Support of multiple core 64 bit processors and > 4GB RAM

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alfred Molon, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Just wondering if there is image processing software which can make full
    use of 64 bit processors with more than one core (i.e. Core 2 Duo, Core
    2 Quad or equivalents from AMD) and which can use more than 4GB RAM (I
    know for instance of mainboards which take 8GB RAM)? Intel is planning
    to have a processor with 32 cores by 2009.
    Alfred Molon, Jan 14, 2007
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  2. Alfred Molon

    babaloo Guest

    The OS is the limit.
    32bit Windows does not see all the 4gb of RAM.
    Although 64bit Windows technically can see all that RAM it has problems with
    stability, program and driver compatibility. Win64 will run Photoshop but
    many if not most users cannot use that much RAM effectively.
    Vista64 will not be any different, at least at outset, than Win64 and
    probably have even less driver support for things like printers, scanners
    and calibrators. In fact there will be inadequate driver support when Vista
    32 is released in a few weeks.
    The truth is that users may think they need that much RAM but the reality is
    somewhat different despite what some computer enthusiast magazines/web sites
    babaloo, Jan 14, 2007
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  3. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    You'd need large amounts of RAM when processing large image files, for
    instance scans of MF or LF negatives or pnoramic stitches.
    Alfred Molon, Jan 15, 2007
  4. Alfred Molon

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I believe that Adobe PhotoShop uses the facilities of the 64 bit
    processors. Whether or not a program uses the dual core machines to
    full advantage depends on both the architecture of the program, and the
    setting, and design, of the compiler. Using multiple processors is not
    a simple thing, and even if the program is compiled for optimal
    multi-processor use, the OS must also support it well in order for
    maximum benefit to be derived. For any given program design, there is a
    point of diminishing returns when it comes to adding processors. At
    some point, no further advantage in speed will be noted.

    The RAM issue depends on board design, and OS limitations.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2007
  5. Alfred Molon

    SimonLW Guest

    First you need an OS that can handle 64 bits. Windows XP, for example is 32
    bit and can read 4GB of ram in which 2GB is given to the OS and 2GB is given
    to the apps. There is a startup switch to give 1GB to the OS and 3GB to the
    apps, however the max RAM per app (per session) is still limited to 2GB. The
    64 bit versions, of course, are not limited this way, but you need a 64 bit
    app (like you asked about). I'm not sure if PS is truly 64 bit.

    You must have a lot of images open or do a lot of stitching of many smaller
    files to need such a large amount of RAM.

    Don't know about 32 cores! Quad cores are just getting started and they will
    likely run for the next couple years. 32 cores may be used for mini and
    super computing uses. I don't see it in the desktop market for many more
    SimonLW, Jan 15, 2007
  6. No, it won't be until after CSIII. Lots of engineering/development
    issues around this, and the "improvement" would be marginal, according
    to some experts. I'd be among them, but for the fact that I'm not an
    expert in that field.

    There are some who've read the hype of the chip mfgs. who believe that
    64 bits *NOW* is a panacea.

    It ain't.
    John McWilliams, Jan 15, 2007
  7. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Actually image processing is one task which can easily be parallelised -
    just split the image into parts and assign each part to one processor.
    Or, if you are doing panoramics, assign one image of the set to each
    Alfred Molon, Jan 15, 2007
  8. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    The problem is that with typical panoramas even 2GB are sometimes not
    enough, and the computer starts disk swapping.
    For instance, with PTGUI a panorama with the layered output option with
    ten 10MP images generates easily a 300MByte file. Open that in your
    image processing software, with multiple undo levels and you quickly end
    up filling up several GB of RAM
    Alfred Molon, Jan 15, 2007
  9. Alfred Molon

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Sorry, but isn't an advantage of 64 bit processors, that they can
    address more than 4GB of RAM, which should help with memory hungry

    As for multiple cores, they should help with image processing, an
    application which can easily be parallelised.
    Alfred Molon, Jan 15, 2007
  10. The dual core G5 could- can address 8GB of Ram.
    Little Green Eyed Dragon, Jan 15, 2007
  11. Alfred Molon

    Bill Guest

    That depends on your hardware. Anything more than about six months old
    should be fully compatible.

    I've been running the release version of Vista 64-bit for a month now
    and it's very stable and compatible with almost all of my software (the
    exact same software the public can buy two weeks). The only thing it
    doesn't like to run is a few very old programs and some new ones that
    have weird programming requirements (like Capture NX which insists on
    using dotNET 1.1) but that's not Vistas fault.

    I've been using Vista beta versions for months, and by the time RC2 was
    released, it was quite stable and compatible with the vast majority of
    software. Companies are developing and updating software for Vista
    compatibility as we speak, but it's up to them to get their software
    ready for Vista, so any delay is not the fault of Micro$oft.

