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View Full Version : Snow Leopard 64-bit Kernel and Parallels 4 64-bit Windows



precedia
09-12-2009, 05:33 PM
Curiosity got the best of me. Snow Leopard defaults to using a 32-bit kernel but allows 64-bit applications to run. Holding down the '6' and '4' key during boot enables the 64-bit kernel.

Impressive compatibility. Attached are a few screenshots.

The most impressive surprise: Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac (Build 4.0.3846) runs when booting into the 64-bit kernel, running Windows 64-bit Vista, running LightWave 3D 64-bit, using all 8 cores of my Mac Pro. Stop and think about that stack....

LightWave 9.6 for Mac 32-bit runs under the 64-bit kernel.

What's more amazing is Parallels support for 64-bit Windows works as well as support for 8 cores. Here's a breakdown of the attached screenshots.

s1.png -- Task Manager showing "kernel_task" running as 64-bit. Note LightWave3D running as a 32-bit application. It recognized my USB dongle.

s2.png -- System Profiler confirming the 64-bit kernel (highlighted).

s3.png -- LightWave 3D 9.6 runs no better or no worse on the 64-bit kernel.

s4.png -- VMWare Fusion for Mac fails to run on the 64-bit kernel but gives an appropriate error message.

s5.png -- Task Manager showing 64-bit kernel and Parallels running as a 32-bit process.

<Images in next post as I hit my 5 screenshot limit>

s6.png -- Parallels 4.0 with my virtual machine configured to use all 8 cores (experimental support in Parallels); works just fine.

s8.jpg -- And now the biggie. Follow this one. 64-bit Snow Leopard kernel. 32-bit Parallels Desktop application. 64-bit Windows running inside Parallels. 64-bit LightWave 3D running inside 64-bit Windows. All 8 cores being used during a render. You can see the Windows Task manager showing all 8 cores being used and Snow Leopard's Activity Monitor showing all 8 cores being used.

Experiments show the 64-bit LightWave running under 64-bit Windows running inside Parallels 4.0 with 8 cores enabled almost as fast as under native windows.

Amazing.

Daniel

precedia
09-12-2009, 05:34 PM
Last two screenshots:

s6.png -- Parallels 4.0 with my virtual machine configured to use all 8 cores (experimental support in Parallels); works just fine.

s8.jpg -- And now the biggie. Follow this one. 64-bit Snow Leopard kernel. 32-bit Parallels Desktop application. 64-bit Windows running inside Parallels. 64-bit LightWave 3D running inside 64-bit Windows. All 8 cores being used during a render. You can see the Windows Task manager showing all 8 cores being used and Snow Leopard's Activity Monitor showing all 8 cores being used.

Daniel

jwiede
09-12-2009, 11:14 PM
Not really that surprising. Compute-centric user-mode apps (such as LW while rendering) incur very little overhead with VMX (Intel) / SVM (AMD) hardware virtualization. When you start pushing viewport performance (and thus graphics stack performance), that's when you'll start to see a real performance hit versus native execution.

64-bit XP typically virtualizes more efficiently than 32-bit XP, so you're better off testing Windows apps on 64-bit XP (even if they're 32-bit apps, I suspect). It has to do with how 32-bit XP accesses certain CPU resources, which 64-bit XP accesses in a way that causes much less virtualization overhead. Less true with Vista and Win7, as they've become more virtualization-aware in their 32-bit versions.

avkills
09-13-2009, 06:04 AM
Why the bragging about using 8 cores; we can do that with the 32bit version also. The only gain to brag about is being able to address loads of memory.

-mark

virtualcomposer
09-13-2009, 09:52 AM
Now can I start Leapard this way as well? I thought Apple said Leapard was a true 64 bit as well.

precedia
09-13-2009, 10:40 AM
Not really that surprising.

I was surprised because I thought the 32-bit Parallels application would fail just like VMWare.

VMWare (32-bit) failed to run and gave a notifier stating one needs to boot into 32-bit kernel mode. That did not surprise me as I assumed they relied upon 32-bit kernel extensions.

