Adobe will be introducing a feature many user have requested with the next version of its Creative Suite – 64-bit support. But only if you're running Windows.
In a volte-face that will anger many Mac users, Adobe has announced that the Windows port of CS4 – the package containing such creative essentials as Photoshop and Illustrator – will be available in a 64-bit binary for users running compatible builds of Windows. The Mac version, by contrast, will only be available as a 32-bit executable until the next release, CS5.
The 64 bit support enables users to work on massive images easily, with the biggest speed gain seen on Windows systems running 32GB or more of RAM. For us mere mortals struggling long with quantities of RAM that don't require a second mortgage, the speed increase will still be a not inconsiderable 8-12 percent over the 32-bit build.
The reason for Adobe to seemingly snub its core market of Mac users is, ironically, all Apple's fault. Last June, Apple announced that they would not be providing a 64-bit version of their Carbon
procedural API. Any applications based on Carbon that would like to enter the 21st century with 64-bit support will need to be re-written for Cocoa
which can produce both 32 and 64 bit code. Adobe was just one of the companies taken by surprise when Carbon all but bit the dust.
With the additional speed gains and better support for massive images, Photoshop houses are facing the choice of running Windows in order to get the most from their software. Although it wouldn't have been enough to make users buy an entirely new system, the fact that Windows can be installed on existing Intel-based Mac equipment and run the new Creative Suite applications better than their 'native' Mac ports will be giving people pause for thought.
Any Photoshop addicts here looking to move away from Mac in order to get 64-bit support, or is 32-bit enough for you – at least until Adobe finish re-writing the Mac version practically from scratch? Share your thoughts over in the forums