Difference between Windows 8 32 bit and 64 bit

September 28, 2015 by Editorial Team

32 bit and 64 bit, what do they actually mean for our Windows 8? It may mean nothing, or it may mean everything. Depending on how we use our Windows 8 operating system, and what applications we usually use, the differences between the two can mean a change in performance.


Windows 8 32 bit vs Windows 8 64 bit
Windows 8 Menu

Windows 8 32 bit

To understand Windows 8, you need to know that it was released in August 2012 and was intended to improve user experience on tablets and touch screen displays of its predecessor, the Windows 7. This is simply because Windows has joined the competition for mobile operating systems like Android and iOS.

To understand how 32 bit works on your Windows 8, let us identify how the term 32 bit works. To put it in simpler terms, the 32 bit is how much addressable space it can occupy. So by using the calculation necessary to learn how much addressable space your Windows can use (232), it will total 4 GiB.

Note: 1 GiB = 1,073,741,814 bytes = 1.074 GB

Basically, it’s all about the addressable space. This would mean that your 32 bit Windows 8 can use 4 GB of addressable space and not more. This limitation will now reflect on your memory or RAM. Since 4 GB is the capacity of your addressable space, this will now mean that 4 GB of memory can only be fully used even though you have an 8 GB of RAM or higher. Picture the value of RAM you have as the number of cars you have, and addressable space as your car garage. You can only park 4 cars in a 4-car garage.

Windows 8 64 bit

For a 64 bit Windows 8, it will still use the necessary calculation to learn how much addressable space you have. By having 264, you’ll get a value of 1.1529215 x 109 gigabytes which totals to 16 Exbibyte. Theoretically, the large 16 Exbibyte would be your addressable space, but since all of it won’t be fully utilized, certain OS’s will have their physical memory limitations. For your Windows 8, it can use up to 128 GB, while Windows 8 Enterprise and Professional can use up to 512 GB. This is because it’s physically impossible to use 16 Exbibyte of RAM on your system.

By default, a 64-bit will have an addressable space of 8 TB. This would now mean that your RAM has that much space to work with, so having more than 4GB would not be a issue, as long as it does not exceed its physical memory limitations.

Comparison Chart

Windows 8 32-BitWindows 8 64-Bit
Addressable Space of 4 GiB (Can use up to 4 GB of RAM)Addressable Space of 16 Exbibyte (Can use up to 512 GB of RAM)
64-bit applications/programs won’t workMost 32-bit applications/programs will work
Can run with both 32-bit and 64-bit ProcessorsWill run only with 64-bit Processors
Not recommended for multi-tasking and stress-testingIdeal for multi-tasking and stress-testing
Requires lower RAM to run (1 GB)Requires higher RAM to run (2 GB)
Requires 16 GB of storage spaceRequires 20 GB of storage space

Windows 8 32 bit vs Windows 8 64 bit

What is the difference between Windows 6 32-bit and Windows 8 64-bit? There are actually many differences and most of them focus on performance and compatibility.

  • Performance – With their huge difference in addressable space, this would now mean that 64-bit Windows 8 can use more RAM than your 32-bit.  A 64-bit has the potential to perform faster than a 32-bit as long as you have more than 4 GB of RAM. The same rule applies with your applications. 64-bit applications can use more than 4 GB of Ram while 32-bit can only use 2 GB of RAM (taking 2 GB physical memory barrier of a 32-bit OS in effect). However, it will also depend on what applications are used. For heavy applications like Photoshop, a difference will be noticeable if you have more than 4 GB of RAM with your 64-bit Windows 8. For applications like notepad and other light applications, there will likely be no difference in terms of performance.
  • Compatibility – With a 64-bit Windows 8, you can run all 64-bit applications, including most  32-bit applications. But with a 32-bit Windows 8, you can only run 32-bit applications. One other thing would be the processors used. With a 32-bit Windows 8, a 32-bit and 64-bit processor can be used, while a 64-bit Windows 8 can only run with a 64-bit processor.

So to summarize, their differences may only mean numbers and compatibilities depending on what applications you use and how much RAM you have. If you’re running a notepad on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 8, there would be no significant difference.  But when you’re running a Photoshop with a 32-bit and 64 bit Windows 8 where each have 8 GB of RAM, the 64-bit Windows 8 would have a better result.


You can refer to the video below for visual details.