So we’ve heard 32-bit is a synonym for x86 processor architecture and 64-bit is x64 processor architecture. But what about AMD64, ARM64, and ARM?
What you need to know❔
AMD64 (also known as x86_64, Intel 64) means 64-bit when installing Windows, macOS, and Linux distributions.
ARM64 / 64-bit ARM = Snapdragon-powered mobile CPU etc.
x86 also known widely as 32-bit is used in older hardware.
Now Windows 10 is available in all three options.
Windows 11 is not available for 32-bit processors.
AMD64 (generally 64-bit)
There is a 64-bit processor architecture known as AMD64 or x86-64 or just x64 created by AMD. As a result of AMD64, it is possible to run 32-bit and 64-bit applications simultaneously without performance degradation. AMD extended the x86 instruction set to 64 bits to maintain backward compatibility with 32-bit programs when 64-bit processors first hit the market. It is similar to the current x86-64 specification.
ARM and ARM64
Advanced RISC Machines (ARM) is one of the companies that manufacture ARM processors, which utilize the reduced instruction set computing architecture. Snapdragon is a company well known for making ARM processors that can run Windows operating systems.
X86 (generally 32-bit)
X86 refers to Intel’s original 16-bit processors using the 8086 instruction set, which used the x86 instruction set. The 80386 and subsequent generations also shared the same instructions set. Until the introduction of Pentium chips, the convention continued. Nonetheless, the term “x86” still refers to these kinds of chips.
There are two types of CPU architecture available in the market, modern CPUs are based on x64 architecture and are capable of supporting 32-bit as well as 64-bit operating systems. On the other hand, x86 architecture CPUs only support 32-bit operating systems. ARM processors are slowly taking on and we might see them available for the general public, the problem with buying ARM processors is that you can’t buy-and-plug them to your computer because such processors are soldered into a motherboard.
Desktop computers tend to perform much better with an x64 architecture CPU than one with an x86 architecture, x64 CPUs are generally better than x86 CPUs.
FAQ: I know 32-bit and 64-bit but what’s with x64 and x86
Answer: The 32-bit also known as x86 and the 64-bit also known as x64.
How to determine your CPU architecture?
Which OS edition do you need?
Your PC supports 64-bit OS
A quick lookup in the Windows settings [Settings ➜ About] will reveal your system type. You can tell by looking at the screenshot below that my computer can run a 64-bit operating system, Windows 11, because my processor is X64-based. I can run 64-bit applications on my computer based on that information.
A Programs files (x86) folder inside the local disk C: (we assume you installed Windows on the default location).
Your PC supports 32-bit OS
You will only be able to find a single “Program Files” folder on your computer. It will not be possible for you to run 64-bit applications (software and games) on your computer. Moreover, you will not be able to install Windows 11 since it is not a 32-bit version of the OS, but you can install a much larger number of Linux distributions as they are optimized to run on lower-end hardware, which is generally supported by 32-bit operating systems.
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