64bit vs 32bit Processor and Operating System

You've probably seen 32-bit and 64-bit options available whenever you install a operating system or purchasing a PC with latest micro processor. These processor tells us how much memory a processor can have access from a CPU register. Even your PC might have a sticker that says it has a 64-bit processor. You may have no idea what separates the two.

 

64bit vs 32Bit

When you come to computing there is only two digit 0 and 1 - the binary. Each one is considered a "bit". That means for 1-bit computing, you get two possible values; 2-bit means four values; then at 3 bits, you double that to eight.

If we keep going exponentially then we eventually get 32-bit worth 4,294,967,296 and 64-bit is worth 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 values. That's a lot of bits, and the numbers show just how much more powerful a chip that supports higher bit computing can be. It's a lot more than double.

Let's find out what makes them different in case of the processor and operating system -

32 bit -

The 32-bit processor was the primary processor used in all computers until the early 1990s. Intel Pentium processors and early AMD processors were 32-bit processors. The operating system and software on a computer with a 32-bit processor are also 32-bit based, in that they work with data units that are 32 bits wide.

In any 32-bit operating system, it also limited to 4096 MB of RAM, because the size of a 32-bit value will not allow any more. On a 32-bit system, each process is given 4 GB of virtual memory to play with, which is separated into 2 GB of user space.

Not only does 32-bit have a hard limit for the amount of memory it can address, but there's also another problem: your devices, like your video card and motherboard BIOS, take up room in that same 4 GB space, which means the underlying operating system gets access to even less of your RAM.

A computer with a 32-bit processor cannot have a 64-bit version of an operating system installed. It can only have a 32-bit version of an operating system installed.

64 bit -

If you are running a computer less than 10 years old, then your chip is almost guaranteed to be 64-bit. The 64-bit computer has been around since 1961 when IBM created the IBM 7030 Stretch supercomputer. However, it was not put into use in home computers until the early 2000s.

A computer with a 64-bit processor can have a 64-bit or 32-bit version of an operating system installed. However, with a 32-bit operating system, the 64-bit processor would not run at its full capability.

While 32 bits of information can only access 4GB of RAM, a 64-bit machine can access 17.2 BILLION gigabytes of system memory, banishing any limits far into the future. This also means that your video cards and other devices will not be stealing usable memory space from the operating system.

But smartphones going 64-bit has other benefits - things like fetching even more data per cycle, better encryption, and overall moving to new 64-bit chips specifically the ARMv8 architecture with improved features, like power efficiency.

64-bit processors are becoming more and more commonplace in home computers. Most manufacturers build computers with 64-bit processors due to cheaper prices and because more users are now using 64-bit operating systems and programs.

Using 64-bit one can do a lot in multi-tasking, the user can easily switch between various applications without any windows hanging problems.

On Microsoft's Windows, the 64-bit versions also come with a technology to prevent hijacking the kernel, support for hardware-enabled data execution protection, and mandatory digitally signed 64-bit device drivers.

If you're running Mac OS X, you don't need to worry about 32-bit vs 64-bit, and if you're running Linux, you probably know this stuff already. Other software has been developed that is designed to run on a 64-bit computer, which is 64-bit based as well, in that they work with data units that are 64 bits wide.


Video games are also uniquely equipped to take advantage of 64-bit processing and the increased memory that comes with it. Being able to handle more computations at once means more spaceships on screen without lagging and smoother performance from your graphics card. Gamers can easily play High graphic games like Modern Warfare, GTA V, or use high-end software like Photoshop or CAD which takes a lot of memory since it makes multitasking with big software easy and efficient for users.

Recommended for you