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The terms "bit" and "bit" are commonly seen in system requirements and other technical literature, but few people actually know what these terms mean. Do they refer to hardware or software specifications? What makes a system bit and what is the difference between a bit computer and a bit model? In most cases, you simply need to know if your operating system is bit or bit in order to run a certain program.
However, when determining what software to install on your computer, it is helpful to understand what the terms actually mean. A bit processor includes a bit register , which can store 2 32 or 4,,, values. A bit processor includes a bit register, which can store 2 64 or 18,,,,,, values.
Therefore, a bit register is not twice as large as a bit register, but is 4,,, times larger. That's a big difference, but how does it affect computing performance? One bit in the register can reference an individual byte in memory, so a bit system can address a maximum of 4 gigabytes 4,,, bytes of RAM. The actual limit is often less — around 3. A bit register can theoretically reference 18,,,,,, bytes, or 17,,, gigabytes 16 exabytes of memory. This is several million times more than an average workstation would need to access.
What's important is that a bit computer which means it has a bit processor can access more than 4 GB of RAM. While 64 bits is far more storage than what modern computers require, it removes all bottlenecks associated with bit systems. For example, bit systems run more efficiently since memory blocks are more easily allocated. They also support bit instructions and have bit data paths, which enables them to process more data at once than bit systems can.
So how does bit or bit hardware affect software? Generally speaking, bit programs can run on a bit system, but bit programs will not run on a bit system.
This is because bit applications include bit instructions that will not be recognized by a bit processor. In order to run a bit program, your operating system must be bit. Around , bit versions of Windows and OS X became standard, though bit versions were still available. Therefore, if you bought your computer in or later, there is a good chance you are running a bit operating system.
In Windows, you can check your OS version by right-clicking My Computer , selecting Properties, and clicking System to view the system type. If you have a Mac and you are running OS X While it is possible to install a bit operating system on a bit system, it is best to install a bit version if possible.
The bit OS will allow your computer to access more RAM, run applications more efficiently, and, in most cases, run both bit and bit programs. Exceptions to this rule include system utilities and antivirus programs that are written specifically for a 32 or bit operating system. In these cases, you will need to install the version of the software that corresponds to your OS which may be different than your hardware.
Additionally, device drivers are often written for specific operating systems, so it is important to install bit drivers if you are running a bit OS and bit drivers if your operating system is bit.
Hopefully the above explanation has given you a better understanding of what bit and bit mean in reference to hardware and software. If you're installing an operating system, it's important to know what type of processor your computer has so you can install the right one. If you are installing software, it's important to know what type of operating system your computer is running, so you can install the correct version.
Most PCs today are bit. However, if you have a bit computer, you have no choice but to install a bit OS. If you have a bit system but have some mission critical peripherals that do not have bit drivers, installing a bit OS might be your best option. In all other cases, it is best to buy bit hardware, install a bit operating system, and run bit applications.
This combination will provide the best possible performance. Answers What is the difference between a bit and bit system? Hardware bit and bit are commonly used to describe processor architecture or design.
Software So how does bit or bit hardware affect software? Summary Hopefully the above explanation has given you a better understanding of what bit and bit mean in reference to hardware and software. Browse Terms Browse Quizzes.