# what are 32 and 64-bits in computers and what difference do they make?

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Does it make the computer faster? And how are they different from 8 and 16-bit video game consoles?

In: 2446

32 or 64 are the “bandwith” of a computers instructions.

The CPU of a computer takes in 32 or 64 bits and does some kind of instructions on that.

Bigger calculations that dont fit in this have to be split into multiple instructions and have to store some temp result.

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essentially, a bit represents either a 1 or a 0. The more bits a computer has, the bigger the values it can use.
For example, the biggest number a 8 bit computer can get to is 2^8 = 256 (each bit has 2 states (either 1 or 0), and we have 8 of them) which means the largest number it can get to is 255 (0 to 255, 256 numbers)
You cant caluclate anything that has a result larger than 255.

same thing with 32 and 64 bits.
2^32 = 4,294,967,296

2^64 = 1.84467441E+19

This is the main difference.
A 64 bit computer can handle massive numbers at once.
LMK if y need to know more 🙂

The easiest way I can think of:

Imagine a word 16 letters, 32 letters and a word 64 letters long. you can write way more “words” with 64 letters!

every “combination” of letters, every word, is referring to a box with something inside.

with 64 letters long words, you have waaay more boxes.

those bits are exactly that: the size of the address of every memory section.

If you have longer addresses, you can address a lot more memory.

And that’s also the size of the “containers” in the CPU, where a single data can be stored. that’s way oversimplified

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>Does it make the computer faster

now, talking about performance: is it better with more bits? yes.. and no. if you have very specific applications (mathematical calculations, games etc…) it will improve performance.

for standard applications, no, it won’t.

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Well, except you can have more total memory. So it will increase overall performance of the system.

16 bits can address 64KB of RAM

32 bits can address 4GB of RAM (3.3 actually, for strange limitations)

64 bits.. well.. A LOT of RAM.

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And having bigger container in the CPU can perform two mathematical calculations at one time.

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>how are they different from 8 and 16-bit video game consoles

That’s similar. those terms were the length of the data used by the graphical chip. let’s say “the box content” in the prev. example. Why Nintendo choose this? IDK

EDIT: better console explanation

A “bit” is a single piece of information, in a binary computer it is either on or off, 0 or 1.

The expression 8 bit or 16 bit refers to how many of these piece of information a computer can deal with in one action.

so 8 bits means the computer can handle data 8 characters wide:

8 = 10001000

16 = 1000100010001000

32 = 10001000100010001000100010001000

64 = 1000100010001000100010001000100010001000100010001000100010001000

so the more bits the more information a computer can process at one instant.

Speed is also determined by how many times per second the compute reads or does an action on this piece of information, this is typically referred to in the “Mega Hertz” or “Giga hertz”

So more information can go through a computer if the computer can handle larger and larger numbers at the same time (more bits) or can process faster (more hertz)