conroe to 64 or not to 64 that is the question

Hi All and Happy Holdiays

I’m upgrading shortly and going by all reports the best at the moment is the core2duo conroe core. I’m on a lease plan so waiting for AMD native quad core (at an affordable price if NYD release rumours are true) will be throwing money into the wind.

Ardour and MusE are my primary bits of software so I want to build the ideal system for arodour. Since Bristol receives MIDI controllers I have no need for VSTi’s anymore, so the 32 vs 64 bit question is purely a performance one.

I’m pretty convinced on the core2duo conroe core for 2 reasons, performance tests and thermal output " a quiet computer is a good computer". The only doubt I have is memory latency is better still better in amd chips.

Conroe tests show that in 32 bit mode the floating point calculations are far superior to 64 bit mode, but everything else is faster in 64 bit but not by the same degree.

Most of my reading so far tells me that floating point performance is the most important which leads me to a 32 bit build. However I have read some articles regarding other audio software (i.e. cakewalk™(do I need to put that in??)) performs better in 64 bit versions due to memory addressing.

So should I build my system 32 or 64?

Or am I wasting my time and should stick with AMD due to superior memory latency performance?

All tips appreciated.


Have a happy, safe and productive 2007.

Hello. I’m writing this reply on a Core 2 Duo laptop. I can tell you that the performance is awesome. To tell you the truth, I don’t think the performance difference between 32 or 64 bits is substantial at all. I have yet to max out this system on an Ardour session (running on 32 bits).

The question for me is of convenience. I want flashplayer to work, I want to use mplayer with win32 codecs. Also, from what I’ve seen of Bristol (I guess we are talking about the synth?), I wouldn’t be all too surprised if it would just crash and burn on 64 bits. The code quality of that program is a bit suspect. There are some mistakes one can do which lead to programs working fine on 32 bit platforms, but totally crashing on you on 64 bits.

Regarding memory performance, I wouldn’t look at raw component performance when judging a system. Look at real world benchmarks and judge from there. I don’t think the memory bandwidth is a problem on this box, even though the bus is “only” 667MHz.

What comes to float performance, that’s what counts. When doing audio work, your system is 99% of the time fiddling with floats.

I don’t understand how floating point calculations are quicker on a 32bit system…surely a 64bit system would be far quicker in that area…isn’t that the point?

The difference in performance is greater for double precision floating points. As far as I understand it, the performance boost for single precision (32 bit) floating points is not substantial.

By “substantial”, I mean actual improvements like “I used to be able to run only 30 reverbs at the same time, now I can do 36”. Not improvements only visible in testbed configurations.

I could be wrong though. I can’t find any specific benchmarks to prove this claim.

What I’ve been able to tell with running Ardour2 on my Gentoo AMD64 machine is that it runs quite flawlessly. There are some minor bugs that I’ve encountered but mostly on my part. It runs very very nice. JACK and Ardour2 are simply amazing on 64bit system (Gentoo). As for being able to play flash vids and watch/listen win32 codec files on a 64bit system, I use nspluginwrapper (with opera 9.10 32bit installed) and just installed the netscape-flash ebuild and pointed nspluginwrapper to where flash is installed… I now have flash working like a charm on my 64bit firefox. To play videos such as that on gamespot or something, mplayerplug-in is pretty wicked.

I’ve been running everything I could run on a 32 bit machine without problems. I’m only familiar with Gentoo though so I’m not exactly sure how one would setup this stuff on Ubuntu or SuSE or whatever. I would think it’s just as easy.


Yeah I had a very similar setup until recently, and it was very fast and stable, I changed back to 32bit primarily because of VST’s. There are some VST’s out there (free ones at that) that there is no equivalent for in ladpsa. If there was a “fstwrapper” for vst’s to run in a 64bit environment then I’d be back over in a flash.

I’d have to agree on that.

I’ve been sketching out some plans for making my own. Maybe since 64bit systems have a bit of catching up to do on that front, I might just open up mine to the public once they are done. If I so happen to do that I’ll post up a link here on the forums so peeps can download them.

Thanks for everyones opinion. However this isn’t really a general 64 bit versus 32 bit question but more specific to the Conroe chip.

I also am on an AMD64 (2 years), a few months back I rebuilt the system as 32-bit (gentoo) for VST compatibility and I haven’t noticed a substantial difference. I have found due to the amount of hardware I have (sequencer/sampler,synths,FX, mixer and dynamics processing), that I’m not using any VST’s.

So based on the testing shown here;

Floating point performance is substantially better in 32-bit mode on the conroe chip than in 64 bit while everything else is slightly better in 64 bit.

So the question remains, is it better for me to build a 32-bit system based on superior floating point calculations or 64 bit as everything else is slightly better in 64?

Allan K
Littlewolf Music
Melbourne Australia

Sorry for dripping off topic.

Anyways, as for some advice; I would suggest 64bit. If you aren’t looking at it like a hawk for improvement in performance, 64bit would probably be a better choice. If you’re doing recording regardless of what some article says about benchmarks, I would still pick 64bit.

After reading that benchmark I would still definitely use a 64bit system over a 32bit system if all else out performs 32bit applications/systems.