Difference between 32bit and 64 bit operating system


Difference between 32bit and 64 bit operating system

The two main categories of processors are 32-bit and 64-bit. The type of processor a computer has not only affects its overall performance, but it can also dictate what type of software it uses.

64-bit processor

The 64-bit computer originated in 1961 when IBM created the IBM 7030 Stretch supercomputer. However, it was not put into use in home computers until the early 2000s. Microsoft released a 64-bit version of Windows XP to be used on computers with a 64-bit processor. Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 also come in 64-bit versions.

Simply put, a 64-bit processor is more capable than a 32-bit processor, because it can handle more data at once. A 64-bit processor is capable of storing more computational values, including memory addresses, which means it’s able to access over four billion times the physical memory of a 32-bit processor. That’s just as big as it sounds.

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.

32-bit processor

Most computers made in the 1990s and early 2000s were 32-bit machines. The CPU register stores memory addresses, which is how the processor accesses data from RAM. One bit in the register can reference an individual byte in memory, so a 32-bit system can address a maximum of 4 GB (4,294,967,296 bytes) of RAM.

A big difference between 32-bit processors and 64-bit processors is the number of calculations per second they can perform, which affects the speed at which they can complete tasks. 64-bit processors can come in dual-core, quad-core, six-core, and eight-core versions for home computing. Multiple cores allow for an increased number of calculations per second that can be performed, which can increase the processing power and help make a computer run faster.


In the end, 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. Computer parts retailers are offering fewer and fewer 32-bit processors and soon may not offer any at all.

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