What is 64 bit processing? Do I need it?
I am really looking into buying a new computer, or more accurately put, I am looking into building myself a barebones system and upgrading it over time. But I am having a hard time understanding motherboards and processors. I will post questions in regards to that in another thread. First, I want to address one confusing topic: 32 bit processing versus 64 bit processing.
From what I understand, systems have been running on 32 bits for a very long time now, and 64 bit is a very new thing.
Well that’s all fine and dandy, but what does it mean?
Does it mean that a 64-bit 1Ghz CPU will process data at the same speed as a 32-bit 2Ghz CPU?
Does this take up more resources? I mean, if I were comfortable with a 1GB RAM system at 32-bits, I’d now need 2GB RAM with a 64-bit system to get the same results?
The Processors I am looking at saying they are or aren’t supportive of 64 bit. I’m confused; shouldn’t the processor either be 32 or 64, and it would be the Operating System that would then support the 64-bit processing? I mean, if it “can” support 64 bits, but “isn’t” running at that level, than what is the decisive factor?
Is 64 bit processing support really a great feature, or a mostly useless feature that is only applicable to extremely high end systems, gamers, and overclockers?
Does WinXP support 64 bit processing? Will Vista run just fine on a 32 bit processor? Is 64 bit processing the same thing as going from FAT16 to FAT32 to NTFS, or is file allocation and processor bits totally different subjects?
Will running a 64 bit processor cause complications trying to run 32-bit programs?
Are 64 bit programs able to be run by a 32 bit processor, or are new programs coming out that require 64 bit processing, thus making 32 bit processors and all 32 bit systems into dinosaurs? I mean, if I buy a system that runs on 32 bits today, will I be forced to throw it away and buy a 64 bit system in order to run the average modern program in 2 or 3 years?
HP Pavilion 7920
901MHz Intel processor, 256MB SDRAM,
30GB & 250GB IDE Hard Drives (NTFS)
Audio= Intel 82801AA AC\'97 Audio Controller
Video= Intel 82810 Graphics Controller
OS= WinXP Pro / SP3 (32 bit)