64-bit or 32-bit ?
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Old 01-28-2017, 04:09 AM   #1
Nystagmus
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Icon5 64-bit or 32-bit ?

OK, so due to the tragic loss of my entire old DAW, I'm having to rebuild a DAW on a new system.

ALL of my favorite freeware and payware VST instruments and effects are 32-bit and I used to run 32-bit Reaper. Also, my former operating system was 32-bit Linux with 32-bit Wine for the max ability to run Windows programs on Linux. My old hardware had a lot of RAM, but I never used most of it because of the 32-bit OS.

According to the Linux resources, 32-bit Linux is required for more compatibility with 32-bit Wine and 32-bit Windows programs as far as I can tell (if I'm not mixed up). Also, 32-bit Linux support is gradually being phased out and replaced with 64-bit Linuxes, but the popular 32-bit Linuxes such as Lubuntu will still be continued and supported, just maybe not as much.

My new current system has 8 GB of RAM and already has a 64-bit OS installed on it. What should I do?

1) keep everything normal and run 64-bit Reaper, regardless
2) keey everything normal and run 32-bit Reaper, regardless
3) keep everything normal and run both according to which VSTs are buggy
4) wipe everything and go back to 32-bit OS and 32-bit software for maximum backwards compatibility

Luckily so far, all of my 32-bit utility programs all work. It's just the VST's i'm not sure about. On the Reaper forum, some say that 32-bit plugins on 64-bit Reaper are somewhat buggy or at least CPU hoggish.

What do you think?
Linux or Windows are each OK with me, all my Windows stuff can run on 32-bit Linux, but might NOT run on 64-bit Linux due to 64-bit Wine being younger and not as strong as 32-bit Wine. Or is this wrong?

Last edited by Nystagmus; 01-28-2017 at 06:42 AM.. Reason: fixed a spelling / grammer error

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Old 01-28-2017, 05:57 AM   #2
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Re: 64-bit or 32-bit ?

If you have 8GB of ram you need to run 64-bit stuff to utilize it. At the very least 64-bit OS, probably 64-bit DAW. VSTs are whatever - most of them aren't going to eat up more than a GB or two of ram at the very most. I'd personally run 64-bit everything until you run into an issue, then downgrade those specific things to 32-bit if necessary.

Windows or Linux is a personal choice. I love Linux and use it as the primary OS on several computers but I don't feel like it's mature enough in A/V to make music on reliably. That's just my take on it; plenty of people do so successfully. YMMV.
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:01 AM   #3
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Re: 64-bit or 32-bit ?

I'm running a 64 bit system and DAW (FL Studio 11.x) with a lot of bridge 32 bit VSTs w no issues.
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Old 01-28-2017, 06:53 AM   #4
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Re: 64-bit or 32-bit ?

Thanks guys. What u said makes sense.
My current hardware isn't as powerful as my previous hardware, but I think it might be easier to configure because I picked stuff that is better supported and since it's older (used), more documented.

My previous hardware had some really cool features, but they never got tried because the OS couldn't fully support it, and then after my apartment got broken into and tampered with, stuff started to fail. It was wierd, but I digress.

I had a lot of success with Linux as the OS and Windows Reapers for the DAW, so I will probably try Linux again, even if it's just for a separate computer. It was very intellectually rewarding.
But on the other hand, Windows is more compatible than Wine even though Windows seems less stable than Linux to me for some stuff.

But this current system is so new and was installed well and seems pretty stable so far. Nothing has crashed yet, but I haven't run much yet either. I'm still downloading and installing and configuring and planning.

I don't have monitors nor a MIDI controller yet though. Argh.

Anyways, thanks.

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Old 01-28-2017, 10:47 AM   #5
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Re: 64-bit or 32-bit ?

You could run a virtual machine in hyper-v (virtualization support built into windows) if you really don't want to throw out a stable environment but you really do want to mess around in a more familiar one. You set it up so that your windows machine loads up as a virtual machine every time you start your pc, then you can add or remove virtual machines with any OS/Software as you please. I think you need to set up a virtual network to connect them to your networking and I/O hardware, and you're going to eat up a small amount of resources running hyper-v in the background, but otherwise, you get the best of both worlds. Of course, that's what I took away from a chapter in a "for dummies" book on the subject, so do your own research before you go down that road.

Also, theoretically, 64-bit plugins (applications in general really) can be twice as fast as their 32-bit counterpart because, you guessed it, more bits. That said, I don't know how close you get to that number in the real world and I use a 32-bit daw/plugins (in a 64-bit OS) just fine. I just enabled large address awareness on my daw using some third party software because when I looked at how big my library was I didn't feel like going hunting for all of those VSTs in 64-bit. I've never used more than like 3 gigs to load up a whole project file, and I can expand access for up to 8 gigs (maybe more? that's how much memory I have anyways) easily.

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Old 01-28-2017, 11:41 AM   #6
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Re: 64-bit or 32-bit ?

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Thanks, interesting tips and comments.
I don't think my laptop would be powerful enough for hyper-v, but it's an interesting idea worth studying in some ways. I will think about what you said. Thanks.

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Old 01-28-2017, 05:29 PM   #7
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Re: 64-bit or 32-bit ?

Nys, sounds like you've got a solid setup. I'd try sticking with the 64-bit as much as possible to make use of that 8GB ram.

Regarding hypervisors, the Hyper-V role is only included as a service in Windows Pro or Enterprise. If you're running those you have access to it, if you're on a Home or Basic edition you won't. There's also a stand alone bare metal install (that's free), but it's pretty complicated to set up.

Hyper-V also doesn't include PCI passthrough until the Server 2016/Windows 10 version of Hyper-V, which you'd need to let guest VMs use connected equipment (like interfaces and MIDI controllers and whatnot). It's straight up not available in earlier editions, and I can't speak to the reliability in the newest version as I've never run music production on a Hyper-V based VM. I have run my audio setup in a Windows 10 VM on a KVM host and it worked great.

If you make your host/base Windows install your workstation and only do non-music related things with your VMs, that'd work just fine.

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64-bit or 32-bit, cpu hog, linux or windows
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