What’s better for You? 64-Bit VS. 32-Bit
By Dianne Mariz
We are now living in a highly digital world and all of us have phones in our hands and that’s for sure. However, when it comes to choosing a new gadget, particularly a phone or a portable laptop, do you really know what would really work best for you? There are many factors you should consider if you want to experience the full potential of your gadgets. When it comes to Windows OS and processors do you know the big difference between 64-bit and 32-bit and its importance to your computer? You might often see a sticker in your PC that says either it has 32-bit or 64-bit. However, do you really know what it means and its real importance to you and your PC?
Some people might know the term 32-bit and 64-bit, but there are many who are actually confused if those terms are meant for software or hardware? As a gadget owner, you at least need to know if your PC either has 32-bit or 64-bit operating system and processors to run the applications and programs fit for your needs and your PC.
Starting with ‘Bit’
Let’s all start with the basic. What is ‘bit’? Computer geeks and tech-lovers must know that this three letter word means literally as it is. Bit stands for the tiniest piece of data that is also known as a binary digit. Computers are made only to understand binary language. Every bit can only either be 0 or 1, it is meant to have only one binary value. A byte is a term used to define a collection of bits. One byte is a sum of 8 bits which is called as an octet.
A Little Throwback to History
Surely, Microsoft Windows is the standard existing OS (Operating System) for most of the business and home computers. In 1985, the first OS graphical user interface was released and since then, a lot of versions have been introduced to the world and it just keeps on getting better and better. All these operating systems come on different variations such as 64-bit and 32-bit. Many gadget owners do not really have a lot of knowledge about these points that it often leads to confusion especially when deciding for the suitable version that will truly work best for your needs.
After the very in-demand launch of the Windows XP, the 64-bit Windows OS quickly followed and had been one of their best releases as it stayed in the market for as long as fourteen years. A record from history reveals that 64-bit was very first implemented with UNICOS operating systems, an OS created in 1985 by Cray Incorporated, a supercomputer-maker back in the days. Since then, many versions had been released by different companies such as Solaris, Mac OS, Google’s Android, and of course, Windows. While on the other hand, 32-bit OS has been famous and well-used by computers made from the late 1990s up to the early 2000s. Several Windows operating system with 32-bit includes Windows XP, 98 and 95.
As a Hardware
If we are talking about hardware, then 32-bit and 64-bit are terms use to describe a processor. Both processors have “register”. Each register is with the same number of bits because it only means the same number of memory the CPU registers and addresses.
What’s about 32-bit and 64-bit Processors?
CPU also known as the processor literally processes everything that’s happening inside the computer, it is basically every computer’s brain. It functions includes registering and logic each circuit. Combinations are only made up of 2^32. All of these values which equates to 4,294,967,295 are used as memory locations to address it in the physical memory. Which is why 2^32 = 4gigabytes. It means that each 32-bit processor can only access up to 4GB memory when it’s on an operation.
On the other hand, 64-bit has the same equation, 2^64 which sums up to 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 bytes, or 17,179,869,184 GB (16 exabytes) of RAM. If you would compare, you can really see the big difference between the two. This is the main reason why 64-bit is more in-demand, 4GB isn’t really enough anymore with everything that’s going on our daily lives. If you’re using your computer for work or editing purposes, where you need to use 20-35 tabs open, 4GB RAM won’t cut it. Computer memory now is highly needed for gadgets to function at its full potential. Even Smartphone nowadays are in 64-bit. Windows computers with 64-bit can use up to 8000GB, making computers really effective for any kind of use.
As a Software
Software running on your computer is greatly affected by the 32-bit and the 64-bit hardware installed on your computer. To simply put it, 32-bit applications can be installed and used with a 64-bit system, but 64-bit programs will never function on a 32-bit system. This is because; 64-bit programs have more complicated instructions that would not be accepted and recognized by a lower version of the processor.
As it turned out, 64-bit processors and OS had been a trend because of the larger memory and the functions it allows. However, if you specifically need to run a program especially an antivirus and utility application, they sometimes required a very specific operating system. The best thing to do is to install the kind of processor that corresponds to your specific operating system.
The Battle Between 32-bit and 64-bit
Large and very complicated applications such as video and image editing software, games and AutoCAD badly require a lot of RAM and it is obviously something that 64-bit can provide. However, it is also very important to remember that all of these will only make sense if the motherboard will accept it.
2GB RAM is the minimum requirement for 64-bit Windows OS, as 32-bit only requires 1GB RAM. It is only advisable for everyone who wants to use the full capabilities of 64-bit to pack up an additional memory of 4GB.
A Microsoft user’s tip, the basic version of Windows 10 can put up with over 128GB, but if you still want more, then you can indulge in the endless functions of the Windows 10 Pro. This Windows OS allows you to use up to 2048 GB. It will be all your decision now to stack up your computer with tons of RAM as much as you like. But Windows 10 requires only the minimum of 8GB RAM.
However, those are not just the reason why 64-bit is being widespread in the market. Mapping files in the physical memory are becoming more and more complicated. File sizes nowadays are getting bigger and bigger it could easily exceed than 4GB. But there’s one thing that everyone should not forget, its fine to install a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit processor but you it’s not a promise that you would get the best experience. If you want and need a faster computer that can handle all of your needed applications, you can just install 64-bit Windows OS, along with the right drivers that fit perfectly with your OS. Up until today, there are just some problems that keep on reoccurring with the use of 64-bit. There is still a lot of software nowadays that do not have updated versions and still do not work with 64-bit. Although in 2015, since the release of the 64-bit version of Mozilla Firefox browser, many software companies and developers have exerted efforts to do the same to improve their compatibility.
