William wants to know why computer manufacturers are pushing 64-bit machines
I would like to know why most all computer brands are now trying to sell 64 bit in place of 32 bit, is their a good reason for this? Please let me know as I am thinking of replacing my wife’s computer.
The answer is complex. It depends on what kinds of applications you generally run and how resource hungry they are. If you generally use your computer for browsing the Web, emailing, chatting, social networking, light image editing, etc. then a 32 bit system would be perfectly fine for you. The future, though, is going to be 64-bit because it has many advantages over 32 bit including the maximum amount of RAM that can be accessed and better overall performance.
- 64 bit systems can use much more than 4GB of memory, but, any 32 bit software will be restricted to 4GB memory – you need a 64 bit CPU, OS and applications to take full advantage of the extra RAM.
- 16 bit applications will no longer run. Although this is unlikely to be a problem, if you use very old software (from the Windows 3.1 days!) then it will not work under a 64 bit OS.
- Any 32 bit drivers will no longer work. If you’re buying a new Windows 64-bit computer this won’t be a problem. But if you intend to run older 32 bit programs which require drivers to run (usually antivirus programs, specialized database programs, CAD drawing programs, some types of games, system optimizer programs, etc.) they will not work. However most 32 bit applications will run just fine on 64 bit systems. Most software does not need drivers and therefore most (but not all) 32 bit applications will run on a 64 bit computer.
If you regularly work with resource-hungry applications that are 64 bit optimized like video editing software, 3D graphics software, CAD software or huge databases it would be especially beneficial to be able to take advantage of more than 4GB of RAM – for these types of applications, a 64 bit system would be the better choice since it can use virtually unlimited amounts of RAM. The amount of RAM you can use would be limited only by the computer’s motherboard. If you have a 64 bit computer and you want to add more RAM, make sure you know what the maximum amount of RAM you can install in your computer. While a 64 bit operating system can utilize almost unlimited amounts of RAM, your computer’s motherboard will have a maximum amount that can be installed. So be sure to check your computer manufacturer’s web site or with www.crucial.com before you buy additional RAM.
There is no doubt that 64 bit computing is here to stay — for a while. And it’s clear that 32 bit operating systems will go the way of 16 bit operating systems. With that being said, did you know that right now Microsoft is working on a 128 bit operating system? And it may well be that they’ll be a 128-bit version of Windows 8 when it is released sometime in 2012 (hopefully before the end of the world! — Just kidding.) .