    As for 64-bit issues, I have none of consequence (WinXP x64 sucked by
    comparison). My computer is fully supported and it's even using a RAID
    with 400gigs of capacity, and my printer, scanner, card reader, camera,
    etc., are all supported by Vista - I haven't had to install anything
    else, which is quite impressive really.
    I doubt I'm the average user, but I'm using an AMD dual-core with 4gigs
    of memory, and yes I do need that 4gigs (Vista 64 needs 1.5gigs to work
    smoothly). My next computer will be able to use 8gigs or more and by
    then I'll probably need it.
    Bill, Jan 15, 2007
  12. The first thing to do is to disable all but one undo level. One undo level
    is necessary, since you need both the original image and the resultant image
    in memory to apply a transformation (curves, USM, or what have you). At a
    minimum, to avoid swapping, you need twice as much memory as the number of
    bytes in the image plus 256MB or so for OS + Photoshop.

    You can save intermediate states manually (in files). Saving intermediate
    states manually also reduces the need for layers. It's harder, and you have
    to think about what you are doing, but it's always been the case with
    computers that thinking beforehand makes your machine capable of handling
    much larger problems.

    The vast majority of the layers-based operations are simply stacking
    sequences of transformations that can be done one at a time, but that when
    stacked allow you to see the total effect while you twiddle the intermediate
    stages of the sequence. This is grossly wasteful of memory.

    If you can get away without layers, then you can deal comfortably with files
    with up to pixel counts slightly less than 1/6 the available number of
    bytes. For example, say you have 1GB of memory, the OS and Photoshop code
    eats maybe 256MB, that leaves you capable of dealing with 128MP images.
    That's a pretty big panorama. The stitch operation itself may be painfully
    slow, but everything else will fly. And even there, if you stitch in
    sections, then only the final stitch of the last two sections will be

    To reiterate: it's always been the case with computers that thinking
    beforehand makes your machine capable of handling much larger problems.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Jan 16, 2007
  13. Alfred Molon

    Mardon Guest

    Hi Bill,

    Does Vista require a 'clean install' or can it be installed over XP Pro so
    that I won't have to re-install all my programs? I have an HP XW6400
    workstation with dual 3.6GHz Xeon processors and 5GB ram.
    Mardon, Jan 16, 2007
  14. Alfred Molon

    Bill Guest

    Depends on which edition you wish to run and which OS you upgrade. If
    you have 32-bit XP and want 64-bit Vista, you must do a clean install.
    But upgrading XP to 32-bit Vista works.

    If that's not a typo and you have 5gigs of memory, I suggest you get the
    64-bit edition since all 32-bit versions are limited to less than 4gigs
    of addressing in memory (about 3.5gigs so the extra 1.5gig is unused and
    Bill, Jan 16, 2007
  15. Alfred Molon

    Mardon Guest

    I've listed my PC's specs below. I'm thinking that I would get the 64 bit
    edition of Vista Ultimate. Is that what you recommend? What kind of
    problems can I expect with drivers for my scanners, Spyder colorimeter,
    Canopus ADVC-300, etc.? I'm dissappointed that I'll have to do a clean
    install but I kind of figured that would be the case. :(

    Current OS:
    32 bit XP Pro

    3.60 gigahertz Intel Xeon (2 installed)
    16 kilobyte primary memory cache
    1024 kilobyte secondary memory cache

    Display adapter:
    NVIDIA Quadro FX 4400 512MB

    'DIMM1' has 2048 MB
    'DIMM2' has 2048 MB
    'DIMM3' has 512 MB
    DIMM4' has 512 MB

    Disk Drives:
    950.21 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
    351.91 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space
    Maxtor 7Y250M0 250.06 GB dedicated to the OS

    Board: Hewlett-Packard 08B8h
    Bus Clock: 800 megahertz
    BIOS: Hewlett-Packard 786B7 v2.02 06/02/2005
    Mardon, Jan 16, 2007
  16. Alfred Molon

