I have set up Windows 7 as 64bit upgrading from XP 32bit (giving Vista a miss ). My intention was to also upgrade memory from 4GB to at least 8GB for those applications that can take advantage e.g. PS! As yet I have not made the memory upgrade and frankly cannot say that I have noticed any speed improvements over the XP 32bit version - other than I like Windows 7 more! I suspect that with a memory upgrade speed will be improved in PS and other applications that have been optimised for 64bit.
The biggest downside of 64 bit imo is the fact as you have stated is not being able to use some filters that have been designed for 32bit. Additionally there will be issues with some hardware if 64bit drivers are not developed.
Interesting? article from Adobe Here
As I always acquire my own camera images as RAW I bring them into PS via Camera Raw in 16bit mode. Thereby maximising the amount of bit depth I have to play with. If your camera has the option to shoot in RAW then I firmly believe that you should investigate this option over jpeg as there are potentially great benefits to be had.
In the case of jpeg images at 8bit I am not sure there is any real advantage in converting to 16 bit prior to image manipulation. It may minimise image losses after extensive editing - I just do not know as I have not experienced issues or even experimented.
As to your RAM question in your case using 32bit OS then putting more RAM in will gain you nothing as Windows 32bit can only access up to 4GB maximum (actual figure wil be around 3.5GB). Only by moving to 64bit will give you the benefit of adding memory above 4GB. In the case of Windows 7 depending on version I believe the maximum amount of RAM is from 8GB to 192GB!!!
AFAIK CS5 64bit has a limit of how much memory it will use, this is (I think!) 8GB - so it would seem that for this application it is not worth buying more RAM.
Edit: I believe that this info is incorrect and the 8GB limit does not apply in CS5 at least - Photoshop can use all the memory installed in 64bit.
Being curious just a quick try on the attached image (I know that it is far from a real world photo image example!) Opened to new docs in PS one as 8bit one as 16bit. Picked a random gradient pattern and then applied a series of curve layers (4 in total) to each - trying to match the solid tones between each version. Flattened both images and converted the 16 bit to 8 bit. Save to web at maximum allowed. While it would have been better to do this with a real photograph (perhaps variations in a sky?) It does imo at least show the marked difference between 8 bit and 16 bit converted down.
Last edited by Tony W; 12-05-2010 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Correction memory max
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