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Windows 7: What is a BIT ?

17 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7
What is a BIT ?

For the novice.

I see the term 32 Bit and 64 Bit.

Does this apply to the motherboard or does this apply to software?

It's only lately (for me) that I have heard of these terms. Do/did all computers come with Bits in the past or is this something relatively new? Was there something before 32 Bit?

I see new PC desktop computers sold as 32 Bit and 64 Bit. What is the difference?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2009   #2

Windows 10 Pro (x64)

Well Wikipedia likes offering its opinion on the matter...
64-bit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And yes Computer always had "bits" nothing new, we just have more now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2009   #3

Windows 7 build 7100 x86

Before 32bit there was 16bit, and 8bit and so on. They refer to the type of instructions that your processor in your computer can handle. Most modern processors are 32bit and 64bit capable, which means that they can do advanced tasks depending on the software that you install.
The biggest difference between the two is the amount of memory that each can use. Windows 32bit can only use up to 3.5GB of RAM, which is the short term memory that your computer uses (this memory type is very fast). Windows 64bit can use a much larger amount of this memory, which means that it will be faster for programs that do alot of processing, such as Photoshop and video editing.

Either 32bit or 64bit is fine to use for a new computer, as most can handle both with ease. Windows 7 makes it even easier to make the transition to x64 (64bit), as many of the problems with it have been ironed out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Dec 2009   #4

Windows 7 build 7100 x86

oh and a bit is short for binary digit. Its value can either be on or off (0 or 1). These bits make up the information that you see on the screen. There are 8bits to a byte, which you may have heard of. Many bytes make up the information that you see. 1024 bytes make up a kilobyte, and a megabyte is 1024 kilobytes.

So when you see a song that is 3MB in size, you know that it is made a lot of bits.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2009   #5

Windows 10 64 bit

Wow! this gets me thinking back to my old "binary computer" days (tells how old I am).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2009   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

And to (maybe) help you understand how the whole lot works, look at this number (written in binary):


In our human way of thinking, the above binary number represents 15. It is calculated as follows:

1 1 1 1 BINARY
8 4 2 1 VALUE

When you calculate 8+4+2+1, you get 15. That how you work out binary. you start from the right-most digit, which has a value of 1, as you move left, the decimal value gets doubled.

Using that basic principle, the binary 10000001 represents 129.

The greater the number of bits support, the larger the number that can be represented by the computer without any special processing required.

32 Bits 11111111 11111111 11111111 11111111 is 4,294,967,295 in decimal. If you keep dividing that by 1024, you'll also begin to understand why 32 bit software is limited to a maximum of 4GB memory. Many wrongly believe this to be 3.5GB, but the limit of 32 bit is 4GB. The so-called "lost" memory is in use - just not for what you expect. I've spoken about this subject before in other threads.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2009   #7

64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro

This reminds me too much of my old machine language days...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2009   #8

Windows 10 64 bit

Along with the number of bits for addressing, there is also the number of bits for each "word" that is processed. The more bits, more info can be contained in one "word". Or in A/D or D/A conversions the more bits the more accurate an Analog wave will be represented by Digtal "bits" (digitized) or vice versa, the more digital bits, the more accurate the Analog wave can be created from the digital.

Tews, I'm with you on the old machine language programming (when I worked at NASA as a programmer on the old PCM Telemetry Processors).
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 What is a BIT ?

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