The Major Difference Between a 32-bit and a 64-bit Processor

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Know the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit processors

Earlier, when computers themselves were relatively new in the early 20th century, it only had 32-bit processors. Then, in 1961, 64-bit processors were introduced in the market. Although it took a while for these processors to pick up and become popular, they have completely taken over the market in recent years. Now, if you are wondering what exactly is the difference between these two types of processors, read on to understand better.

6 major differences between a 32-bit and a 64-bit processor

32-bit processors and software may sometimes be referred to as x86-32 or x86, while the 64-bit processors and software may be referred to as x86-64 or simply x64. If you come across these terms in any article, you now know what they are talking about.

  • 64-bit processes larger chunks of data as compared to 32-bit. As the name suggests, 32-bit CPUs will process chunks of 32-bit data at a time, while the 64-bit CPUs will be able to process chunks of data that are double the size.
  • 64-bit is faster than a 32-bit processor. This follows from the point mentioned above. Since 64-bit CPUs can process bigger data chunks, they can complete more calculations and execute them much faster than 32-bit.
  • 64-bit OS cannot be used on a 32-bit processor, but you can use a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit processor in some cases. Operating Systems (OS) are specifically optimized for a certain kind of processor. When you sue a 32-bit OS on a 64-bit CPU, it will work but will not be able to use the full capacity of the processor. 
  • Only 64-bit processors are used in multicore processors. All the new processors, from dual core right up to eight core are all 64-bit processors. None of them use the 32-bit processor, which means that you will only get a very basic and possibly older system if you are looking for a computer with a 32-bit processor.
  • 64-bit supports larger RAMs than 32-bit, which is limited to 3 or 4 GB. Many modern computers have very large memories, which cannot be supported by the smaller and less powerful 32-bit processors.  
  • 32-bit CPUs are slowly becoming obsolete. 64-bit is still going strong and is slowly becoming a stock option on most computers these days, be it desktops, laptops or any other kind of computer device.

Now that you know what each of these two processors are and how they are different from each other, you will be in a better position to decide which one to go for when buying a new computer or building one the very first time.

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