Pocketnow Power User: 32-bit versus 64-bit (video)

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32-bit versus 64-bit: What’s the difference? What are the advantages to both? On this episode of Pocketnow Power User we’re going to talk about which you’re going to want on your next smartphone or tablet.

What are bits?

When we’re talking 32-bit versus 64-bit we have to first talk about “bits”. Computers — even smartphones and tablets — run on a binary system, one and zero, on and off. Simple, right?

As an interesting aside, a byte is 8-bits. Half a byte is 4-bits and is called a nibble.

What does 32-bit mean?

In this context, a 32-bit system refers to how much “stuff” the system can address: RAM, colors, sound depth, etc. Most of the time, we’re simply referring to how the system addresses RAM — random access memory, or “memory” for short. 232 is 4,096, or 4GB, which is a decent amount of RAM for a desktop computer, but essentially double what most modern smartphones and tablets contain today.

I know what you’re thinking, why would you ever need 4GB RAM in your smartphone? As operating systems, drivers, and apps get bigger, and as we’re able to do more higher-resolution and processor/GPU intensive things, we’re going to need all the RAM we can get!

What does 64-bit mean?

264 is more than 16 billion GB — 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 to be precise. Why do we need that much? First of all, we’re not going to have anywhere near that much RAM in anything (let alone a smartphone) for a very, very long time. We will start to see devices with 4GB, 8GB, and even 16GB RAM in the next several years — and all this because of 64-bit architecture.

RAM capacity is just one component of what bumping up to 64-bit provides. If you’ve got knowledge in this area and would like to help educate and inform about other advantages of 64-bit versus 32-bit, head down to the comments, and keep the conversation going!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.