Define 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems
In computing, there exist two type processor i.e., 32-bit and 64-bit. These processor tells us how much memory a processor can have access from a CPU register.
A 32-bit system can access 232 memory addresses, i.e 4 GB of RAM or physical memory.
A 64-bit system can access 264 memory addresses, i.e actually 18-Quintillion GB of RAM. In short, any amount of memory greater than 4 GB can be easily handled by it.
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. The actual limit is often less around 3.5 GB, since part of the register is used to store other temporary values besides memory addresses. Most computers released over the past two decades were built on a 32-bit architecture; hence most operating systems were designed to run on a 32-bit processor.
A 64-bit register can theoretically reference 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 bytes, or 17,179,869,184 GB (16 exabytes) of memory. This is several million times more than an average workstation would need to access. What’s important is that a 64-bit computer (which means it has a 64-bit processor) can access more than 4 GB of RAM. If a computer has 8 GB of RAM, it better have a 64-bit processor. Otherwise, at least 4 GB of the memory will be inaccessible by the CPU.
A major difference between 32-bit processors and 64-bit processors
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. Software programs that require many calculations to function smoothly can operate faster and more efficiently on the multi-core 64-bit processors, for the most part.
Advantages of 64-bit Windows over 32-bit Windows.
- Increased memory support beyond that of the 4-GB addressable memory space that is available in a 32-bit operating system
- Increased program performance for programs that are written to take advantage of a 64-bit operating system
- Enhanced security features
Disadvantages of 64-bit Windows over 32-bit Windows.
- 64-bit device drivers may not be available for one or more devices in the computer.
- Device drivers must be digitally signed.
- 32-bit device drivers are not supported.
- 32-bit programs may not be fully compatible with a 64-bit operating system.
- It may be difficult to locate programs that are written specifically for a 64-bit operating system.
- Not all hardware devices may be compatible with a 64-bit version of Windows.