General Question on 32- and 64- bit systems

In summary, some programs may run faster in a 64 bit environment, while others may perform better in a 32 bit environment. The RAM limit for 64-bit kernels is theoretically 16 EiB, but most systems are limited by hardware. Firefox web browser is less secure in its 32 bit version than in its 64 bit version and also crashes often.
  • #1
WWGD
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,087
10,727
Hi All,
Just curious on pros/cons of installing software designed for 32- bit systems in a 64-bit machine
(Windows 8.1*)?

* I have never been able to tell the difference, if any, between Win 8 and Win 8.1 .
 
Computer science news on Phys.org
  • #2
Some software runs faster if you are using the 64 bit version and I believe the O.S. itself is more robust in the 64 bit version, with probably the biggest advantage being the amount of memory it can handle. Modern computers are pretty limited if you can only have the 4Gigs of RAM that are available with the 32 bit version.
 
  • Like
Likes WWGD
  • #3
phinds said:
Some software runs faster if you are using the 64 bit version and I believe the O.S. itself is more robust in the 64 bit version, with probably the biggest advantage being the amount of memory it can handle. Modern computers are pretty limited if you can only have the 4Gigs of RAM that are available with the 32 bit version.
Ah, yes, thanks, I forgot, I have 6 Gigs . EDIT: Just in case, the software I am think of installing is SQL Server Express, which I believe is always a local machine..
 
Last edited:
  • #4
WWGD said:
Ah, yes, thanks, I forgot, I have 6 Gigs . EDIT: Just in case, the software I am think of installing is SQL Server Express, which I believe is always a local machine..
The difference isn't so much in how much RAM you can have (big-mem kernels have been available in 32-bit versions of Windows and Linux for a long time), but rather in how much RAM each user-process can use, which is limited to 2GB in 32-bit kernels.
 
  • Like
Likes WWGD
  • #5
stoomart said:
The difference isn't so much in how much RAM you can have (big-mem kernels have been available in 32-bit versions of Windows and Linux for a long time), but rather in how much RAM each user-process can use, which is limited to 2GB in 32-bit kernels.
Thanks, what is the RAM limit for 64-bit kernels?
 
  • #6
  • Like
Likes WWGD
  • #7
  • Like
Likes stoomart
  • #9
I feel none of the answers really answered the original question. I lack the knowledge to give an accurate answer, however, I had read that some programs run faster when 32 bits, others run faster when 64 bits so my guess is that it depends on how the program was coded (apparently top chess engines really benefit from 64 bits compared to 32 bits. About 40% speedup if I remember well). But it isn't just about speed.
I've read that firefox web browser is less secure in its 32 bits version than in its 64 bits version and also that it crashes left often.
In the end my rule of thumb is to always pick the 64 bits version of a program, but I'm not knowledgeable on the topic. Waiting for the gurus to reply.
 

Related to General Question on 32- and 64- bit systems

What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit systems?

The main difference between 32-bit and 64-bit systems is their ability to handle memory. 32-bit systems can only access up to 4GB of RAM, while 64-bit systems can access much more, up to 16 exabytes of RAM. This means that 64-bit systems are able to handle larger and more complex tasks compared to 32-bit systems.

How do I know if my computer is running on a 32-bit or 64-bit system?

To find out if your computer is running on a 32-bit or 64-bit system, you can check your system information. On Windows, go to the "System" section in the Control Panel and look for the "System type" information. On Mac, go to "About This Mac" and look for the "Processor" information. It should mention if it is a 32-bit or 64-bit system.

Can I run 32-bit software on a 64-bit system?

Yes, most 64-bit systems have a compatibility layer that allows them to run 32-bit software. However, 32-bit software may not run as efficiently as it would on a 32-bit system, as it is not optimized for the larger memory capabilities of a 64-bit system.

What are the advantages of using a 64-bit system?

Aside from being able to access more memory, 64-bit systems also have the ability to run larger and more complex programs, allowing for better performance and multitasking. They also have improved security features and can handle larger file sizes compared to 32-bit systems.

Do all programs have 32-bit and 64-bit versions?

No, not all programs have both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Some programs may only have a 32-bit version, while others may only have a 64-bit version. It is important to check the system requirements of a program before downloading or installing it to ensure compatibility with your system.

Similar threads

  • Computing and Technology
2
Replies
37
Views
5K
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Programming and Computer Science
Replies
10
Views
4K
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
0
Views
457
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
10
Views
2K
Replies
35
Views
7K
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
7
Views
3K
  • Programming and Computer Science
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
9
Views
2K
Back
Top