32 bit vs. 64 bit – Windows 8

By | December 8, 2012

Which should you choose if upgrading or buying a new computer, 32-bit or 64-bit?

Probably most always a 64 bit system; it can handle more RAM (memory) and most all programs are available for 64 bit. A program that won’t run on windows 8 64bit probably won’t run on windows 8 32 bit anyway. Most programs will run fine on Windows 8 although you may need to upgrade to newer versions of some programs. I have yet to have a single program that won’t run on my windows 8 64 bit. Best part of 64 bit is you can add a lot more RAM and it is used more effectively and RAM is what makes or breaks you when opening lots of programs and multi-tasking. RAM is your best friend when it comes to hardware, and it is about the cheapest thing you can add to a system thanks to sites like crucial.com. To give you an example, our newest computer is a Dell Inspirion All-in-One and two 4-gig RAM sticks are only $39.99 (easy for even the most non-techie to install.. just plugs in a slot).

Here is Microsoft description of difference: The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer’s processor (also called a CPU), handles information. The 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system. So, definitely go 64 bit unless you are upgrading an older computer and the Windows 8 upgrade test informs you otherwise. Another thing to keep in mind is not all hardware/devices/processors are compatible with 64 bit, but most have 64 bit drivers available so you are covered; again, Windows 8 upgrade tool should let you know this and unless you are running a very old computer it is not going to be an issue.

Advantages to 64 bit vs. 32 bit:
Increased memory support beyond that of the 4-GB limit you can use on a 32-bit operating system
Increased program performance for programs that are written to take advantage of a 64-bit operating system
Enhanced security features

More info:
Most programs designed for the 32-bit version of Windows will work on the 64-bit version of Windows. Notable exceptions are many antivirus programs. But, most antivirus have a 64 bit version, so again, this is not an issue. And, since Windows 8 comes loaded with its own antivirus and security, it is not an issue at all.

16 bit applications won’t run on 64 bit Windows. This is unlikely to be a problem. Most software developed in the last ten years is 32 bit.

Microsoft has a great info page discussing 32 vs. 64 bit. Click here for more info.

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