam says:

    Ok HELP.. I need a 32 bit browser installed on my Vista 64 computer and I am not computer savy. Please explain.

  8. Nate says:

    I plan to use this to upgrade the performance of Premiere Pro and After Effects CS4 on my home PC…Do you think I would see much performance improvement on a 64-bit OS when running Premiere ELEMENTS? (at work)

  9. Byron Nash says:

    Nice article. There is a similar one on an XSI blog touting Vista 64. I’m running XP 64 and haven’t quite made the jump over to Vista yet. Are there any benefits from an AE standpoint of running Vista 64 over XP 64?[ No advantages, except that XP 64 is not officially supported by AE CS4. Of course, this hasn’t stopped many of our customers from having a good experience running AE on XP 64. 🙂 –M ]

  10. I will be upgrading to Vista 64 bit this Memorial Weekend. I am in college and will be creating projects in flash. Will creating in flash using 64 bit system have any problems, or should I hold off to install it after that class?[MC: should be no problem. In general, 32-bit apps run well on 64-bit systems]

  11. Chad says:

    Is there special 64 bit version or do i just install the regular version?

  12. Howard says:

    I’ve read the comments on CS4 and Vista 64 bit OS. Does that include the academic version of CS4 Master Collection? Thanks for your time.h

  13. Marco says:

    How about AE CS3- is that version also able to address more than 4GB total ? So far I don’t see much of a need to upgrade to CS4 except for running into low memory situations on Vista 32.

  14. Michael Coleman says:

    Under the hood, After Effects CS4 uses the same scheme as CS3, but there is a new memory management preference panel in CS4 that give you more control over After Effects memory and multi-core utilization. Its tells you much more about what’s going on, and exposes several extra settings that let you specify how AE uses your system resources.

  15. Michael Coleman says:

    Yes, it does.

  16. Michael Coleman says:

    Just install the regular version. Just to be clear, the message here is not that AE is 64-bit native (a technical distinction), but rather that we have made optimizations to make use of extra ram available on 64-bit operating systems.

  17. Hales says:

    is cs2 compatible on vista

  18. Trevor says:

    I’m running Vista 64. Up until Friday I was able to watch videos on both the 32 bit version of Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.5. As of Saturday I can’t watch anything that uses Adobe Flash player 10 (which seems to be the majority these days… ie Youtube, Hulu etc.). I am very frustrated here. What do I have to do to get videos to play now? When is the 64 bit version of Flash player coming out? I’m starting to wish I hadn’t bought this fancy 64 bit machine. Any answers or solutions to my dilemma???

  19. wentzr says:

    “I’m not sure how you’re checking RAM usage, but the About After Effects screen doesn’t show the whole picture. The new memory preference panel in After Effects CS4 is a much better place to understand what your system is cabable of. Make sure that you have multi-core rendering enabled. This will make use of more RAM while you are rendering a RAM preview or the Render Queue. This is when After Effects CS4 will use the extra RAM.”This is a slightly misleading blog about 64 bit Operating Systems and After Effects. Although you’re not completely wrong here, I think you’re more mystified about how after effects uses memory than you’re informing ppl here.Enabling multi-core rendering enables multi-core rendering. After Effects is still very much ONLY a 32 bit app, all of the plugins are still 32bit, which is the primary reason why AE hasn’t been re-written to be a 64 bit app.That is why after effects reports on start up that it is using 3gigs of ram. It can’t use more as it’s only 32 bit… even if you have your machine filled w/ 16 gigs. This is where Adobe got crafty. with a dual-core processor, you CAN distribute your RAM inside after effects among your processor cores, with a maximum of 2.09 GB per core. This provides a huge advantage for sure, but the bottom line is that even if you purchase a 64 bit operating system, after effects is STILL only a 32 bit application. You will get greater advantages with memory management, but it’s a bit like hyperthreading is to dual processors…. the REAL benefit, will come when Adobe FINALLY has the gonads to re-write the code for after effects (forcing all 3rd party developers to re-write their plugins) taking TRUE advantage of 64 bit processors and the 64 bit operating systems people have upgraded to with not much to show for it.USERS SHOULD BE BANGING DOWN ADOBE’s DOOR for a true 64 bit AE … but these details aren’t really well understood by most.. so….. for now the only option for a 64bit compositing application is Autodesk Smoke on Red Hat.

  20. wentzr says:

    oh… lookie this.. *you’re* the product manager. :)in that case,GIVE ME 64 BIT AE, man! Make a killing! Steal Autodesk’s share!!This is me, pounding down your door. what’s the hold up? 3rd party developers? They TOO will make a killing from all the users upgrading! It’s not like the professional houses out there using Apple products aren’t completely used to being moustrapped into necessary upgrades!!my ten cents, please correct me if i’m wrong.[ Perhaps you missed one of my more recent blog posts about 64-bit. — MC]

  21. Richard says:

    vista/windows 7 64bit comes with both 32bit internet explorer and 64 bit internet explorerthe 32bit explorer runs by default on 64bit systems so you need do nothing more.

  22. florance says:

    HELP WE JUST GOT THIS COMPUTER!!! 3 DAYS NOW AND IT IS DRIVING ME NUTS… I AM NOT GOOD WITH COMPUTERSI KNOW THAT IT IS WINDOW 7 VISTA AND 64-BIT EVERY FLASH PLAYER I TRY DOES NOT WORK CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT I HAVE TO DO SO WE CAN VIEW VIDEOS AND OTHER MEDIA THAT CAUSE FOR A FLASH PLAYER PLEASE OR HOW I CAN TURN MINE INTO A 32-BIT OPERATING EXPLORER PLEASE AND THANK YOUFOR MY 3 YR OLD

  23. Joraph says:

    Guys i don’t really know what do.But upgrading to windows 7 64bit is not really a good ideal for AE CS4 especially when u have just 4gb ram on ur system.My pc runs windows 7 64bit , 4 gb ram, 1gb nvidia vga…but AE CS4 is very slugish…

  24. links london says:

    the bottom line is that even if you purchase a 64 bit operating system, after effects is STILL only a 32 bit application.Links of London [Yes, After Effects CS4 is 32-bit, but the point of the article is that it still runs best on a 64-bit operating system. The next version of After Effects will be 64-bit native — MC ].

  25. i make a project and i use windows 7 64 bit system.i notice that the photoshop cs4 64bit version is very fast, thanks for the 64 bit technology