Media Player - 32-bit better than 64-bit ? (resolved)

Discuss anything related to portable freeware here.
Post Reply
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:25 pm

Media Player - 32-bit better than 64-bit ? (resolved)

#1 Post by Stoik » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:17 am

Normally, I upgrade all software from 32-bit to 64-bit without hesitation, but I have a scenario here
which makes me wonder if it is perhaps better to stay with a 32-bit version (on a 64-bit system).

I am classical portable freeware user, with a media player on a USB stick,
which I use on different PC. My preferred media player is Sm Player (64-bit),
whose core engine is actually MPlayer. This is like those many media editors or converters,
where the handler program (such as XMedia Recode) uses a certain core engine (such as FFmpeg).

Here is where I ran into my dilemma: I started using some extra commands (via command-line)
for MPlayer via Sm Player (it allows that via Preferences), such as: unsharp masking, deband, quaility denoise, etc.
About the same time, I realized the my core engine MPlayer is 32-bit, so I upgraded it to 64-bit (for "better perfomance").
Now, if I use more than one extra command, my video begins to "stutter" on certain PCs only (those with less CPU power),
and by "stutter" I actually mean an audio-video desynchronization - audio beginns to lag behind video by a few seconds or more.

Analysis: should I just blame the extra commands, or did the 64-bit version contribute to the "stutter" at all ?
I do not have the right tools or the right knowledge to answer this. That is why I am posting this here.

Theories: (1) I know that a 32-bit version would likely lead to slower processing of CPU-intensive tasks, such as re-encoding videos. This "delay" would not show in video conversion (the conversion would just complete a bit later), but would likely show in a live perfomance - such as playing or broadcasting videos - as a "stutter" or with audio lagging behind video. According to this theory, a 32-bit version is more likely to cause the video "stutter" or audio-video desynchronization than a 64-bit version. The only reason I did not see this before is because I was not using multiple commands. Stay with the 64-bit version ! (2) On the contrary, a 64-bit application is more resource intensive on a 64-bit system (it uses the full potential of the system), and this higher use or resources contributed to the video "stutter" (together with the use of multiple commands). Switch back to the 32-bit version of the MPlayer core engine and the video "stutter" will be less likely to occur.

Which of the two theories is correct ?
Can You think of any other example where there is a benefit in keeping a 32-bit version of anything on a 64-bit system ?

I know that John Haller was slow to jump on the 64-bit "band-wagon", did You see some examples in his forum ?
Last edited by Stoik on Thu May 03, 2018 2:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 1974
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:19 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Media Player - 32-bit better than 64-bit ?

#2 Post by SYSTEM » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:05 am

For video playback, the most likely reason for differences is that some developers have written highly optimized decoding/postprocessing code in assembly. It's possible that someone wrote such code only as 32-bit, and 64-bit builds use slower, generic code instead. Alternatively, it's possible that optimized assembly exists both for 32-bit and 64-bit processors, but the 64-bit code is buggy.
My YouTube channel | Release date of my 13th playlist: August 24, 2020

User avatar
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:44 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Media Player - 32-bit better than 64-bit ?

#3 Post by JohnTHaller » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:42 pm

The majority of apps still have no noticeable increase in performance to an end user in day to day usage. As SYSTEM said, there are likely even some rare exceptions where highly optimized 32-bit code exists and the newer 64-bit branch of that code hasn't gotten the same optimization love as the older 32-bit code (possibly because one developer did those optimizations and is no longer with the project or hasn't had time to do the same for the 64-bit versions). A 64-bit build doesn't usually just mean compiling for 64-bit and it works better. Look at Firefox 64-bit which was demonstrably slower than the 32-bit version for the first year or two it existed. sticks to the 32-bit versions of many apps so they work everywhere but we package what we call "dual mode apps" (32-bit and 64-bit together with the launcher automatically selecting the correct one and adjusting settings to work with both) when it makes sense to. This includes when there is a noticeable performance increase without a huge increase in install size (7-Zip gets about a 9% increase for about a 5MB increase in install size), when a publisher recommends the 64-bit versions by default and there is some usable increase in functionality (Firefox gets slightly better CSS/JS and can handle more tabs), when it adds additional features (Notepad2 can open much larger files in 64-bit mode), or when it's required (Peerblock uses system-specific drivers based on operating system version and bit depth). There is a certain level of placebo effect to it, too. I've had a few users ask in the last few months if Firefox Portable could be switched to 64-bit so it would work as fast as they'd like, not knowing that Firefox Portable had been running in 64-bit mode on their system since the end of 2015. - The open standard for portable software | Support Net Neutrality

Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:25 pm

Re: Media Player - 32-bit better than 64-bit ?

#4 Post by Stoik » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:57 am

Thank You, System and JohnTHaller !

From You comments I gather that the most likely causes for my "a-v video desynch" problem is:
either highly optimized decoding/post-processing code, or a buggy 64-bit code in the 64-bit software version.

I decided to have two parallel Sm Player versions right next to each other on the same thumb-drive :
one with the 32-bit MPlayer, and another with the 64-bit player.

Then, when I run into another "stuttering video" on a specific PC with smaller CPU power,
I will compare the two Sm Player versions, and post a feed-back here.

Thanks again !

Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:25 pm

Re: Media Player - 32-bit better than 64-bit ?

#5 Post by Stoik » Wed May 02, 2018 5:55 am

After testing this further on several PCs,
I concluded that John Haller was right :
32-bit vs 64-bit made no noticeable or significant difference in overexerting resources (e.g. CPU),
the key factor was the number of commands used via command-line (e.g. 2 commands roughly doubled the resources).

User avatar
Posts: 9876
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:06 pm
Location: US, Texas

Re: Media Player - 32-bit better than 64-bit ?

#6 Post by webfork » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:53 am

Stoik wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 5:55 am
32-bit vs 64-bit made no noticeable or significant difference in overexerting resources (e.g. CPU),
I'm about a year too late to respond to this but maybe it will be useful to someone ...

Really there are only two applications that see major performance jumps by moving to 64-bit: large database applications and biological simulations. So if you're running either of those, they really need to be in 64-bit or you're wasting time and electricity. Otherwise, there's not much benefit beyond some security benefits that I think revolved around not being backwards-compatible with 32-bit malware.

For some perspective, multi-processor systems have been available for consumers since the 90s, but few applications know what to do with that, much less multi-threaded or multi-core processors. Similarly, I've seen only a few programs spend time on 64-bit optimizations in the past few years, even as it's become almost ubiquitous (even most smart watches are 64-bit).

User avatar
Posts: 5935
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Sol3

Re: Media Player - 32-bit better than 64-bit ? (resolved)

#7 Post by Midas » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:57 am

I have a related problem with an old Samsung UMPC (from around 2000; remember those?) that I wanted to re-purpose as a media player by installing some kind of slim Linux onto it.

The processor is a 1GHz Core M by Intel which doesn't support 64-bit OSes (it came with 32-bit Vista, which I downgraded to XP posthaste, since the former was practically unusable). In fact, it doesn't even support 32-bit ones anymore, since apparently all of them require so-called PAE extensions. I was lucky to get a couple of old distros (Ubuntu, Bhodi) from the time running. But then they fail to install for lack of appropriate SATA drivers (as well as the required supplementary tech savvy of the tweaker)... :|

Post Reply