susiwong kindly provided this brief article about using 64bit supporting hosts.
64bit is one of the most asked for “features” nowadays – justified in a few special situations, not really needed in most scenarios imho. We’re not talking about 64bit data path atm, that’s a completely unrelated phenomenon not connected with a 64bit OS. Let’s compare the possible scenarios using Cubase as an example, other hosts in Windows are similar/identical :
- Sonically all 64bit compatible plugins are 100% identical to their 32bit equivalents.
- the 3GB switch can work in some cases, more often than not it causes problems (blank GUI, crashes etc) which might not become immediately obvious
- The bitbridge is a 32bit to 64bit wrapper that notoriously causes problems, a temporary workaround that will be obsolete once all used plugins are native 64bit, this is the only valid reason for 64bit FX plugins, period.
- jbridge, a 3rd party wrapper, is better than the built-in bridges but has its limits with plugins of uncommon architecture (take Jamstix’ cutting edge MIDI- and sync features for example – not Ralph’s fault for sure).
- The only real difference between the three scenarios is the max project size.
Considering that all decent samplers feature disk streaming and/or other effective means of RAM saving (load on demand, purge etc) – how big will your projects become in reality? Personally I never hit the wall with C5/32, XP64, 4GB installed.
A typical project here has Jamstix2 with Jamcussion, Toontrack Superior 2 (with large kits), Kontakt4 with a Scarbee bass and a big piano, often additional strings or a scratch Akkord Guitar, a few other VSTis, 10 to 20 audio tracks, up to 20 groups and between 20 and 70 FX plugins – never had a RAM shortage yet, and I never freeze. Ymmv.
So a safe and trouble free sweet spot for most people would be the combination 32bit host, 32bit FX, 64bit OS – typically only classical or movie composers will need more and will benefit from a pure 64bit system. There always are exceptions of course, but why open a can of worms as long as there’s still Pizza on the table ? 😉