Key Differences Between 32-bit and 64-bit Processors
- 32-bit processors are only fit for a minimum RAM of 4GB or less while 64-bit are created for much more space and memory.
- In computing, the difference of the two processors can be seen in the speed of their performance in each task when the total amount of calculations per second are summed of.
- 32-bit operating systems operate data in 32-bit pieces as 64-bit operating systems are able to operate data in 64-bit pieces. The more bits of data can be processed per second, the faster that the operating systems work.
- 32-bit are available on operating systems such as Windows 8, Windows Vista, Linux, Windows XP and Windows 7. On the other hand, 64-bit is available on systems such as Windows 8, Linux, Mac OS X, Windows Vista, XP Professional and Windows 7.
- 32-bit processors and operating system are also known as X86 or X86-32, while 64-bit processors and software are also known as X64 or X86-64.
- 64-bit processors are very much more ideal for stress testing and multi-tasking than 32-bit processors.
All in all, 64-bit hardware has a great advantage when it comes to addressing space for all of your PCs running application and programs and allows them to run faster and avoid buffering.
What’s With Cores?
Along with the terms 64-bit, you may also stumble upon terms such as quad core, dual core, eight or six cores. These are the different versions of the so-called home computing. The number of cores determines the number of calculations can be performed every second, which automatically contributes to the speed of your computer. There are many software applications that require several cores of 64-bit processors like video, photo editors and games.
Is This All Matters?
Yes, it is. If you are someone who needs certain software programs for work purposes, it is best for you to have a clue of your own computer’s capability. It will surely be a waste of time if you went to downloading a certain version of software not knowing that it may not work for your PC. However, since there is a rule that 32-bit programs would run exactly just fine with 64-bit processors you might think that you are on the upper hand if your computer is actually in 64-bit. But you need to remember that there are still circumstances when the computer hardware or the software itself are getting a little picky and requires only the exact same type of processors and operating system all at once. Like 32-bit processors are only equal to 32-bit operating systems and 64-bit processors are only equal to the 64-bit operating system.
Factors that Affect Your Computer’s Speed
The software and hardware versions are surely important to know the real speed of your computer. However, since we are talking about a gadget, it is also crucially important to note that there are still a lot of factors to that affect your computer speed and its full performance.
The speed of your computer mainly depends on your computer’s processor. The number of bits of data it can process per second will dictate its speed. The first-ever computer processor was a 740 kHz processor, namely Intel 4004. This processor is only capable of reading 92,000 bits of instruction per second, compared to our multi-core GHz processors nowadays that can read over 100 billion bits of data per second, technology sure does grow.
Every gadget owner must have heard this term. “Cache” by definition is “the fastest type of memory”. This memory is used by the computer motherboards and processors to transfer data and instructions between the different components of the computer such as memory and processor. You are considered blessed if your computer has L2 cache or L3 cache because this means that they can process and send more instructions faster.
Remember that motherboard’s bus speed is also critically important. If your computer has a slow bus speed, other hardware components of the computer need to wait longer for the data and the instructions that result to slow performance of the computer. A 400 MHz FSB(Front Side Bus) is much faster than 66 MHz FSB. The motherboard basically dictates the decrease and increase of speed as it transfers all the data to all of your computer’s components.
If you are a gamer you might actually know the important use of these video cards. Latest computer games often need video cards to make them run faster. A video card complete with its own memory and CPU is all you ever need to experience your games at its highest potential. These video cards become responsible for the complex task such as 3D rendering instead of letting your computer CPU doing all the work. Newer PCI Express video cards are of course much faster than the old version of AGP video cards. A powerful video card promises a one of a kind gaming experience.
OS (Operating Systems)
Having the latest hardware is not everything, you must also not forget about your computer’s operating system. New versions of software are released are introduced to the market to improve the compatibility, makings sure that we make the most of our computers, thus, it is very significant to update your operating system all the time especially if you want to interact with the new technologies.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
Naturally, a computer with more RAM or Random Access Memory will be faster because there is more allowed space for running programs. When your computer runs out of memory, RAM transfers all the data to the hard disk drive (this hardware component has the slowest type of memory) causing the computer to become much slower to respond to instructions.
Hard drives are commonly known for its two types, the SSD or the Solid State Drive and the HDD or Hard Disk Drive. This drives could not affect your computer’s performance but it is also a crucial factor as it is the main storage of all the physical data you are storing on your computer. It is an important task for you to choose a hard drive that will fit your needs. When choosing for the type of hard drive, remember the following:
- A Solid State Drive (SSD) doesn’t have any moving parts and all the gathered data are saved and installed only in microchips. The most basic example of this type of hard drive is the USB (Universal Serial Bus).
- SSDs are commonly has a faster file opening speed of 30% compared to HDDs
- Having no moving parts SDDs do not overheat, vibrate and produce noises, unlike HDDs.
- HDDs have moving parts like platters which causes them to create vibrations, heat, and noises and become physically vulnerable. HDDs’ moving parts wear out over time but you can rewrite data as much as you want. Unlike for SDDs, there are limited numbers of times you can use it to write or read data.
- HDD is highly preferable if you badly need a lot of memory but if speed is your priority choose SDD.
We are currently living in a very highly-digitalized world and while many of us own a gadget or two, it would not be a waste of time to have a little knowledge about them to be able to use them to their highest capabilities. However, remember that no matter how fast your PC and phones are, do not forget that all of the data you stored in your computer is safe from harm. There are many causes of data loss and it’s best to take note of the old notion, ‘better be safe than sorry’. Take the necessary steps to keep your gadgets on their top performance while keeping all of your data safe and sound.
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