Is using 32-bit appz on x64 better than on x86?

Discussion in 'Windows 64 Bit' started by Robin, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Robin

    Robin Guest


    I went x64 because of the benefits found in one of the major programs I was
    using. As it turns out, problems with plugins means I will be using the
    32-bit version of this program on my x64 installation.

    In fact, most everything installed on my computer is 32-bits, because of
    various conflicts and problems. Am I better off switching back to XP x86, or
    sticking with with x64 and continuing to use 32-bits appz on it?

    Am I doing more harm than good hanging on to x64 when I'm not really using
    anything 64-bits?
    Robin, Oct 19, 2007
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  2. Robin

    R. C. White Guest

    Hi, Robin.

    At this point in time, x64 is more about the future than the present.
    Sooner or later we will all be running 64-bits. We can make the conversion
    now and live with a few missing drivers, or put it off until some point in
    the future. The choice probably depends mostly on WHICH hardware and
    applications you will be running between now and when YOU decide to convert.

    Personally, ALL my software now runs on Vista Ultimate x64, which I
    installed (finally, after running beta builds for over a year) about a year
    ago. The last holdouts were Nero and Photoshop Elements, but they were
    finally compatible just before Vista "went Gold". I had installed WinXP x64
    as soon as it was available about 3 years ago, but lack of drivers,
    especially for my ATI All-In-Wonder card, was a much bigger problem then. I
    still have WinXP x64 installed as a dual-boot, but almost never boot it.

    My hardware all works with Vista x64, and has from early in the beta period.
    Well, I did have a SoundBlaster card installed for several years, but
    Creative was very late in producing x64 drivers, so I retired the card
    completely early in the beta period. The Realtek onboard audio on my
    motherboard is fully supported and does all that I want a sound card to do.
    I'm not an audiophile and have only 2.1 speakers, but the Realtek would
    support much more if I wanted it to.

    One remaining hassle: TV tuners. I have two now, a Hauppauge HVR-1600
    (PCI) and a Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick (USB). The drivers work and I can
    use them with Vista Ultimate's built-in Media Center, both x64 and x86. But
    the TV applications from both Hauppauge and Pinnacle do not yet work in x64.
    Since I seldom boot into x86 at all, I haven't tested those apps very much..

    I don't know if x64 runs 32-bit apps better than x86, because I haven't run
    x86 very much for the past year. I don't yet have any 64-bit apps, but all
    my 32-bit apps are running just fine. ;<)

    R. C. White, CPA
    San Marcos, TX

    Microsoft Windows MVP
    (Running Windows Live Mail beta 2 in Vista Ultimate x64 SP1 beta v.275)
    R. C. White, Oct 19, 2007
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  3. Robin

    John John Guest

    Because of "thunking" your 32-bit applications will (most likely) run
    slower. 32-bit applications have to be "thunked up" to 64-bit, in
    essence the the 32-bit functions and pointers are converted (thunked) to
    64-bit, so that means that there is an extra operation needed to run the
    applications, this extra operations slows them down. It is much the
    same running 16-bit applications on 32-bit NT, they have to be thunked
    up to 32-bit and this makes them run a bit slower on NT than in their
    native 16-bit OS. You have to remember that the 64-bit operating system
    does not use 32-bit functions and the 32-bit NT does not use 16-bit
    functions, they do not "thunk down". The applications run inside
    emulators, the NTVDM (on NT 32-bit) or WOW64 (on NT 64-bit) where they
    are thunked up to run on the operating system.

    John John, Oct 19, 2007
  4. There may be a minor slow-down, but I don't notice any at all. If there is
    one, it shouldn't be because of 'thunking', which is what you get from
    Emulators when they translate 'calls' from 32 to 64 bit or vice versa - or
    when translating long filenames to short ones, which happened when you ran
    Unicode on Win98, if I'm not mistaken.

    But the AMD64 processor is built to execute both internally, so you
    shouldn't need to make this translation, what they did was to include both
    API's in the OS that has a complex way of living together in the same
    appartment without bothering each other - so there probably are some issues.
    Counter this, however, with the much improved Virtual Memory Management that
    you really do notice. The end result is - there is no difference. Some say
    some things run slower, other thinks it runs quicker, but most people here
    are of the opinion that x86 code runs on a par with the x86 machine.

    If you see a difference it is something else, like some hardware benefitting
    more from the improved Virtual Memory Management and others considerably

    Tony. . .
    Tony Sperling, Oct 19, 2007
  5. Robin

    Robin Guest

    Well, that was really the question, so if anyone can answer it, I'd be most
    happy. ;-)
    Robin, Oct 21, 2007
  6. Robin

    Robin Guest

    Exactly what I wanted to know. So if I'm going to use 32-bit applications
    for the next year, I'm better off running them on x86 than x64. Am I
    interpreting that right?
    Robin, Oct 21, 2007
  7. Robin

    John John Guest

    Well... My post was not completely correct. As Tony said, x64
    processors execute x86-32 instructions so the thunking will not be quite
    the same as it is on 32-bit Windows versions. There will be thunks for
    Ntoskrnl.exe functions, but most users here say that they don't notice
    much, if any, difference when running 32-bit applications on x64. That
    there is an extra emulation layer and some thunking that much is known,
    how it may (or may not) slow things down is difficult to say, you would
    have to run benchmark tests on identical machines to say for sure how
    different applications are affected. If you are strictly running 32-bit
    applications then I would think that you would probably be better
    running 32-bit Windows.

    John John, Oct 21, 2007
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