CS4 and 64-bit Systems, Part 1

DCP by Jan Ozer

So there I was, testing Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4)’s AVCHD compatibility. I created a simple project, about 4 minutes long, two picture-in-picture overlays with simple rotation and color correction. I had two eight-core systems: the Windows workstation a 2.83GHz HP xw6600 running Windows XP (32-bit version) with 3GB of RAM, and a 3.2GHz Mac running OS X version 10.5.5 with 8GB of RAM. Rendering out to Blu-ray compatible MPEG-2 took 68 minutes on the Windows workstation, 11 minutes on the Mac.

Hmm. I expected maybe 15 percent differential due to processor speed, but 6X? I sent these facts to Adobe and asked for their thoughts. Here’s what I got back:

"Rendering AVCHD natively is very CPU- and memory-intensive, and often with memory-based tasks, you see a sharp drop off in performance when the system starts having to swap out memory to disk. This is why we recommend 64-bit systems for CS4. We have split up the application into multiple processes, which will allow you to use far more than the usual limit for 32-bit applications. Sounds like the 8GB of RAM on the Mac is allowing you to avoid the memory paging out to disk." read more...

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