“A computer is like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy”

Tuesday, December 8

9. Picking the Right One: 32bit vs. 64bit

You probably want to know what the deal is with this stuff. First, let me explain what it means. When this is referred to by an operating system or hardware setting, what they're really talking about is the “data buss.” Now, exactly what that is isn't really important. What it is that it does is.

The data buss is what moves the information around in your computer. This gets the information from your hard drive to your RAM to your processor, et al. When we say “bit”, think of it like a lane on a highway. With 32 bits, we have 32 lanes with which to drive down. Obviously, you're going to get less traffic jams on a 64 lane highway than you would on a 32 lane. While this is absolutely true, and that 64 bit systems hardware-wise are faster, it's not the gospel truth. In reality, 64 bit OS's aren't really what they're cracked up to be.

For example, Windows 64 bit versions are not nearly that efficient. Most Linux and the Apple OS are pretty good, but there are still issues. The BIG ISSUE is that there's not that much stable software for the 64 bit OS's. While this has been changing of late, it's still a problem. These OS's will run the 32 bit variants of softwares, but why would you pay for something you're not going to use? That's like building a 64 lane highway and only letting people drive on half of it.

If you need 64 bit processing and have specific applications (softwares) that run on it, great. Remember, buy for your specific function. But if you do not have any specific software applications that require 64 bit, don't bother. You can save yourself some money by sticking with the 32 bit versions.

Bottom Line: All OS's have their good points and their bad points. Pick one that fits your needs, and you'll be fine.