Difference Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Operating Systems

By Aina Parasher|Updated : September 26th, 2022

The main Difference Between 32-bit and 64-bit Operating Systems is that a 32-bit system can access up to 4 GB of RAM or physical memory; it should be able to access more. In contrast, a 64-bit system has the ability to access 18 quintillion bytes of RAM. In other words, it can easily manage any amount of memory larger than 4 GB. A byte is a unit of data in computing, and bit processing is the term used to describe how data is processed. A 32-bit CPU and a 64-bit processor are the two types of processors available. This processor type specifies how much memory a processor may access using a CPU register.

Here, we will discuss the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems along with the two operating systems in brief. The discrepancies in several factors have been examined and elaborated on below.

Difference Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Operating Systems

The amount of computations per second that 32-bit and 64-bit processors can do is a significant distinction that influences the efficiency with which they can complete operations. This is an important topic in the GATE CSE syllabus.

Key Differences Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Operating Systems

32-Bit Operating System64-Bit Operating System
The 32-bit operating system can store and process less data than the 64-bit operating system. It addresses a maximum of 4,294,967,296 bytes (4 GB) of RAM in more detail.The 64-bit operating system, on the other hand, can process far more data than the 32-bit operating system. It can address a total of 264 memory addresses or 18 quintillion gigabytes of RAM.
A 32-bit operating system is required.This program is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.
In terms of performance, the 32-bit processor is less efficient than the 64-bit processor.A 64-bit CPU, on the other hand, is suggested for multitasking and other intensive program processing due to its superior performance over a 32-bit processor.
32-Bit OS features a 4 GB addressable space.These feature a 16 GB addressable space.
The 64-bit apps and programs will not run.32-bit apps and applications will run flawlessly.

32-Bit vs 64-Bit Operating System

While a 64-bit CPU has more processing power than a 32-bit processor, a 64-bit computer or software is not necessarily required. Your existing setup will determine whether you should install a 32-bit or 64-bit application on your PC.

Difference between 32 bit and 64 bit Operating System PDF

If you want your computer to run quickly, a 64-bit CPU is the way to go. Because most apps are backward compatible, you can use this CPU even if you're running 32-bit programs. It means that most 32-bit programs will operate on 64-bit systems. A 32-bit computer, on the other hand, will not run 64-bit software. Here are a few reasons why you should consider switching to a 64-bit processor:

  • Graphics: In addition to being able to handle more data, the 64-bit processor has improved graphics performance. It implies that running apps, editing photographs, and playing graphic-intensive games will be faster on your computer.
  • Security: Malware (malicious software), such as viruses, spyware, Trojans, and ransomware, can still attack a 64-bit machine. A computer with a 64-bit operating system has more security features than one with a 32-bit operating system.

What is a 32-Bit Operating System?

In the early 2000s and 1990s, 32-bit systems accounted for the vast majority of computers produced. It has a maximum memory address range of 232. It's the same as 4 GB (gigabytes) of physical memory. It can also access more than 4 GB of physical memory, although at a slow rate.

In most cases, one bit in the register can relate to a single byte. As a result, the 32-bit system can address 4,294,967,296 bytes (4 GB) of RAM. Because a section of the register contains various additional temporary values in addition to the memory addresses, the real limit is frequently less than 3.5 GB.

What is a 64-Bit Operating System?

Computer systems can handle information, data, and memory locations represented by 64 bits using a 64-bit CPU. A system of this size can generally access 16 exabytes (17,179,869,184 GB) of memory, or 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 bytes.

More than 4 GB of RAM can be accessed by a 64-bit system (a computer with a 64-bit CPU). It's a million times more than what a typical workstation would need to access. It means that if a machine has 8 GB of RAM, a 64-bit CPU is required. Otherwise, the CPU will be unable to access at least 4 GB of memory.

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FAQs on Difference Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Operating Systems

  • The basic difference between 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems is the number of calculations per second they can perform, which affects the speed at which they can complete tasks.

  • It is a CPU architectural type that is capable of transferring 32 bits of data. When completing an operation, it refers to the amount of data and information that your CPU can easily handle.

  • An operating system created specifically for computers that handle 64 bits at a time. The majority of personal computers now use 64-bit, and 64-bit processors are likely to become common in mobile devices.

  • The performance difference between 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems is such that a 64-bit operating system is more efficient and works faster than a 32-bit operating system.

  • The systems that support 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems are provided below.

    • A 32-bit operating system is supported by Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8, and Linux.
    • A 64-bit operating system is supported by Windows XP Professional, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Vista, Linux, and Mac OS X.
  • The memory difference between 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems is such that a 32-bit Windows system is limited to 3.2 GB of RAM whereas, a 64-bit system can hold up to 17 billion gigabytes of RAM.

  • In terms of compatibility, the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems is that a 32-bit processor system can run a 32-bit operating system effectively, but it won't be able to run a 64-bit operating system to its full potential, whereas a 64-bit processor system can run either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of an installed operating system (OS).

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