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Windows x86 vs Windows x64

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Windows x86 vs Windows x64

jshoemaker21
Whats the big difference between the two, besides running 64 bit applications?
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Why Me Worry?
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and can easily address memory over 1TB of RAM due to the 64 bit architecture. 64 bit is exactly as the name implies 2^64 combinations of zeros and ones bits to process information.

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nonya
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"As the name implies, 64x is a 64 bit CPU and Data Bus".
So does that mean that x86 is a 86 bit CPU and Data bus? All this time I though x86 was 32 bit. I've never even heard of 86 bit architecture.

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CharlieSpencer
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The term x86 goes back to the one of the earliest processors Intel made for PCs, the 16-bit 8086. It was followed by the 80286, then the 32-bit 80386 and 80486. Most operating systems that would run on one of these processors would run on either of the others. Such OSs and apps were said to be '80x86 compatible', or just 'for x86 systems' for short. With the introduction of the Pentium series Intel dropped the '80x86' naming convention, but by then the term 'x86' had become common usage for all Intel and AMD 32-bit PC processors.

When the 64-bit chips came out, different operating systems were required to take full advantage of their capabilities. Software for these chips does include the number '64' in its name and does indicate the number of bits. The legacy term 'x86' was too entrenched and I don't recall anyone making any attempt to use the number '32' in describing apps for it.

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gladdy8er
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Thanks for this short but very thorough clarification. What I like most about your answer is the etymology behind the adoption of the two protocols (i.e., x64 vs. x86). I'm leaning towards x64 for Window7. Thanks again!