64-Bit x 32-Bit Processors


Both the Inteland the AMD have already put in the market processors that work the 64-bit. In a few years, this chip type will be the default. A lot of people know that the models 64-bit are better than 32-bit, and this article proposes to show exactly how and where these improvements.

32-bit x 64-bit

If you go to a computer store to buy a computer, the seller can offer two types: one with a 64-bit processor and the other with a 32-bit processor. “The 64-bit is more expensive, however, it is much faster and has better performance”, says the seller. This means that your games will run faster, as well as heavy programs, such as AutoCad, Premiere, etc., do not? Maybe. Let’s look at the why.

When we refer to the processors 16-bit, 32-bit or 64-bit we are speaking of the bit internal of the chip – in a few words, this represents the amount data and instructions that the processor can work for time. For example, with 16 bits a processor can handle a number value up to 65,535. If a number has a value of 100,000, he will have that do the operation in two parts. However, if a chip works the 32-bit, it can handle numbers of a value of up to 4,294,967,296 in a single operation.

To calculate this limit, simply 2 raised to the number of bits the internal of the processor. So, what is the limit of a 64 processor bit? We are going to the account:

2^64 = 1.84467441 × 10^19

A value extremely high!

Now, suppose that you are using a text editor. Is unlikely that this program gets to use large values in their operations. In this case, what is the difference between using a processor 32-bit or 64-bit, being that the first one will be enough? As the editor uses the values bearable both by the chips 32-bit as for the 64-bit, the related instructions will be processed at the same time (considering that both chips have the same clock).

On the other hand, applications in 3D programs such as AutoCad require good ability to calculate and then a 64-bit processor can make a difference. Assume that certain operations use higher values of the to 4,294,967,296. A 32-bit processor will have performing each step in two or more times, depending on the value used in the calculation. However, a 64-bit processor will make this job a single time in every operation.

However, there are other factors to be considered. One of them is the operating system (OS). The operation of the computer is directly connected to the relationship between the operating system and the hardware as a whole. The OS is developed in order to take advantage of the maximum resources of the platform for which it is destined. Thus, Windows XP or a Linux distribution with a kernel developed before the emergence of 64-bit processors are prepared to work the 32-bit but not 64-bit.

The influence of the operating system

When placing a 32-bit operating system to run on a computer with 64-bit processor, the first does not automatically adapt and will continue to maintain its way of work. With this, it is necessary to the development of operating systems capable of running 64-bit.

The Development or the adaptation of an operating system to working the 64-bit is not so trivial as well. In fact, it is necessary that the OS is compatible with a processor or with a line of processors, since there may be differences among the existing types. In other words, the operating system needs to be compatible with chips from AMD or Intel chips. If possible, with the two of them.

In the case of Windows XP, Microsoft has made the version “Professional x64”, compatible with the AMD Athlon 64, AMD Opteron, Intel Xeon (with instructions EM64T) and Intel Pentium 4 (with instructions EM64T). According to Microsoft, the main difference between this and the 32-bit versions (and compatibility with instructions 64-bit) is the support of up to 128 GB of memory RAM and 16 TB of virtual memory. Nothing is more natural: if the application to which the computer is used to handle large amount of data and values, it is pointless to have 64-bit processing, but low memory, since, roughly speaking, the data would “form the queue” to be inserted in memory, compromising the performance.

he same occurs with Linux. If you visit the website of any distribution to download a version of the operating system, it is very likely you will find links that point to various versions. The site of Ubuntu Linux, for example, offers links for x86 processors (32-bit), Mac (chips PowerPC) and 64-bit (processor AMD64 or EM64T).

You may have wondered if it is possible to use a system operating 32-bit with a 64-bit processor and migrate the first to a proper version in the future. Depends. The Intel Itanium processor it is nicknamed by some the “pure-blood”, since only run 64-bit applications. Thus, a 32 bit of an operating system does not wheel it. On the other hand, processors Athlon 64 are able to work with both applications 32-bit and 64-bit, which makes it interesting for those who want to use a 32-bit OS initially, and a 64-bit version in the future.

AMD64 and EM64T

To be mentioned previously, you may have wondered what it means the abbreviations AMD64 and EM64T:

AMD64: originally called x86-64, AMD64 (or AMD64 ISA – Instruction Set Architecture) is the name of the technology 64-bit developed by AMD. One of its highlights is the support for instructions 32-bit (Legacy Mode);

EM64T: acronym for Extended Memory 64-bit Technology, the EM64T is taken as for the interpretation of the AMD64 is made by Intel. Because of this, received from some the name iADMD64 (the “i” makes reference the first letter of the name of the Intel).


The AbbreviationFinder received more than once questions about how fast are the 64-bit processors. In fact, the word-key to this type of chip is not “speed”, but “ability”. Compare to a locomotive whose engine is prepared to support more wagons. It will load more, which decreases the amount of travel, but your speed will remain the same.

The speed of the processors will reach a limit, so other features should be considered in order for a processor be advantageous in relation to each other, at least until a new technology for these chips arises (such as quantum computers). The 64-bit architecture is an excellent example of this. Do more and better. This is the differential from now on.

Processors 64-Bit x 32-Bit Processors 1

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