When buying or downloading software you might have noticed two versions are available of the operating system or any other application: a 32-bit and a 64-bit version. You might have wondered what the difference is between both versions. Quickly read this blog and learn everything you need to know about 32-bit and 64-bit software!
32-bit and 64-bit processors
To begin with, the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit doesn’t directly have something to do with the software, but more with the processor inside the computer or laptop. Processors can only ‘read’ 0’s and 1’s, also called binary numbers. Every 0 or 1 represents one bit. A 2-bit processor has the capability to read 4 different combinations: 00, 11, 01 and 10. A 32-bit processor has 32 times a 0 and 1 next to each other. In total this means there are 4.294.967.296 different possible combinations. A 64-bit processor even has trillions of possibilities. This obviously makes clear why a 64-bit processor is much faster than a 32-bit processor. A 64-bit processor can handle much more (complex) calculations at the same time.
How to check whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit system?
Do you have Windows 10 installed on your computer? Then it is quite easy to so whether you have installed a 32-bit or 64-bit version of the software. Right click on the Start-icon. Next, click on System. Then head to ‘About’. Look for the words ‘System Type’ here you can check if you have installed a 32-bit or 64-bit version of the software. Haven’t installed Windows yet on your computer or laptop? Then simply check the product package of this operating system.
Have you installed a 32-bit version of Windows? Then you can find a folder called ‘Program Files (x86)’ on the C-drive of your computer. With the ‘x86’ Inter refers to the line of Intel-processors that end with the number 86. Sometimes 32-bit is also referred to as x86. When you have Windows 10 64-bit installed, you will notice this map is called ‘Program Files (x64)’. This has nothing to do with a line of Intel-processors, but is a more logical name for this folder within Windows 64-bit.
Pros and cons of 64-bit software and processors
Using 64-bit software and processors has several advantages over 32-bit versions. In only a few cases it is wise to choose the 32-bit version:
- Possibility to use more RAM-memory
The first advantage of 64-bit processors and software has to do with the amount of RAM that can be used. All 32-bit versions of Windows 10 can use up to 4GB of RAM, or 4096 MB. In Windows 10 Home 64-bit it is possible to use 128GB of RAM. Windows 10 Ultimate 64-bit can use up to 2TB of RAM. For normal use, it is the question whether you need more than 16GB. But it does indicate that Windows 10 64-bit is ready for the future. Newer software programs are heavier and often require much more RAM.
- Assign virtual memory to software
Are you using a 32-bit version of Windows? Then you cannot assign more than 2GB of virtual memory to a software application. With Windows 10 64-bit, the virtual memory assigned can increase to several terabytes. The virtual memory is used by Windows 10 when the RAM is insufficient and when you use multiple applications at the same time. This virtual memory is stored on, and read from, your hard disk. A disadvantage is that Windows can read data much faster from a RAM memory stick than from the hard disk. It is therefore preferred to add more RAM tour your computer, instead of using more virtual memory when you use a 64-bit processor.
- Quicker, efficient and more software
Overall, it comes down to the fact that your computer functions much faster with a 64-bit processor and operating system. To begin with, the system will be able to use a larger amount of RAM more efficiently. This has to do with more complex calculations that can be performed by 64-bit systems.
Furthermore, software companies are increasingly outsourcing 64-bit programs. Especially applications that require a lot of calculations, make optimal use of 64-bit operating systems and processors. Thinks about graphic editing software, but certainly also video games. On 64-bit systems video games will run much smoother.
Finally, more security options are available on 64-bit systems compared to 32-bit systems. For example, you can use the Kernel Patch Protection (KPP) of Microsoft Windows. The kernel can be seen as an essential computer program that connects the software to the hardware. Adjusting the kernel can be harmful for your computer or laptop. In 32-bit systems it was still possible to modify the kernel. Thanks to the Kernel Patch Protection this has become impossible on Windows 10 64-bit.
Upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows?
Nowadays, it is in most cases the most future-proof option to buy a 64-bit version of Windows (and other software). FastLicenses therefore has a wide range of Windows 64-bit operating systems in our collection. Still need a 32-bit version of this operating system? Then you’re also at the right place at FastLicenses. We have all the software licenses you need on your computer or laptop. All 100% original product keys and always delivered within 5 minutes via e-mail!