Recently, I've heard the terms "32-bit OS" & "64-bit OS" thrown around quite a bit, never quite knowing what each meant. Well, it has been explained to me by the god's of Gizmodo.com. The picture below should sum it up quite briefly, for all you speed-readers out there.
First, a little background info:
I could go into detail, but I think it's best to keep it simple. Basically, the "power" of a computer is determined by the sum of its components. Two of the most important components are the Processor and the RAM. The higher the values of these two components, the more "powerful" your computer is (again- this is a huge oversimplification, but easy to take in).
Here's where the differences really shine:
32-bit OS allows only a certain amount of RAM- somewhere in the ballpark of 4Gigabytes. 64-bit OS, on the other hand, allow about 16 exabytes of RAM. That's 16 billion Terabytes (1 Terabyte = 1000 Gigabytes). While the numbers here are so astronomical that it's very difficult to grasp, you can hopefully see that 64-bit OS's leave room for vasts amount of RAM, which makes the computer much more "powerful."
64-bit >>>>>>>>>>>>>> 32-bit
As pointed out by a reader, I failed to mention a major piece of information. 64-bit OS's can (theoretically) perform TWICE as many calculations per second as 32-bit OS's. This adds to the main focus of the article: 64-bit>32-bit