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32bit vs 64bit confusion

 
Ranch Hand
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You have:
1)
32 bit processor
64 bit processor

2)
32 bit OS
64 bit OS

3)
32 bit bus
64 bit bus

4)
32 bit applications
64 bit applications


a) What do these terms mean in simple English?
b) Are any combinations of these compatible with each other?
 
Rancher
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Aakash Goel wrote:You have:
1)
32 bit processor
64 bit processor


For any N, a N-bit processor means it can process N-bits at a time, usually.
So a basic "add" function without further details and specs, will add to N-bit numbers.

Aakash Goel wrote:2)
32 bit OS
64 bit OS


a 32 bit OS is an OS designed to work with 32 bit things. Which means specifically that the largest address it can easily use is 2^32, which is about 4GB.

Thus a 32-bit OS has troubles using more than 4GB of RAM.

Aakash Goel wrote:3)
32 bit bus
64 bit bus



Same, only about IO paths.

Aakash Goel wrote:4)
32 bit applications
64 bit applications


a) What do these terms mean in simple English?
b) Are any combinations of these compatible with each other?



32 bit applications are written expecting to be run on 32 bit processors with a 32 bit OS.

Yes, some combinations are compatible with others. Which depends on a lot of details.
 
Bartender
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How does one write an application specifically targeted for 32/64 bit???
 
Rancher
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Correct me if I am wrong here but I think:

When coding in High level languages one works with an abstraction: he needs not to be concerned about what underlying hardware his application is running on. He can only assume things about the Hardware and the infrastructure that application is using or running on like language framework or Virtual machine, compiler etc. should take care of the rest. I think that is the reason why you have different set of compilers or Virtual machines.

These sort of details will only matter when you work closer to hardware like when you are really manipulating the registers etc. (programming in assembly, writing firmware etc.)
 
Pat Farrell
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Maneesh Godbole wrote:How does one write an application specifically targeted for 32/64 bit???



I don't think you can in Java.

Clearly if you try to allocate 5GB of memory and it works, then you are on a 64bit virtual machine.

As others have said, its usually hardware folks, or C programmers that care about this stuff.
 
Maneesh Godbole
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Oh ok. Thank you.
 
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