Originally Posted by Stalker
No problem, just use Waterfox.
Well it would be nice to have an official Mozilla supported 64-bit variant.
Originally Posted by W4nderer
There is absolutely no point to a 64-bit web browser.
That's your opinion.
Originally Posted by W4nderer
The first point has nothing to do with 64-bit. It could be compiled with the same options if it was a 32-bit program as well. The final point simply says you notice an instant speed boost from being 64-bit. That couldn't be more false. You would only notice a speed boost if the program is working with such huge amounts of data that hit the edge of what a 32-bit CPU can do and requires workarounds to make it work, or if a program uses more memory than can be allocated to to a 32-bit program. Failing either of those two criteria, being arbitrarily 64-bit is actually detrimental to performance due to the additional overhead.
While you're correct that you won't notice an "instant" speed boost (and I think we all know this is exaggeration), the benchmarks are pretty conclusive: http://www.waterfoxproject.org/benchmarks.php
The additional overhead really isn't even that much of a big deal. Additionally, 64-bit registers could be beneficial to the browser now, or even in the future as the web becomes even more so multimedia intensive and interactive. Things like encoders, decoders, etc will benefit from this.
The x86-64 arch supports more general purpose registers allowing possible speed increases for things like tight loops. A possible improvement (and well, I guess the benchmarks do add some potential proof to this) exists because the processor does then not need to continually fetch data from cache or main memory if the data can be stored right in the registers.
Of course the slight disadvantage is the additional memory requirement due to longer pointers and alignment padding but as mentioned above it isn't that much of a big deal. And in fact, running 32-bit software on an x86-64 capable machine on Windows actually has overhead too - there is both a 64-bit and a 32-bit thread stack which uses more memory and reduces the available address space for a 32-bit process on this architecture.
So, in fact, transition to 64-bit can technically give a performance benefit even if the application does not work with huge amounts of data. It's not all about using 34GB of RAM
A common misnomer is that 64-bit architecture is no better than 32-bit unless the computer has more than 4GB of RAM, or the program uses more than 4GB of RAM (or in practice the address space for a 32-bit process is generally lower due to operating system requirements and address fragmentation). Which brings another point: 64-bit processes will suffer less from address space fragmentation and can take advantage of the low fragmentation heap in Windows (starting with Windows Vista, all heap allocations use the LFH allocator by default).
So, in fact - there is plenty of point to a 64-bit browser.
But of course, as the V8 benchmark shows, there is plenty more to do in creating a 64-bit variant Firefox than simply compiling it with a different compiler and different compiler options... which is why I was hoping for a Mozilla release, because they'd be properly (hopefully!) optimizing the source for 64-bit.