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Old 06-23-2007, 04:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 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?
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Old 06-23-2007, 05:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is 64 bit processing? Do I need it?

wow....What a nice big question.

Anyway....
As of right now, all processors out now, are all 64-bit. Which means they are capable of doing 64-bit processing. And it would be the software, such as the operating system capable, of supporting the 64-bit architecture of the processor.

The advantage of 64-bit processing, I believe, is handling bigger files and more ram, more efficiently. The reason why the majority of 64-bit processors aren't doing 64-bit processing, is that theres not alot of support or software for 64-bit processing.

Yes...Windows XP does support 64-bit processing, as well as Vista....but 32-bit applications can run smoothly on 64-bit processors. The majority of us use 32-bit processing, on these 64-bit processors.

I'm probably not 100% right, but I'm just trying my best, to give you what I understand. On a side note, I don't think you can buy a 32-bit processor. I could be wrong, but all the processors I've seen are 64-bit capable. Why would you want a 32-bit processor, when the current processors, are 64-bit capable. I think the reason why, theres lack of support for 64-bit application, is because it takes money and time to convert, the majority of 32-bit applications, to 64-bit. So right now we're good with 32-bit processing. Just that eventually the majority, will convert to 64-bit processing. As of right now 64-bit processing is not necessary. Running 32-bit applications on 64-bit processors is fine.
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Old 06-23-2007, 07:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is 64 bit processing? Do I need it?

I'm not sure why but, you can't run more than around 3.5 gb of ram on a 32 bit os but you can on a 64 bit.

EDIT: I think, someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is 64 bit processing? Do I need it?

You're correct...around 3gb-3.5...on a 32-bit OS. A 64-bit OS can support a lot more memory. I heard it's limited to 128GB of RAM.
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Old 06-23-2007, 09:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is 64 bit processing? Do I need it?

Thanx b1gapl, I now know what I need to know about 64-bit processing.

64-bit modern processors all the way for me please
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