So either Parallels (32-bit) doesn't utilize kernel extensions (I thought it would) or however they are implementing virtualization appears to work with both a 32-bit kernel and a 64-bit Snow Leopard kernel. That was the surprising part. And a pleasant surprise, not that I'll continue to boot into the 64-bit kernel but an interesting tidbit for anyone needing to run Parallels on a 64-bit kernel.

Daniel

precedia
09-13-2009, 10:47 AM
Now can I start Leapard this way as well? I thought Apple said Leapard was a true 64 bit as well.

I do not believe you can boot Leopard into a 64-bit kernel as it ships with a 32-bit kernel; only Snow Leopard.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=80285

precedia
09-13-2009, 10:59 AM
Why the bragging about using 8 cores; we can do that with the 32bit version also. The only gain to brag about is being able to address loads of memory.

No bragging; just surprised Parallels worked in 64-bit kernel mode.

What started all of this was a buggy LightWave 9.6 for Mac. I had scenes that were crashing when rendering on my Mac Pro (FiberFX related). I am so ready for 9.6.1 on the Mac and keeping my fingers crossed.

In addition, I was trying to render a large poster and getting memory errors on my 32-bit LightWave for Mac (unable to allocate segment memory).

Since I had a second Mac Pro without Boot Camp configured and I had a parallels virtual machine with Vista 64-bit handy, I thought I would give it a try.

Surprisingly, with the experimental 8 core support in Parallels and being able to virtualize Vista 64-bit, I was able to get my high-resolution print render done inside of Parallels at a render time almost identical to having booted into Windows via Boot Camp.

Some time ago I tried VMWare Fusion, but it only supports at most 2 cores (not the 8 that Parallels supports). Note to people looking to make a purchase.

Then I went one step further (out of curiosity) and tinkered with booting into Snow Leopard's 64-bit kernel to see if Parallels or VMWare would fail or work. I naively assumed they both would fail. Surprisingly, VMWare failed but Parallels continued to work. So here I am reporting this tidbit.

Long story short, if anyone is like me and doesn't want to leave the Mac OS X environment but has some crashing scenes on Mac or large print renders that require LightWave 64-bit for Windows, you are good to go using Parallels (independent of whether you boot into a 32-bit or 64-bit kernel for Snow Leopard).

Just a tidbit of information. I assume many probably just boot into Vista 64-bit natively and go from there (if they are having the LightWave Mac issues that I seem to attract).

Daniel

toby
09-13-2009, 12:03 PM
Just a tidbit of information. I assume many probably just boot into Vista 64-bit natively and go from there (if they are having the LightWave Mac issues that I seem to attract).
Daniel
That is good news. I have no interest in booting Windows, but if I do get a new computer soon, it'll have Snow Leopard on it. History tells us that LW on the mac is always 'unfinished' shall we say, so even after we get 9.6.1 it may be necessary to run it in windows.

About the ram limit of 32bit - I wish NT would implement some texture streaming. Studios using renderman and mental ray have been using multiple gigabytes of textures on 32bit systems, long before there were 64 bit systems. There are plugins that let us do it in LW ( Infinimap for unlimited texture size, VirtualRender for unlimited render size) but people either don't know about them or can't afford them, so we all fall back on the 'band-aid' approach, throw 64bit and more ram at it.

virtualcomposer
09-13-2009, 02:41 PM
I do not believe you can boot Leopard into a 64-bit kernel as it ships with a 32-bit kernel; only Snow Leopard.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=80285

Then why did they tell us 64-bit when Leopard first came out? Maybe I misunderstood.

precedia
09-13-2009, 08:58 PM
Then why did they tell us 64-bit when Leopard first came out? Maybe I misunderstood.

I cannot speak for Apple's marketing department, but they appear to pander to the 99% of people running their software.

Leopard could run 64-bit applications which made it "64 bit." However, the kernel was 32-bit.

Now Snow Leopard is out, but still defaults to a 32-bit kernel (except on an XServe) capable of running 64-bit applications, but now has the option to run the kernel also in 64-bits.

I don't think it was wrong to tell folks Leopard was 64-bit when it could run 64-bit user-level applications.

