Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What we are getting if someone says "my machine is 64-bit computer" . What is the difference between 64-bit computer (I mean the CPU architecture) and operating system (Windows 64-bit OS). Please explain me how these terms are related with processor architecture.

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 10 '10 at 8:11

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

    
See 32-bit vs. 64-bit systems. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Oct 10 '10 at 8:49
    
You are getting someone who saw a "64-bit" sticker on the box the computer came in. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 27 '12 at 15:44

A 64-bit processor is one which handles (or can handle) 64 bits of data in a single operation (for example addition of two registers each containing 64-bit integers, or accessing a memory location via a 64-bit pointer).

A 64-bit operating system is one which is compiled to take advantage of the 64-bit instructions provided by a 64-bit processor and as such will not work on a processor that does not support these instructions. One advantage of 64-bit Windows for example is that it can take advantage of more physical RAM than the 32-bit version of Windows.

Many mainstream 64-bit processors also have 32-bit instructions so that they are able to run either a 32-bit or a 64-bit operating system.

share|improve this answer
1  
I would like to further add that most 64-bit operating systems can run 32-bit code. They still require 64-bit drivers, however. – Darth Android Oct 10 '10 at 9:06
    
Also, there are 64-bit chips that can't run 32-bit code without emulation (such as Itaniums) as well as 64-bit chips that can run 32-bit code but must run a 64-bit OS (such as some SPARC architectures). However, neither shows up in processors that can really be considered "mainstream". – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 10 '10 at 9:43

CPU with 64-bit registers can process more data than the 32-bit CPU that is faster than the CPU 16-bit and 8-bit. The more space available in the system CPU registers, the more also the process that can be handled, particularly in terms of system memory

share|improve this answer
    
Often the wider registers will result in poorer performance. And address space is only loosely associated with register size. It all depends on the internal CPU architecture. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 27 '12 at 2:10
    
any Documentation? – Malachi Oct 19 '12 at 22:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .