Adobe CS5 on Mac to be Intel-only, Cocoa, 64-bit native

Following Apple's lead of dropping the ageing PowerPC architecture for Snow Leopard, Adobe have outlined its plans for a PPC-free future in a recent blog entry. The next iteration of its Creative Suite, popular among designers and the like, will not only be going Intel-only, but will also be rewritten in Cocoa for 64-bit native support, a requirement for Adobe after Apple previously revealed they had scrapped plans for a 64-bit Carbon.

John Nack is keen to point out that "the very youngest PPC-based Macs will be roughly four years old" by the time the software is released, giving us a timeframe of either late this year or early next year. With certain PowerPCs still competitively performing up against today's tech, is this all far too soon? Maybe, but Adobe's (and most likely Apple's) rationale is that "if you haven't upgraded your workstation in four years, you're probably not in a rush to upgrade your software, either". While support for PowerPC would be nice for those without the funds to upgrade their hardware, costs and benefits have to be factored into development, and it appears Adobe have decided the market simply isn't big enough to warrant continued development for the platform.

Adobe also hints towards more information regarding its other apps, such as Flash Player and Adobe Reader, in the near future. Hopefully the next iteration of Flash Player will be more optimised for the Mac platform, as the current content player has a reputation for high CPU usage among Mac users.

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Holy crap information and even crappier corrections...

1) Win95 was a 32bit OS, but DID NOT DROP support for Win16 or 16bit applications. Even Win7 32bit has a full 16bit subsystem, just like the original NT 3.1 back in 1992 did. (NT has ALWAYS been 32bit and 64bit going back to the Alpha versions in the mid 90s.)

2) Yes 64bit DOES matter, and it is NOT just about 64bit address space.

The whole myth regarding 64bit just offering more memory address space was first started by Intel to 'knock down' the AMD64 technology, which Intel later retracted when their EMT64 was finally released.

The myth was further perpetuated by APPLE, because OS X is NOT a 64bit OS, and the only 64bit support in OS X is memory address space, as the applications do not get the native 64bit modes of the CPU because of the 32bit OS. So of course Apple wants people to believe 64bit is only about 'address space' and completely dismisses the all the 64bit CPU optimizations, let alone the number crunching that happens when you are slamming two 64bit operations together.

Even 32bit applicaitons benefit from a 'real' 64bit OS, as the OS can dual write/read memory for the 32bit applications, and shove two 32bit writes or reads into one operation. (Like XP 64bit, Vista 64bit, or Win7 64bit can do because they are REAL 64bit OSes all the way.)

3) Adobe moving to 64bit on OS X is a big move, and is SAD because it could have happened last year like it did for Windows Adobe users. The Windows platform offers a very clean and easy way to move forward to 64bit.

OS X was supposed to allow simple migration to newer technology and this is where Apple screwed Adobe and other developers with the Carbon nightmare that Apple 'promised' would be fully moved to 64bit, and later decided they couldn't do it, and left Adobe with a dead end development product cycle.

This is where Apple's lack of innovation and delivering 'platform' technologies to developers shows their weaknesses.

4) More important than 64bit, and when OS X finally becomes a real 64bit OS, is about OS X getting a good SMP kernel model. (Go look up Funnel Locks OS X). Right now the OS X kernel hybrid was designed around fighting with the inherent flaws in the Mach/BSD implementation that created queue locks on a single processor and in the process they destroyed OS X's SMP capabilities.

Let alone drivers, but even an Application can lock the kernel and prevent a multi-core or multi-CPU system from processing on the additional cores/processors due to the queue lock mechanisms Apple added to offset the non pre-emptive queue locks of the kernel.

This stuff drives me nuts, as people truly do buy an 8 core Xeon based Mac, and then don't realize that a lot of the time, the OS and applications are only using ONE FREAKING CPU CORE as the others are locked from use by applications or the OS itself.

In the Linux and Windows world, this seems so incredibily insane that most people don't realize that this is how OS X works, especially since Linux and Windows (NT) have not had these type of locks EVER, and can easily ALWAYS be using all CPUs available to the OS. This is what runs through my miind when you see an Apple blurb about 'think different', different as in short bus different.

Additional, irony, the code Apple has in the OS X kernel to improve single CPU multi-tasking that created the horrid SMP peformance and locking STILL lacks behind the Linux and Windows NT kernel level tasking abilities on single cores as well. Ouch...

5) 64bit Flash... Ok, the responses on this topic are really stupid. THE REASON PEOPLE WANT A 64bit VERSION OF FLASH IS SO THEY CAN RUN NATIVE 64bit BROWSERS AND STILL USE AND SEE FLASH CONTENT. A Native 64bit browser cannot use Flash because Flash is 32bit - there are thunking exceptions - but virtually nobdoy does this.

It is NOT about wanting a 64bit version of Flash for performance as Flash shouldn't be a 'heavy' application needing the extra power in the first place.

6) Flash performance - Yes it SUCKS horribly, no matter how powerful your processor is. Your playback will consume the same % of CPU and play as horribly on an i7 9xx CPU as it will on a Atom 270.

Adobe's Flash is horribly coded, and interestingingly, as you have more 'core' or CPUs, it gets worse as it tries to flip threads to the additional cores and does a freaking horrible job. This is why ESPECIALLY HyperThreaded enabled CPU get hit hard, as the 'virtual' HT cores are not full cores but the Flash Developers are NOT BRIGHT enough to figure this out and will try to flip threads to the HT cores that bring the system to its knees. (And we aren't just talking a P4 w/HT or an Atom, but also the new i7 CPUs with HT.)

And though HT CPUs are hit the hardest, even Core Duos that are just true cores with no HT, also take a load from Flash's horrid programming and 'attempts' at multi-threading.

Want a fun test, throw Silverlight and Flash on the screen at the same time, watch Flash eat the CPU and still stutter and Silverlight play smoothly without maxing out your CPU. (And this is even more true with streaming Video at HD, as you can play full Silverlight HD content on a Atom 270 Netbook, and Flash will give you a stobe effect.)

7) Adobe admitted this before, and it is still true. If you want the most performance out of Adobe production applications, the Windows versions will run faster than the OS X versions (and this has nothing to do with PowerPC legacy code, and more to do with OS X being 32bit and other things like its horrid multi-CPU support.

(Back to the multi-CPU/SMP performance in OS X, notice that Snow Leopard ADVERTISES 'support' for multi-core CPUS, and if that don't get your attention do the "Kernel Funnel lock OS X" search.)

Really? My Core 2 Duo clocked at 2.16GHz can barely handle YouTube videos, didn't know Quad Cores did the same!

I think Flash will consume the same certain amount of % of CPU no matter what CPU you have. This is flawed programming.

PsykX said,
Really? My Core 2 Duo clocked at 2.16GHz can barely handle YouTube videos, didn't know Quad Cores did the same!

I think Flash will consume the same certain amount of % of CPU no matter what CPU you have. This is flawed programming.

With that CPU you can barely handle Youtube videos? Now that has nothing to do with Flash not being 64bit. Perhaps you should do a defrag.

Xam_Remny said,

With that CPU you can barely handle Youtube videos? Now that has nothing to do with Flash not being 64bit. Perhaps you should do a defrag.

Yes, streaming video over the internet requires fast hard drive access. It is obviously not inefficient coding by Adobe, but rather your hard drive that is causing your videos to stutter. This is all sarcasm by the way.

Well, considering Adobe releases new versions of Photoshop about as frequent as Microsoft releases security patches I'm sure people still using PPC will be fine with whatever current version they have.

I really hope it's a big rewrite of the whole Creative Suite. I hate CS4, it's a buggy POS. I even told my boss that we should not upgrade to it, ever (currently on CS3). So if Adobe wants our money they need to do several things:

  • Ditch the non-native fake windows. They are the reason for many of the bugs and they don't add anything to the software.
  • Have the user interfaces uniform across apps. It's ridiculous that the keyboard shortcuts for the same things are different across their programs and even things like font menus are totally different in say Illustrator and Photoshop.
  • Especially for OSX they should make it possible to simply drag the apps you want to your Applications folder, none of this crappy installer business. Not to mention the apps should not be a folder that has the app icon and then you need to open that to find the actual app. That's not how things are done in OSX. Respect the UI guidelines.

They really need to get their act together. Hopefully they'll also finally get Flash Player working well on OSX. The CPU time it takes now is ridiculous at times.

Adobe Creative suite has a lifecycle of around 18 months.

CS4 was out mid October 2008, so CS5 should be here problably around February/March 2010.

Owenw said,
64-BIT ADOBE FLASH PLEASE

Why??? Flash uses so little memory it wouldn't make a difference. Flash's performance issues have nothing to do with its 32-bit architecture.

sphbecker said,
Why??? Flash uses so little memory it wouldn't make a difference. Flash's performance issues have nothing to do with its 32-bit architecture.


64 bit browsers with 100s of tabs open with flash support (and don't say no one opens 100s of tabs, i know ppl doing that)

Aokromes said,
64 bit browsers with 100s of tabs open with flash support (and don't say no one opens 100s of tabs, i know ppl doing that)

100s? nah. Maybe closer to 15 at once.

Regardless of those tabs having Flash inside them or not, if you've got 100 tabs open it's time to get rid of at least 80 of those tabs you forgot to close or don't need anymore...

Thanks God! It's about time Adobe releases something so "standard" on the Mac platform! I see a lot of speed increases on the way... I might restart using Photoshop if it's good enough

I can't see adobe scrapping 32bit windows version until 2014 when XP stops being supported by MS as XP is incredibly popular by end users and businesses, most businesses will stick to XP for the next few years as it works fine, they would be losing alot of sales if they didnt make new versions for 32bit win. Also those laptops that come with 32bit vista or 32bit win7 wouldn't be able to use it, they would be very angry.

good move about not making a 32bit version for macs tho, its been 4yrs, time for ppl to move with the times.

I thought it was native 64bit on Windows (and comes with the 32bit too)??

How about make Flash player x64 on Windows? Now that would be good!

Only Photoshop is 64bit at the moment in CS4, its a huge gain when I working on 10x8 feet 300dpi boards.

Im presuming CS5 is planned to be 64bit on Windows too???

I know this article is for CS5 on Macs but I want to know if all apps will be x64 native for the Windows version?

They run, yes. But with an app like Photoshop, running *in* 64-bit would be important, not just being able to run on top of a 64-bit OS.

Don't they already on Windows? well at least Photoshop CS4 has a 64-bit native version, unless it's not really 64-bit??

CS4 comes with a native 64 bit version of Photoshop (you have both) which performs some tasks slightly faster than the 32 bit version (when working with huge files that are in the GB's). As far as the rest of the apps, I don't see much benefit from having them in 64 bit flavor other than their video production apps. Flash Builder, Flex Builder, Dreamweaver, etc should perform pretty much the same as their 32bit counterparts and I doubt Ms will drop 32 bit support for years (Win 8 should have 32 bit support as far as we know so far) so my guess would be at least another 5 - 6 years at least before any remote possibility from MS dropping 32 bits which I personally still doubt but you never know...

Actually 64-bit provides advantages other than memory usage or working with large files. It can provide very significant advantages due to the availability of additional registers, among other optimizations made in the AMD64 instruction set, especially for cases with tight loops and such.

We should be lucky if MS doesn't drop 32-bit with Win8. Remember, with Windows 95 they dropped 16-bit straight. Then again, the performance increase of Win95 over Win3.x was so great, why shouldn't they?

Obry said,
As far as the rest of the apps, I don't see much benefit from having them in 64 bit flavor other than their video production apps.

I experience bigger slowdowns with large files in Illustrator and Fireworks than I do in PS. It makes sense that moving around a massive vector will be more intensive than moving around a similar raster.

Brandon Live said,
Actually 64-bit provides advantages other than memory usage or working with large files. It can provide very significant advantages due to the availability of additional registers, among other optimizations made in the AMD64 instruction set, especially for cases with tight loops and such.

only if several factors are aligned to strengh the use of 64bits.

Let's say, if you want to use a 64bits floating point, in theory, in a 64bits machine it can be done in a single step, but if the compiler is not quite compatible (consider 64bits as = two step of 32bits or ignoring the extension), of if the library and instruction works considering it as a 32 bits, then you can't obtain any advantage of it.

First let me make a few corrections.

Definitely not. That will only maybe happen when Windows cuts out x86 completely.

No, software can be written in native 64 bit for Windows now but as long as 32 bit dominates the Windows install base it would be silly to do so. Expect 32 bit support to continue for at least 10 years.

We should be lucky if MS doesn't drop 32-bit with Win8. Remember, with Windows 95 they dropped 16-bit straight. Then again, the performance increase of Win95 over Win3.x was so great, why shouldn't they?

Um...No. It wasn't until very recently MS dropped 16-bit support, and only in their 64-bit flavors. Vista's 32-bit OS can still run old DOS and Win3.x 16-bit applications just fine. If I am not mistaken even Windows 7 in the 32-bit version can to.

