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Why 64 bit Sense? Choice of Outliner - Word Processor Installation

Issue 3 (Jan 2022)

Sense installations, whether the main Outliner / Word Processor application or its associated Free Extension Plugins are provided to accomodate both 32 and 64 bit Microsoft Windows Operating Systems.

In general, 64 bit installations should be chosen in preference to 32 bit when your installed Microsoft Windows Operating System is 64 bit in order to overcome the 2GB Memory limitation of a 32 bit system installation.

Indeed, if you already have a 32 bit Sense version installed on a Windows 64 bit operating system, you have the option to reinstall with a 64 bit version - the same Sense license is valid for both 32 bit and 64 bit installations.

See notes regarding Migration between 32 and 64 bit systems.

However, before swapping, it is important to understand the advantages, differences, and dependencies of 64-bit software before deciding whether 64-bit or 32-bit Sense will best suit your needs.

Memory Limitations

32-bit versions of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems have a theoretical limit of 2 GB of memory for a .NET process - in reality, the memory available for actual data may be much smaller.

32 bit memory limitations also apply when running 32 bit applications in the compatibily (WOW64) layer on Windows 64 bit Operating Systems.

As a generalization, 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows typically support up to 192 GB of installed memory - in practise, the memory available is limited by the amount of installed memory.

Data Processing

Increasing demands for data processing means that 32 bit applications are more frequently running into memory addressing limitations.

Data is stored in many formats but, again as a generalisation, formats divide between compact binary and verbose text. Binary data processing is, by its nature, usually more efficient in terms of both processor and memory demands. XML is text based with the result that documents tend to be larger placing higher demands for memory and processor power.

Sense documents are XML with the consequence that, as with other XML data processing applications, there is increased susceptibility to 32 bit system memory limitation even for comparatively small XML files.

Memory Requirements

64-bit applications will require more memory than their 32 bit counterparts to process the same data. This is because data types, memory pointers and other structures automatically become larger as well as the space needed for the application runtime code itself.

In general, it is recommended that a minimum of 4 GB of memory should be installed to gain benefits from running a 64-bit application.

Performance Considerations

The most important consideration to migrate to 64 bit Sense is whether 32 bit Sense has, or is likely to, run out of memory. Although it is not possible to reliably predict memory exhaustion merely from document size, an early warning might be achieved using Print Preview.

If memory limitations are not being encountered then performance (speed) becomes the dominent consideration.

There is no rule of thumb by which it may be said that switching to 64 bit Sense will result in improved processing performance.

For example, if the machine has 2GB of memory then performance may be slower simply because 64 bit applications have to shift more data. With 4 GB or more, then it may be expected that performance will be faster.

Possibly the best advice is to simply try out 64 bit Sense: backwards Migration to 32 bit Sense is straightforward with more important information provided within the Release News of Sense Help.