Not many people need, nor care about, a 64-bit kernel implementation. More do care about, I believe, 64-bit user-level applications (such as LightWave).

Daniel

eblu
09-13-2009, 11:21 PM
and to add to precedia's post...
Apple ships Snow leopard with a 32 bit kernel by default for 1 reason.

hardware vendors haven't shipped compatible software yet, and anyone who is trying to extend the kernel (KEXT files) will unceremoniously fail.
But even as the kernel is not 64 bit, the os IS. applications compiled to run at 64 bit... will. apple did not lie about Snow leopard being 64 bit, and they aren't doing anything to hobble the os NOW. They are simply giving hardware vendors a little notice before they pull the plug on their Kernel Extensions.

avkills
09-14-2009, 11:30 PM
No bragging; just surprised Parallels worked in 64-bit kernel mode.

What started all of this was a buggy LightWave 9.6 for Mac. I had scenes that were crashing when rendering on my Mac Pro (FiberFX related). I am so ready for 9.6.1 on the Mac and keeping my fingers crossed.

In addition, I was trying to render a large poster and getting memory errors on my 32-bit LightWave for Mac (unable to allocate segment memory).

Since I had a second Mac Pro without Boot Camp configured and I had a parallels virtual machine with Vista 64-bit handy, I thought I would give it a try.

Surprisingly, with the experimental 8 core support in Parallels and being able to virtualize Vista 64-bit, I was able to get my high-resolution print render done inside of Parallels at a render time almost identical to having booted into Windows via Boot Camp.

Some time ago I tried VMWare Fusion, but it only supports at most 2 cores (not the 8 that Parallels supports). Note to people looking to make a purchase.

Then I went one step further (out of curiosity) and tinkered with booting into Snow Leopard's 64-bit kernel to see if Parallels or VMWare would fail or work. I naively assumed they both would fail. Surprisingly, VMWare failed but Parallels continued to work. So here I am reporting this tidbit.

Long story short, if anyone is like me and doesn't want to leave the Mac OS X environment but has some crashing scenes on Mac or large print renders that require LightWave 64-bit for Windows, you are good to go using Parallels (independent of whether you boot into a 32-bit or 64-bit kernel for Snow Leopard).

Just a tidbit of information. I assume many probably just boot into Vista 64-bit natively and go from there (if they are having the LightWave Mac issues that I seem to attract).

Daniel

Interesting. From my experience though, I really like Fusion better than Parallels.

I'm sure VMWare is on it though.

-mark

POTO2220
09-15-2009, 02:27 PM
macs have been 64 bit capable since right around the powerpc dump.

toby
09-15-2009, 03:01 PM
my 2003 G5 has 64 bit procs, but it can't run snow leopard :P

DrStrik9
09-15-2009, 06:11 PM
I installed 10.6 early, had some issues, but have found workarounds so far ...

... Installed 10.6.1 when it was available.

Today, I needed to render in LW at 14,000 x 14,000, which under 32-bit is impossible, no matter how much ram you have (I have 10 GB).

So I downloaded that little app called "32- or 64-bit Kernel Startup Selector" (available free at http://www.ahatfullofsky.comuv.com/English/Programs/SMS/SMS.html). -- It says it's version 1.3.3, but it's actually version 1.4.0.

Using that app, I set my startup to 64-bit, restarted 10.6.1 in 64-bit, ran LW HC (2003), opened my LW scene, set my render size to 14,000 x 14,000 ...

... and VOILA! :-) I got this very LARGE image to render, all in one step, without having to use the Master and View Cameras and a whole bunch of trig calculations. Woo-HOO!!

HC did quit once unexpectedly, but it did the job without a hitch on the second try. It is apparently necessary to do all the object creation, texturing, lighting, and scene set-up in 9.6, since in HC 2003 I was unable to set the anti-aliasing (I used the classic cam, with 9 AA, but no matter what I put in the AA field in HC, it always said "1".) This worried me at first, but the large final render WAS appropriately anti-aliased. :-)

The final file size (24-bit Photoshop doc) was just under half a gig in size. :-)