What Is the Difference Between 32 bit And 64 bit?

What Is the Difference Between 32 bit And 64 bit?

When buying computers or downloading software, you often come across a note to download the correct 32-bit or 64-bit version for your computer. This is quite important because it will affect the operating system’s performance, software, sometimes unexpected errors can occur.

What's the difference between 32bit and 64bit? Why should you pay attention to getting the right software, 32-bit or 64-bit operating system for your computer? This article will help you answer these two questions.

What are 32-bit and 64-bit?

32bit and 64bit are both operating systems installed on computers. The difference between these two operating system versions is simply the ability to utilize RAM.

Particularly, 64-bit can work with RAM of over 3.2GB (maybe less) to 128GB, while the 32-bit version can only receive a maximum RAM of 3.2GB only. So, if you install 32-bit on a computer system that uses more than 8GB of RAM, the extra space will no longer make sense.

Massive memory processing makes the 64-bit version more efficient in performing the workflows. The 64-bit version will help increase the overall performance of your PC, so it's more powerful than the 32-bit version. Now let's find out some of the differences related to these two OS as well as choosing the correct version for your computer.

Advantages of 64-bit 

  • You can install more RAM for your computer: The 32-bit version of Windows (and other 32-bit operating systems) is limited to 4096MB (4GB) of RAM, but usually when installing Win 32-bit we only get 3.2GB. If you want your computer to receive 4GB of RAM you will have to do a few more steps. The 64-bit operating system can theoretically support more than 17 billion GB of RAM thanks to its large register system. In fact, 64-bit Windows 7 Home only supports 64GB of RAM, Pro and Ultimate versions support 192GB of RAM due to hardware limitations.

  • Increased computer performance: Not only does the amount of RAM increase, but 64-bit systems can also use RAM more efficiently. Due to the nature of the 64-bit system in the registers and the way 64-bit allocates memory, RAM will not be consumed by secondary systems (such as video cards). 

  • The computer can allocate more virtual memory: In the 32-bit version, Windows is limited in memory allocation, only 2GB per application. Modern games, videos, photo editors applications will be more “hungry" of RAM. In a 64-bit system, virtual memory can theoretically be allocated up to 8TB. That's more than enough for photo editing on Photoshop or "hungry" Chrome tabs. In addition to using and allocating memory more efficiently, applications optimized for 64-bit system like Photoshop, VirtualBox will be much faster and take advantage of the available processor and memory space.

  • Enjoy advanced security features: 64-bit version has extra protections that 32-bit version doesn't have: hardware DEP, Kernel Patch Protection to help protect the computer against exploits kernel and device drivers must be digitally signed to minimize malicious code.

How to choose the right version?

For 64-bit version:

  • Choosing the right version depends on your requirements and preferences for it. If you want to take advantage of a system with large memory (more than 3.2GB) then you can choose the 64-bit version. But check that the tools and programs you are running can work on 64-bit platforms before deciding to proceed with the conversion.

  • Most new software and hardware are supported 64-bit platform. Check hardware compatibility with 64-bit Windows with 64-bit Checker software.

For the 32-bit version:

  • 32-bit versions are cheaper than 64-bit versions

  • If you are using old software and hardware, then you should choose the 32-bit version because it supports all those programs and devices.

Note:

  • You cannot upgrade from a 32bit version of Windows to a 64bit version and vice versa. If you want to install the 64bit version, you have to reinstall the system and need to back up your data before installing.

  • Most 32-bit programs can run on 64-bit systems except for some anti-virus programs. But if a program is designed for the 64-bit version, it will not work on the 32-bit version. Therefore, you should make the correct choice before deciding to buy the version of OS that you plan to use.

How to find out whether your Windows 10 is 64-bit

Step 1: Press Windows + E key combination to open the File Explorer window

Step 2: Right-click on This PCProperties

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Step 3: You will see the Windows version on the “System type” information

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How to find out whether your Mac computer is 64-bit

Step 1: Click the Apple-shape button on your screen in the upper-left corner to open the Apple menu

Step 2: Select About this Mac

Step 3: On the Overview tab, click System Report

Step 4: On the Hardware category, find Processor name. Compare it with the table below:

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Paul Syverson
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Paul Syverson
Paul Syverson is the founder of Product Reviews. Paul is a computer scientist; he used to carry out a handful of significant studies which contributed to bringing in many special features on the site. He has a huge passion for computers and other tech products. He is always diligent in delivering quality writings to bring the most value to people. Syverson.org |

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