32 Bit vs. 64 Bit Processors

Before we get into the details, let us try to understand, what this big fuss of a larger number of bits, is all about. A bit is the short form of a binary digit, i.e. 0 or 1. Computers store and perform operations on these binary digits. So, it can be very easily concluded that a 32 bit processor can represent numbers from 0 to 232, while 64 bit processors can represent numbers from 0 to 264. Thus, most of us will simply conclude that, since 64 bit processors can perform calculations on a greater range of numbers as compared to the 64 bit processors; then, of course, they are better. But wait, we need to consider a few more points, before we reach our conclusion.

When we say a 64 bit or 32 bit processor, what we are primarily referring to is the width of the data bus. In a layman's language, a data bus is a cable that carries information to and from the computer's memory, to the processor. A 64 bit processor has a data bus that is 64 bit wide, while a 32 bit processor has a data bus i.e. 32 bits wide. Thus, a 64 bit processor's data bus can carry in more information than that which can be done by the 32 bit processor's data bus. So, we again come back to the same conclusion, that 64 bit processors are faster than the 32 bit processors, and hence, they should be declared the winners. But the point out here is - which of these processors will actually suit our needs.

When we come down to comparing the speeds of both the processors, at our home or office level, we will find no significant change in it. The spreadsheets won't load any faster, browsing speed over the Internet stays the same, and there will be no change in the booting time of your computer. So, what makes the difference then? 64 bit processors turn out to be very useful for the scientific organizations, universities and major software development firms. They will also prove to be of much use, if your work is that of animation or graphic designing.They can perform calculations on a wider range of data and can give more accurate and precise information for smaller numbers. On the other hand, if you do not need your computer to perform these processes, then a 32 bit processor will solve most of your needs. Besides, when we come down to the cost, 32 bit processors have definitely hit the bottom line.

In fact, what makes the 64 bit processor better than the 32 bit processor, at home or office levels, is not that they can access and process better, but the advanced silicon technology, with which they are manufactured. When 64 bit processors hit the market, the major factors that made them suffer a lot, were that there were not many softwares compatible with them. However, this is not a deciding factor anymore when you are planning to buy a new processor. With companies like AMD, that have been sticking to the 64 bit technology, the software developers have come down with a solution by developing softwares, which are compatible with both the 32 bit and 64 bit processors. Another important point that needs to be mentioned is that a multicore processor resembles in features, more to a 64 bit processor than a 32 bit processor. Again, speaking in a layman's language, one has to use more than one 32 bit processor to match the performance of a 64 bit processor. One more important factor that needs to be considered is that, if you really need your 64 bit processors to work well, then you will definitely need a RAM with more storage capacity. Even, a 512 MB or 1 GB RAM will not show any significant improvement in the processing speed, when working with a 64 bit processor.

So, we finally conclude that the choice lies entirely on the type of work you need to do. If your work is not related to very heavy calculations and graphics or you are not interested in playing big multimedia games, then of course, the 32 bit processors will solve your purpose. Moreover, you can save some bucks for buying some other component, like an extra RAM, which would definitely prove to be of more use. But, with a 64 bit processor, you will definitely not need a better processor for quite some time. Again, technology never stops advancing, let's see what changes do the quad-core processors bring in the market. Then, of course, we will have to start over with some more comparison.

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