32 or 64? is Bigger Better?

December 1, 2009

It keeps on happening.  People buy a i7 Quad Core Processor Systemwith a terabyte drive  and max out the memory to the limit of 16 gigbyte for the motherboard. Then they have Windows Vista (32 bit)  or Windows 7  (32 bit) installed on the computer and have total shock that Windows only used 4 gig of the 16 gig of the memory installed! What is going on? What is wrong with the other 12 gig of memory?

Not a darn thing! There is nothing wrong with any of the hardware.

To make things simple let’s think about children. When you ask a three-year old child how old they are, what do they show you?

How about when they are 4 years old?

Ever ask how many months that is?

What do they do? They show you the same fingers. The number 12 does not exist! They only have 10 fingers!

How many fingers does a computer have? 4 or 8 or 16 or 32 or 64 or 128!

Let use the child’s 3 fingers like a computer would. Number 1 would be one finger. For the number 2 the one finger would be down and the finger next to it would be up.  The number 3 would be the finger that went down to come back up. So then the one finger would represent 2 and the other finger 1 equaling 3. The number 4 would be the two fingers would go down and the third would be up, representing two twos equaling 4.  This way one finger represents 1 the other finger represents 2 (two ones) and the third equals 4 (two twos).  Okay, now that we know how a computer counts using that method what is the highest you could count to using just one hand with five fingers? 31!  How does it work?  One finger represents 1 the second finger 2 the third finger 4 the fourth finger 8 the fifth finger 16!  Now the computer doesn’t have hands with fingers it has registries with bits.  But we will keep the same analogy just for fun 🙂

Pentium computers were designed for 32 bit operation (32 fingers on it’s hand) and installed with 4 gig of memory; therefore to use all the fingers what operating system should be chosen 16 bit or 32?  What is the highest that a 16 bit operating system can count to? 65,535!  How about a 32 bit? 4,294,967,295 (4 gig) So this is a no brainer right?

Okay, now lets examine our original problem. A Quad Core i7 processor with 16 gig of memory and one terra byte hard drive is a full-blown 64 bit computer!  Now what operating system should go on this system?  Should it be a 32 bit operating system or 64?  What happens if you use a 32 bit XP or Vista or Windows 7?  IT WILL NEVER SEE BEYOND 4 GIG OF MEMORY!  Why?  It can’t count higher!   It can only count to 4,294,967,295 (4 gig).

What happens if you use Vista or a Windows 7, 64 bit operating system on the 64 bit computer? It will see all the memory and use all it’s fingers for counting. 🙂

How high can it count to? 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 (18 Terabytes !)

So you see everyone should get their hands on a 64 bit computer with a 64 bit operating system, that’s a system you can count on ! 🙂


by R. Frank Tulak