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Old 11-21-2009, 06:47 AM   #1
HarryT
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Book conversions MUCH faster on 64-bit Windows 7

I commented a few weeks ago that I seemed to be hitting some sort of conversion limit with converting large books from Mobi to ePub (a book with 8MB of HTML source took 9 minutes; a book with 10MB took 20min). Kovid kindly explained that this was down to the parser used by Calibre. This was on an XP machine with 4GB RAM and a 2.4GHz dual core CPU.

I've just bought a new laptop running 64-bit Windows 7. Although this is nominally a considerably slower machine (also 4GB RAM, but this time a 1.3GHz dual core CPU), I was surprised and pleased to find that Calibre's book conversion is now very much faster. The book which took 9m 50s to convert under XP only takes 3m 35s under Windows 7 - almost 3x faster!

Might this be down to the fact that 64-bit Windows can make more efficient use of the available memory, I wonder?

Whatever the reason, it's very welcome.
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:54 AM   #2
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Interesting. I've been considering getting a new windows 7 machine possible for video...
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:25 AM   #3
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There was also a speed up in calibre's CSS parser in 0.6.23 or 24 (see changelog)
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:28 AM   #4
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There was also a speed up in calibre's CSS parser in 0.6.23 or 24 (see changelog)
Ah - that might explain it. I'm still at 6.0.17 on my XP machine, but installed 6.0.24 on the Win7 box. I'll upgrade my XP system and see how it compares then.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:38 AM   #5
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Ah - that might explain it. I'm still at 6.0.17 on my XP machine, but installed 6.0.24 on the Win7 box. I'll upgrade my XP system and see how it compares then.
I'd be interested in hearing the results Harry.
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:58 AM   #6
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I've updated my XP machine to 6.0.24, so both are now running the same version of Calibre. For converting very large books, the 64-bit Win7 machine is still dramatically faster. Eg, for "The Barchester Chronicles", the conversion times are:

64-bit Windows 7: 3m 57s
32-bit Windows XP: 8m 57s

ie, the Win7 machine does the conversion 2.3x faster, despite having slower CPUs.
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Old 11-22-2009, 06:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I've updated my XP machine to 6.0.24, so both are now running the same version of Calibre. For converting very large books, the 64-bit Win7 machine is still dramatically faster. Eg, for "The Barchester Chronicles", the conversion times are:

64-bit Windows 7: 3m 57s
32-bit Windows XP: 8m 57s

ie, the Win7 machine does the conversion 2.3x faster, despite having slower CPUs.
Wow! Thanks Harry. That makes me every more want to upgrade to 64/win7...

I have a 64 bit chip/computer but still running win xp 32bit never wanting to go to Vista.
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Old 11-22-2009, 06:47 AM   #8
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I was never tempted by Vista either, but I've been extremely impressed by what I've seen so far of Windows 7.
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Old 11-22-2009, 06:59 AM   #9
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64 bit faster

The ugly fact about 32 bit operating systems is that they can really only use 3 gig of memory. So that extra gig up to 4 provides no benefit. But 64 bit systems are not hampered by that limitation. My HP computer with 6 gig is the fastest I have ever owned and it is running Vista.

The only drawback is lack of support for some programs and some hardware. Quicktime does not want to run on this machine.
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Old 11-22-2009, 07:40 AM   #10
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The ugly fact about 32 bit operating systems is that they can really only use 3 gig of memory. So that extra gig up to 4 provides no benefit. But 64 bit systems are not hampered by that limitation. My HP computer with 6 gig is the fastest I have ever owned and it is running Vista.

The only drawback is lack of support for some programs and some hardware. Quicktime does not want to run on this machine.
That incompatibility thing and just the clunkiness of Vista have made me avoid it like the plague even with the memory limitation. It's looking like Windows 7 is what Vista should have been though.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:20 AM   #11
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The ugly fact about 32 bit operating systems is that they can really only use 3 gig of memory.
32 bit OSs can use up to 64 GB of memory by using PAE. The ugly fact is Microsoft does not employ it with non-Windows Sever offering. This is one way they differentiate their server and non-server versions. The 3 GB limitation is a limitation of 32 bit addressing however in the case of Windows it is an artificial limitation that has been imposed based on what kind of Windows license you have purchased. Take a look at the Windows chart at the above PAE link. Even 64 bit versions of Windows have artificial RAM limitations.

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... ie, the Win7 machine does the conversion 2.3x faster, despite having slower CPUs.
You've only mentioned the clock speed. Just because one has a lower clock speed does not necessitate a slower CPU. If one is a Core Duo and the other is say a Core i5. The i5 at a slower clock speed will actually be a faster CPU. Clock speed comparisons are only an accurate preformance measure for the same product line.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:35 AM   #12
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>>Even 64 bit versions of Windows have artificial RAM limitations.

No way to win friends and influence people, when Linux does support more memory.

My performance probably is also due to it being a quad core and none of the other machines is.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:43 AM   #13
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What impresses me with this new machine of mine is that it's only a little laptop - a Dell Inspiron 11z (although I upgraded it to a dual core CPU rather than the default Celeron) - and it wipes the floor with my full-blown (although 3 year old) XP desktop machine!
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Old 11-22-2009, 10:14 AM   #14
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What impresses me with this new machine of mine is that it's only a little laptop - a Dell Inspiron 11z (although I upgraded it to a dual core CPU rather than the default Celeron) - and it wipes the floor with my full-blown (although 3 year old) XP desktop machine!
3 years is twice the proverbial 18 months of Moore's Law. Assuming we can apply it to general "speed" of computers, that makes today's computers 4 times faster than those of 3 years ago. Assuming again that laptops are half the speed of desktops, that would make today's laptop still twice as fast as a desktop of 3 years ago
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