    Lionel Guest

    This version won't use all your RAM (max. of 3.2GB), or use your CPUs
    efficiently. You need to upgrade to XP 64 to use them - the drawback
    is that XP64 will not run XP32 drivers, & lots of hardware doesn't
    have 64 bit drivers from the maker or from MS. In my case, I have a
    similar system to yours (2x Xeon 3.6GHz CPUS, 4GB RAM), & found that
    XP64 didn't support the advanced functions I need from my Matrox APVe
    video card, & a couple of other important pieces of hardware, so I
    reluctantly went back to XP32.
    Which version is better for you will depend on whether 64 bit drivers
    are available for your hardware, but if you can upgrade to XP64, you
    should. I'd advise against Vista for the simple reason that the first
    release version of every operating-system MS have ever made has had
    horrible, data-destroying bugs in it. I *strongly* reccommend that you
    wait for the impatient idiots & hobbyists to discover the bugs in
    Vista, & for MS to fix them, before entrusting your valuable data to
    You should never mix DIMMs types or capacities, because it greatly
    reduces performance, & can cause reliability problems. I personally
    run 4x 1024MB DIMMs, & would recommend that you do the same, or
    upgrade the two 512MB DIMMs to match your 2048MB DIMMs.
    That swap file is massive overkill, & very little of it will ever be
    used. The usual rule of thumb would suggest that you use - at most -
    6GB on each drive if you're not running Adobe Photoshop or Premiere.
    If you are running any of the big Adobe app's, I'd advise a 6GB Xp
    swap file on your boot drive, that you configure Adobe to put its
    scratch file (I don't recall what Adobe calls its swap file) on the
    other drive.
    Make sure you're running the latest BIOS on your motherboard, & on
    your video card.
    Lionel, Jan 16, 2007
  17. Alfred Molon

    sampo.vuori Guest


    I'm not trying to be a smart-ass. Your question is just very general
    and I'm adding this for the sake of completenesss.
    Several open source operating systems have had 64-bit versions and
    multiprocessor support for a long while. Notably linux and *bsds. You
    do not specify what kind of image processing you're talking about, but
    several image processing applications running on the aforementioned
    platforms also can handle 64-bit and run in multiple threads (and so
    utilize multiple processors). A few examples being GIMP (Gnu Image
    Manipulation Program, a general image processing), hugin (panorama
    application), bibble (raw photo processing tool, not free) and I'm sure
    there are a lot others, but those I have used myself.
    I don't doubt that, single cores seem to be hitting the megahertz
    ceiling and the next route is to increase the core count. If the main
    cpu players get core-crazy we'll easily see 32 cores in desktop
    machines in the near future.

    If only (other) programmers would realize this and move from too low
    level languages (C, java etc) to more advanced languages which have
    higher level abstractions about concurrency (and a lot of other things
    too). Programming with low level threads IS hard and complicated, we
    need to use better tools.

    - Sampo
    sampo.vuori, Jan 16, 2007
  18. Alfred Molon

    Mardon Guest

    Unfortunately, HP Canada (from whom I bought the system) does not offer
    fully customizable workstations to their Canadian Customers. The XW6200
    comes with 2 512 DIMMs regardless if you want them or not.. If you don't
    want them, you pay for them and through them away. Very aggravating.
    Anyway, when I bought the system I planed to upgrade to 4 2GB DIMMs after I
    switched to 64 bit Vista. I did not go with XP 64 because it had just come
    out and was too new with too few drivers. Thus, I bought the system
    initially with 2 GB DIMMS to max out the memory under XP 32 and left the
    512 DIMMs in place. HP left me little alternative.
    I guess I wasn't clear. The 250Gig drive is dedicated to the OS and
    programs. I meant that don't keep data on that drive.
    I don't know. If I'm not having any trouble, I'm reluctant to flash the
    MoBo BIOS.
    Mardon, Jan 16, 2007
  19. Alfred Molon

    Lionel Guest

    Ouch. Good opportunity to upgrade any other PC's you might have, but
    still pretty annoying.
    You might try running Memtest86 (bootable floppy) on your system as it
    is, & also without the 2 512MB DIMMs, & see if it's faster without the
    smaller ones. But do earmark your next slice of hardware budget to a
    RAM upgrade, because it'll double your memory bandwidth & give you a
    huge performance improvement.
    Unless you're saying that you only have one drive, you were perfectly
    clear. :)
    Doesn't matter. If you have two /physical/ drives & run Adobe app's,
    (which I'm assuming you seeing as you're posting here. ;), you'll get
    the best performance by putting your 'Doze swap file & your Adobe swap
    file on different /physical/ drives (Adobe's own installation notes
    document state this very strongly, BTW). If you're not running Adobe
    app's, I've found that 'Doze performance improves if you allocate a
    permanent 'Doze swap file & split it amongst your physical drives.
    Why? It's easy to do, it can eliminate bugs & compatibility hassles, &
    if you follow the directions to the letter, is perfectly safe.
    (My own Tyan S2676 M/B wouldn't run XP64 when I first I bought it
    until I did a BIOS upgrade, my most recent upgrade fixed some
    weirdness about booting from USB, & gave me some extra features.)

    Anyway, whatever you do, best of luck. ;)
    Lionel, Jan 16, 2007
  20. Alfred Molon

    acl Guest

    Yes, and the funny thing (well, to me) is that most of this power will
    be used to move windows around the screen! LOL!
    acl, Jan 16, 2007
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