I have been asked this question many times by customers and techies alike: what’s the difference between windows 32-bit and 64-bit? Today I want to discuss the differences between these two technologies in this post.
First of all I will break the question in two pieces by addressing what 32-bit and 64 bit is:
In computer architecture, 32-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are at most 32 bits (4 octets) wide. Also, 32-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 32-bit is also a term given to a generation of computers in which 32-bit processors were the norm.
The range of integer values that can be stored in 32 bits is 0 through 4,294,967,295 or ˆ’2,147,483,648 through 2,147,483,647 using two’s complement encoding. Hence, a processor with 32-bit memory addresses can directly access 4 GB of byte-addressable memory.
Did everyone get that? Good! Now let’s see what 64-bit is:
In computer architecture, 64-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are at most 64 bits (8 octets) wide. Also, 64-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size.
Now that we have the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit technologies on the table let’s discuss in grandpa’s language how they differ. The biggest difference between the two is memory addressing: hence that 32-bit only can directly access memory up to 4 GB, while 64-bits can address memory up to 1000GB or 1 terabyte.
In the diagram above you can see the difference between a 32-bit and a 64-bit processor. the author of the diagram (http://arstechnica.com/index.ars) was trying to convey another point, that’s why you see red, blue, and white dots, but in this example just notice the channel from memory to the ALU.
On the 64-bit processor the channel (Bus) is wider than the 32-bit processor, that’s why the 64-bit processor can process double the amount of data than the 32-bit processor. When comparing the 32-bit and 64-bit processor think about a highway, one with 32 lanes and the other with 64 lanes, which highway do you think will transport more passengers to their destination faster? oh well.
Most processors from AMD and Intel made in the last year support 64 bit processing, and if you have purchased a 32-bit windows XP or Vista operating system you can order the 64-bit medium from Microsoft and pay only the shipping cost. order it here
Check your hardware to make sure its compatible with 64-bit Operating System before making any attempt to upgrade. Also keep in mind that not all devices have 64-bit drivers available, so not all devices will work under 64 bit architecture. Another thing, all drives running on a 64 bit OS need to be certified by Microsoft, so, a driver will not work unless it has been blessed by the high priest Microsoft.