The differences between 32-bit vs. 64-bit operating
So you just bought a fancy new computer, and it’s got a big sticker on it that says “64-bit!”. Have you found yourself wondering why this particular computing buzzword is so prominently featured on your new hardware, and what exactly it means? Modern computing has been shifting towards 64-bit for a few years now, and it has saturated the market to a point where even entry-level computers are equipped with these new, more powerful processors. Even with the manufacturers pushing the new CPU's, your computer may not be able to take full advantage of the technology, and getting to that point may cost you more money in software than it’s worth.
What are bits?
The number of bits in a processor refers to the size of the data types that it handles and the size of its registry. A 64-bit processor is capable of storing 2 computational values, including memory addresses, which means it’s able to access over four billion times as much physical memory than a 32-bit processor!
Related: Adobe ends support for 32-bit processors in latest Lightroom updates
The key difference: 32-bit processors are perfectly capable of handling a limited amount of RAM, and 64-bit processors are capable of utilizing much more. Of course, in order to achieve this, your operating system also needs to be designed to take advantage of the greater access to memory. This Microsoft page runs down memory limitations for multiple versions of Windows.
How many bits?
As a general rule, if you have under 4 GB of RAM in your computer, you don’t need a 64-bit CPU, but if you have 4 GB or more, you do. While many users may find that a 32-bit processor provides them with enough performance and memory access, applications that tend to use large amounts of memory may show vast improvements with the upgraded processor. Image and video editing software, 3D rendering utilities, and video games will make better use of a 64-bit architecture and operating system, especially if the machine has 8 or even 16 GB of RAM that can be divided among the applications that need it.