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One of the things that Illustrator users have been clamoring for is 64-bit support. Well, in CS6, you're getting your wish. That's right! Illustrator is now a 64-bit application on both the Mac and PC platforms. Now you might be thinking this is an amazing moment or you might be thinking, so what. Let me explain exactly what this means in terms of potential workflow enhancements for you. In previous versions of Illustrator it didn't matter how much RAM you had installed on your machine, because Illustrator was 32-bit, so it couldn't leverage more than 3 GB of RAM in any given time.
This means a lot of out of memory errors and even the occasional crash when you're rasterizing large files or working on multiple files simultaneously. It also meant that applying complex effects like Gaussian blurs and Drop Shadows took an eternity to render. With a 64-bit architecture, Illustrator can now leverage more RAM, which makes the processing time for things like effects and rasterizations much faster. But remember, just because the application is 64-bit doesn't necessarily mean it'll be faster. You have to have the extra RAM to throw out it as well. Let's take a look at the difference between rendering times in CS5 versus CS6.
As you can see, I have the same file open in both applications. I'll select the artwork and I'll apply a drop shadow to everything on the page. Watch how much faster it is in CS6 versus CS5. As you can see, Illustrator CS6 is able to apply the drop shadow in about half the time that CS5 was able to do it. And that's all due to the new 64-bit architecture that's now in place inside the program. So as you work on more complex files or even start to work on multiple files at once, you'll really begin to see the benefits of this new 64-bit framework.
It's a great upgrade that users have been wanting for a long time and it's finally here. But remember, in order to take advantage of it, you have to have a system with enough RAM to throw at it as well.
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