March 16, 2009

64-bit Adobe app performance white paper

The roadmap for Adobe apps becoming 64-bit-native is a bit complicated, with some (Lightroom on Mac & Windows, Photoshop on Windows) being there now, some (Premiere Pro, After Effects) largely there now, and some yet to come. To provide an overview & to outline some performance benefits, the company has created a white paper (PDF) on the subject. [Via Anita Engelman]
Update: In response to a question in the comments, After Effects PM Michael Coleman has added some more details:

Jerry raises a good question: Can a 32-bit app be architected to take advantage of 64-bit OS?
Absolutely!
Prior to multi-core rendering, all rendering took place within the bounds of a 32-bit memory space. Today, parallel processing is the key. If After Effects weren’t architected to take advantage of 64-bit, all your processor cores would be using the same small chunk of RAM. Instead, multi-core rendering on a 64-bit OS can use up to 4GB per core. After Effects has been rendering faster because of this architecture since CS3 shipped back in 2007. And it’s been improved in CS4.
What about optimizations? Let’s say you only have 2GB of RAM. You might assume that you’re not a candidate for some of the improvements offered by using CS4 with a 64-bit OS. But this isn’t the case. After Effects uses RAM intensively, and it can do so more efficiently and reliably on a 64-bit OS.
In some respects, After Effects is a hybrid – a little bit like a Toyota Prius. Is it practical to be completely electric? Not yet. Does that mean that we should give up spectacular gas mileage and clean-burning technology now? No way. These are great advances and you don’t have to wait around for the Chevy Volt. Like CS4, the Prius is improving the world now. You’ll have to wait until 2010 for that Volt.
All things considered, CS4 and a 64-bit OS are probably one of the best investments you can make in 2009.

Posted by John Nack at 9:41 AM on March 16, 2009

Comments

  • Brandon — 11:45 AM on March 16, 2009

    Well, I am glad that Adobe is taking advantage of 64bit on Windows. Lightroom is definitely a lot smoother in 64bit with raw images than it is in 32bit with just 8GB ram. The person I set this up for is quite happy with the setup.
    Keep it up!

  • John Dowdell — 12:38 PM on March 16, 2009

    Thanks John. I tried to go up-directory on the website to find where I could find this again. Is there an HTML page which links to it…?
    tx, jd

  • Jerry — 1:31 PM on March 16, 2009

    While I applaud the moves toward 64-bit, I’d like someone at Adobe to defend this statement from the PDF.
    “After Effects® CS4 software is architected and optimized for 64-bit operating systems.”
    AE is a 32-bit app. It appears the only way in which AE takes advantage of 64-bit systems is by spawning off additional 32-bit processes that can access additional chunks of RAM made available on a 64-bit OS.
    So, to say that it’s architected and optimized for 64-bit is disingenuous, to say the least.
    For instance, if you were rendering a comp resolution that required a single AE process to use more than 4GB, you would page to disk, which is exactly what you’d want to avoid by purchasing a 64-bit system.
    An app that was actually “architected and optimized for 64-bit” would simply allocate more RAM and keep rendering. Specifically, it would be a 64-bit app.
    All that said, the document’s overall point about doing multiple things in parallel on the same machine is very valid. 64-bit makes this much smoother. I noticed the difference right away when I upgraded last year.

  • Igor Levicki — 6:57 PM on March 16, 2009

    64-bit version of Photoshop is faster? Seriously?!?
    [Of course–under the right circumstances. I never said anything to the contrary. I said that 64-bit computing means that you can address more memory, and that’s of course a great thing for large data sets. –J.]
    No way, I mean, who could have foreseen something like that?
    Perfect time to get reminded of this post:
    http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2007/03/64_bits_are_mag.html
    [I was responding to an ignorant column by someone who should’ve known better, and I stand by what I wrote. There’s nothing magical about 64-bit, now, then, or later. –J.]

  • Bob Hopfner — 9:36 PM on March 16, 2009

    I hoping for a road map to 64-bit InDesign! If InDesign Server has it, let’s have it on the desktop too!

  • Jerry — 8:34 AM on March 18, 2009

    Thanks for the response, Michael. I think my comments still stand, but I understand why you feel you can say that it was “architected and optimized” for 64-bit. I’m afraid my standard for that phrase is a bit higher.
    I’m still waiting for the real 64-bit AE. The one that can cache 8GB of pre-comps in RAM, and launch a RAM preview without having to save my giant project to disk in order to use all my RAM.
    AE is a great program, it’s users just have a lot of high expectations. (Although, at this point, is expecting a pro production app to be 64-bit really a high expectation?)

  • Steve Forde — 10:07 PM on March 18, 2009

    It’s true that AE is an app that can really chew up the RAM and fast. A real benefit would be the ability to stuff more into the RAM cache for previews etc.
    However, I would argue there are also some definitive drawbacks. Namely – RAM clearing. Shutdowns, purges, buffer control can get real nasty when 64bit allows you to fill all that RAM in no time. We had many users complain of 10 minute AE shutdown time after our Nucleo product had used up 16GB of RAM with slow HW bus speeds. Ironically – it was just the OS clearing out the RAM that caused the delay. RAM usage is RAM usage – irrespective of it being from a 32bit or 64bit process.
    From a parallelism perspective – AE has good RAM management for the render engine, which is what Michael is pointing out. That combined with the natural 4GB of each 32 bit process can provide balanced performance.
    Not saying 64 bit won’t be great – but it will have its own drawbacks.
    Ironically – that old computer science paradox comes into play here….”sometimes you have to slow down to speed up..”
    [That’s good perspective, Steve–thanks. –J.]

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