The BF is mulling on whether to drop support for 32 bit machines
(a general mail on the direction to go in in terms of compiling for Windows, but mentions of dropping x86 (ie. 32 bit support) appears later on.

Many reasons

  • Almost all systems in the last 10 years are 64 bit by nature or are 64 bit capable
  • The maintenance overhead (stemming from the many libraries that Blender uses) is rising fast to keep 32 bit support going, as some throw errors or have other bugs when compiled for such builds.
  • Some features don’t work well or won’t work at all with 32 bits anyway (I can’t imagine trying to use microdisplacement with only 2 gigs of RAM available), this will include important 2.8 features like Eevee.
  • The percentage of Blender users with 32 bit machines is declining rapidly (now at 15 percent or under), far less than what it was just a few years ago.
  • Dropping support will allow the core team to remove many workarounds and make the code cleaner (which also means better and higher quality code maintenance).

It will suck a little for those who are holding out on 32 bits for one reason or another, but they figure that the move will most likely hit schools that use Blender, in which 2.79 will always be available until the machines are upgraded. I imagine this could be the same as when XP support was dropped, needed, but some users didn’t like it anyway.

That’s not to say that people will suddenly need to spend big for a Blender-capable system, as the PC requirements are still pretty conservative as far as 3D applications go. Is this a good move to make now or should it wait until sometime later?

If just about everything manufactured in the last 10 years is 64bit capable, then you won’t have to ‘spend big’ to get in on the action. You can grab something used that is a few years old and still not spend a lot of money. If you are trying to get Blender to run on your old Atom laptop with one GB of RAM then 64 bit compatibility is going to be the least of your worries. The people who are still running 2.48 (I know three!!) aren’t going to be impacted by this anyway.

All that aside, you are going to need a fairly modern machine to take advantage of Eevee and some of the other new features available in 2.8.

Just drop it. The fastest 32bit CPU is slower as the cheapest 64bit CPU today.

There should be a drop every 5 years if necessary. There is no reason to sacrifice Blender for older architecture just because a handful of people have pentium 4 as a daily driver. Same with opengl and eevee. Use higher OpenGL drivers if it will make eevee much better and faster.

Fun fact… Pentium 4 does support 64bit computing :), as in a 17 year old CPU

I wouldnt say every 5 years… especially since CPUs havent increased in terms of performance all that much in the past 5 years. But a procedure for dropping old hardware I think would make it easier for the devs… Because they can point to it and say this hardware will be needed in the next 18 months. plan accordingly.

I have not used a 32 bit workstation in 10 years. Don’t see this as a problem.

Most 32 bit systems I have had the displeasure of dealing with in recent years are old laptops. All of them are old enough that they cannot boot native from USB, and every one of them had a dead optical drive. Nasty.

That’s actually my email, I’m not with the foundation though. However what’s in that email are my personal preferences, if the BF agrees, great! if not i’ll grudgingly uhh i mean happily will keep supporting 32 bit builds.

Would be much nicer to see ARM as a part of the game instead of 32bit… ah, well… life evolves, moving on.

Definitely. Get rid of it. I’ve just checked prices of a local used PC auctions. Even in developing country, I can get used 64bit capable fully working Core2Duo machine for $20. Yes, 20 dollars for the entire working PC, not just CPU chip. Literally anyone can afford this. It’s much cheaper than even cheapest of phones.

Just like XP, it’s long overdue that 32bit should die and I think 2.8 would be a good time to do it. Not sure what reasons someone would have to still be running Blender (or anything for that matter) on near 20 year old hardware. If OS licensing is an issue, well, Linux is free and 64bit.

Lets face it, for 2.8 and Eevee, one would like/want a fairly recent PC, include GPU, which if Nvidia, their latest drivers and all future driver support/updates are now only 64 bit.

Better to let the devs work on new features/bug removal, etc, rather then waste time trying to keep supporting something that needs to end anyway.

Yep - it’s a good idea. 64 bit processors have been in the mainstream consumer market for almost 20 years and have been pretty much the defacto standard in new PCs for at least 10 years.

People running 32 bit machines will still be able to run very capable legacy Blender versions up to 2.79 - but at some point we have to accept that things move on.

Seems like an awful waste of ressources to support 32 bit in 2018. The 64 bit PowerMac was releaed in 2003 - that’s 15 years ago. Modern features won’t work well on machines that old anyway, so no need to support 90’s tech when we are close to two decades into the new millenium. If you really do want to use a system that old, nobody expects to be able to run up to date software.

Developers must to begin to make polls to users to know more details about it. Industry, PC,… will help a lot about it.

This . Keeping around XP support longer than they should have only exacerbated the issue.

my computer costs me 170 USD, CPU MOBO and RAM, psss 2013 tech but 64 bits, dx 12, etc

I see no point in continuing 32 bit support…and I bought my computer in like 2009…I have upgraded the GPU and ram, but that’s it…it is clearly time for a new computer though…*throws 2 euros in the piggy bank.

Brecht appears to agree with dropping 32 bit, so it’s probable that it will also be the opinion of Campbell, Sergey, and Ton.

That would be good news in any case since it will save resources that can instead be used for development (that and how it will allow for the code to be truly optimized for 64 bits with no additional cruft for those very old systems).

I don’t know if it is really that much ‘cruft’…but it is good to get rid of it…always good to do some cleaning :slight_smile:

While I do’t have any numbers to back it up, I suspect the fairly high % of 32bit downloads from the website is more likely due to a couple of reasons.

  1. Maybe not super tech savvy ppl and at one point got told or got it in their head that if you wanted to be sure of something working, get the 32bit version and they just stuck with that ever since. (While in the early days it was sometimes better to get a 32 bit version of software, rather then the much newer and maybe less tested/supported 64bit version, those days are long since pass).

  2. For whatever reason they have or installed a 32bit version of Windows, however, that’s not to say the underlying hardware isn’t full able to run 64bit and in fact, in just about all cases, I’d be very surprised if the base CPU, etc wasn’t 64bit enabled. Maybe it’s a second hand PC that came installed with Windows or its an older version of Windows and the purchase was a choice between 32 or 64bit versions, who knows.

Either way, I would be very very surprised, if 13% of those 32bit downloaders, didn’t actually have 64bit hardware, so maybe Blender 2.8 will be the kick they need to finally enter a much ‘wider’ bit world :stuck_out_tongue:

Drop 32bit its waste of time and resources if someone really need it maybe its time to think again if you have right career. Tech moves on loitering in old habits and iron age computers only makes blender drag behind.

Well, currently blender undirectedly requires 64bit hardware - cause it needs SSE2, which kinda enforces 64bit CPUs. Also OpenGL 2.1 (3+?) forces to have PC newer than dinosaurs.
Are there even OSes (except win7?) that are released as 32bit? (anyway it is ridiculous to use 32bit os on 64bit cpu)

If someone choose to use 32bit CPU or OS for 3d graphics its their choose. He or she can use older version of blender.