10074: Can I use FBS on Windows 64-bit systems?

FBS will remain a 32-bit programme family for the foreseeable future. It is, however, known that FBS runs on down-compatible processors under Win64, also with iRFP.

In the past it was always the case that the programmes ran faster with processors with "more bits" - 16-bit computers were faster than 8-bit computers and those with 32-bit faster than those with 16. Now, are 64-bit computer faster than 32-bit computer? Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

If it is only about the "processor width" - that is, how many bits the processor can process at the same time - then the doubling of 32 to 64 bit is useless. The magnitude of the numbers that we encounter in everyday life does not increase at will. This is the decisive difference between the 32-bit limit and the 16- or 8-bit limit: while 256 is very quickly exceeded, 65536 is already sufficient for all known characters in the world and also for coordinates of screen or high-colour-images.

And for most applications, just 32 bits (about 4 billion) are enough - especially for numbers that FBS usually has to expect, such as distances, slopes, power from traction vehicles, etc. Even with such figures as the length of the Trans-Siberian railway in meters (about 9,4 million) "broadening" from 32 to 64 bits, just means 32 “front”-zeros – twice the needed disk space without any advantage. 64-bit programmes therefore require at least 25-30% more memory, which can cause 64-bit programmes to run slower than their 32-bit counterparts.

Concerning addressable memory instead of pure "processor width" it looks different. Most 32-bit processors can directly address 4 gigabytes; under Windows 2 GB are available for applications. This is sufficient for the previously known FBS networks alone. If several very large FBS networks are to be open at the same time and other, memory-hungry programmes are running, the 4-gigabyte boundary does not appear so far away. This is the real advantage of 64-bit computers - the larger addressable memory and not the "processor width".

For FBS as well as for many other "normal" applications, a 64-bit processor is comparatively uninteresting. The larger possible storage space of a 64-bit computer might be interesting, though rather for networks above the scale of national railways upwards. However, a speed gain within FBS may not be expected. In order to benefit from the possible advantages, a specially adapted execution environment, a consistent adaptation of the operating system and external and internal design of data and address bus would be necessary in addition to a corresponding processor. With regard to the downward compatibility, this will probably not be possible in the coming years.

Therefore, the conversion from FBS to a pure 64-bit programme is not yet foreseeable. With little or no use, we focus on more important, new content, which, in our experience, is closer to the requirements of the users.

Last update on 21.03.2024 by iRFP Support.

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