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Old 04-21-2009, 12:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 52
Default Where's the 64bit sticky thread? Right here, that's where

It seems there are a lot of 64bit Reaper questions that keep reappearing here, most of them are all the same, people wondering what the advantages are for 64bit over 32bit, sound card compatibility, plugin compatibility and lame_enc support.

We're going to use this thread as best as we can to try to cover these topics.

What is 64bit anyway?

There's an awful lot to this question, in short, newer processors (Pentium 4/Athlon 64 and up) have added 64bit processing compatibility that expands the 32bit processing instruction set that has been around for the past 20 or so years. In addition to expanding the instruction set itself for the processor, it also allows for a larger amount of RAM to be used. So if you have a 64bit compatible processor, you essentially have the option of running either a 32bit or 64bit operating system. (32bit processing is also referred to as x86, or x86-32 whereas 64bit processing is often referred to as x86-64.)

To add to the confusion, there is also 64bit audio processing. 64bit audio is essentially a higher resolution, and therefore more accurate, than 16bit (found in CD and MP3 formats) and 24bit audio (the common standard to pro audio and HD formats). Programs like Reaper (both the 32bit and 64bit versions) use 64bit audio processing in the mixing engine of the program to enhance the quality of the mix itself as well as the plugins used (where applicable).

When we talk about the 64bit version of Reaper, Windows 64bit, and in this thread in particular, we're talking about CPU processing as in the first paragraph.

What are the advantages of 64bit?

The short answer is, addressing memory beyond ~4GB (a little closer to 3.25GB actually). What this means is, if you bought a computer and have 4GB or more of memory in it, you're going to need a 64bit OS to access all that memory, otherwise, you'll only have the first ~4GB of RAM available (it is technically possible to address more memory in 32bit using PAE, but it isn't supported very well). There are other advantages to 64bit processing as well, certain applications benefit from the expanded instruction set and run more efficiently than their 32bit counterparts.

Now, from what I'm aware, the advantages of 64bit Reaper are much the same. If you want Reaper to take advantage of all the RAM in your system, you need the 64bit version. Also, the 64bit version should also be more efficient in terms of processing power, especially when using your 64bit plugins, though I haven't seen any benchmarks to confirm this.

Should I be using 64bit Reaper?

You don't have to. If you're uncertain about whether or not you should be using 64bit Reaper, then use the 32bit version. Especially if you have a collection of plugins you really like to use (apart from just the Cockos plugins), though that's less of an issue now thanks to the built in "bridge" that Cockos has developed for Reaper that allows 32bit plugins to operate within the 64bit version of Reaper. If you haven't chosen which version of Windows to purchase/install yet and you're thinking about 64bit, take into consideration drivers for your hardware, your sound card in particular. Drivers for a 64bit operating system have to be 64bit, even if you're running the 32bit version of Reaper, or any other program for that matter.

Concerning VST plugins and memory allocation between the x86 and 64bit versions of Reaper, this diagram may be helpful,

You can install both versions of Reaper, side by side, on a single 64bit system just fine. Your license key will be valid for both copies as well. So if you're curious about running 64bit, go ahead and give it a try, you've got nothing to loose.

Is there a 64bit version of the Lame_enc.dll?

Yes there is, I've compiled a 64bit version of lame_enc.dll, which has been generally successful. It is attached to this post, click here to download it. There is also a version available here, I haven't tested this one myself, but looks like it may be a more compatible build.

What are your questions about 64bit, and the 64bit version of Reaper?

This thread is brand new, and I probably said some things that were wrong here and haven't answered all the questions you might have, so feedback is welcomed and I'll do my best to edit this and make corrections as needed.
Attached Files
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Intel Core i3 3.2Ghz - Asus P7H55-M Pro - 16GB G.Skill DDR3 RAM - Emu 1820M
Windows 7 64bit - Mac OSX 10.6.7

Last edited by jonmatifa; 01-07-2010 at 01:53 PM.
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