As of now software venders have very little reason to write 64-bit code. The advantages are slim unless the app is extremely memory intensive. The disadvantage is that application could not run on the vast majority of computers still running a 32-bit OS. On the other hand there is no real disadvantage to writing 32-bit code because it runs just fine on a 64 bit OS and as of now the 4GB memory limit (per application if it is a 32-bit app running on a 64-bit OS) isn't that big of a deal. With the exception of design programs like Photoshop and other specialized apps and probably soon high end games I would not expect anyone to write anything in 64-bit until 75+% of all Windows computers can run it. I highly doubt MS will drop 32-bit support anytime soon because much of what holds their customer base in line is legacy support for current applications; you force you customer to find a new app because you dropped support and you risk them also considering another OS.

sphbecker said,
Um...No. It wasn't until very recently MS dropped 16-bit support, and only in their 64-bit flavors. Vista's 32-bit OS can still run old DOS and Win3.x 16-bit applications just fine. If I am not mistaken even Windows 7 in the 32-bit version can to.

Um...No. Bemani_Dog never said anything about 16-bit SUPPORT. There was no 16-bit Windows 95 was there? No. MS made Windows 95 and decided not to make a 16-bit version. When they made Windows Vista and 7, they made both 32-bit AND 64-bit. So what he said is correct, because they dropped their 16-bit offerings on their new OS rather than supporting both like they are now.

Magallanes said,
only if several factors are aligned to strengh the use of 64bits.

Let's say, if you want to use a 64bits floating point, in theory, in a 64bits machine it can be done in a single step, but if the compiler is not quite compatible (consider 64bits as = two step of 32bits or ignoring the extension), of if the library and instruction works considering it as a 32 bits, then you can't obtain any advantage of it.

Well actually benefiting from the AMD64 instruction set is quite easy, and doesn't require large memory consuming files or work with 64 bit native types. Since the AMD64 instruction set adds quite a few - important - optimizations writing in native x64 will grant you access to useful optimizations, even for simpler programs.

People always forget to mention the other, important optimizations.

With x86-64 you get 16 registers as compared to the 8 you get in x86, since 4 is reserved, you actually get 3 times as many to work with. That is quite an advantage. The SSE registers are also doubled from 8 to 16.

Besides the instruction sets enables for true position independent code with the ability to reference data relative to the IP.

And that is only to mention a few of the optimizations. So the illusion that 64bit only has advantages when dealing with really memory consuming files, and 64 bit primitives, is not true.

Sounds good. Maybe it will be snappier without all the legacy code.

Also goes without saying: If you can afford Creative Suite, you can afford an updated Mac.

I figured I'd say that before people start flaming Apple (for whatever unrelated reason) and Adobe.

Escalade_GT said,
Sounds good. Maybe it will be snappier without all the legacy code.

Also goes without saying: If you can afford Creative Suite, you can afford an updated Mac.

I figured I'd say that before people start flaming Apple (for whatever unrelated reason) and Adobe. :D

As a company with 150 mac users - I think not...

oufc_gav said,
As a company with 150 mac users - I think not...

Yes, but are you going to upgrade all 150 Mac users to the latest CS5? Probably not.

Those few that will actually really need the CS5 version have probably already been upgraded to Intel Macs. This is the point Adobe and Apple are trying to make.

I always buy a computer thinking it will be useful for 2 years, 3 tops. I find it even crazier than mac people would think a top of the line 5 year old machine is sufficient for anything other than the software release at that time frame.

There comes a time, you have to upgrade, not to mention you will get rid on that yellowish machine you own. Give it to your kids so they can suffer!

Vakerorokero said,
I always buy a computer thinking it will be useful for 2 years, 3 tops. I find it even crazier than mac people would think a top of the line 5 year old machine is sufficient for anything other than the software release at that time frame.

There comes a time, you have to upgrade, not to mention you will get rid on that yellowish machine you own. Give it to your kids so they can suffer!


Good lord. i think you've just discovered 7/8ths of the reason why people "hated" Vista. They attempted to run new-age software on old-ass hardware.

LiquidSolstice said,


Good lord. i think you've just discovered 7/8ths of the reason why people "hated" Vista. They attempted to run new-age software on old-ass hardware.

Probably. The last 1/8th was vista sucking so bad.