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x86 x64X86 Vs X64

x86 vs x64 : What is the difference between x86 and x64 Architecture

Posted in Facts   LAST UPDATED: AUGUST 13, 2021

In this article, we are going to going to know the difference between x86 and x64 instruction set architectures.

What is x86 Architecture?

The x86 is an instruction set architecture (ISA) family for computer processors, developed by the Intel Corporation. They define the way how a processor manages and executes various instructions from the operating system and application programs. The "x" in x86 denotes the version of ISA.

The x86 architecture was designed in 1978. It is based on Intel's 8086 and 8088 microprocessors. Gradually it grew from 16-bit instructions set for 16-bit processors to 32-bit instruction sets. Owing to its capability of running almost any type of computer from PCs to Supercomputers, various other microprocessor manufacturers have adopted it.

What is x64 architecture?

Similar to the x86, the x64, which is also called "x86-64" ( meaning x86-based 64-bit) is also a family of instruction set architecture for computer processors. But, x64 has 64-bit CPUs and an operating system rather than the 32-bit system which belongs to x86. It is officially known as Intel 64 and AMD 64 respectively from its manufacturers.

When first designed, it was called x86-64. More precisely x64 is the architecture name for the extension to the x86 instruction set that enables 64-bit code.

Features of x86

  • It uses Complex Instruction set computing Architecture (CISC).
  • It executes complex instruction at a time and takes more than a cycle.
  • It uses the Hardware approach to optimize systems performance.
  • It uses more registers and less memory.
  • It is less pipelined.
  • It is designed to handle complex addresses.

Features of x64

  • It has 64-bit integer capability.
  • It has a larger virtual address space, app. 256 TiB of it. which can be raised to 16 EiB in the future.
  • Very large files can be operated on by mapping the entire file into the process's address space.
  • It also has a larger physical address space, which can address up to 256 TiB of RAM, which could be extended to 4 PiB in the future.
  • Instructions can reference data relative to the instruction pointer, making the code position-independent, which when used in shared libraries, load more efficiently in the runtime.

Applications of x86

  • Most of the world's Personal Computers.
  • Laptops
  • Gaming consoles
  • Intensive Workstations
  • Cloud Computing segments

Applications of x64

  • Mobile Processors
  • Supercomputers
  • Many popular operating systems
  • Video games consoles
  • Virtualization technologies

Also Read: Memory Organization in Computer Architecture

Comparison:

x86 x64
Introduced in the year 1978. Came up more recently in 2000.
It emerged from Intel 8086 processor. It came as an extension to x86, by AMD.
It is a 32-bit architecture. It is a 64-bit architecture.
Processors have 32-bit registers, memory bus, data bus. Processors have 64-bit registers, a memory bus, data bus.
It has a limitation on maximum addressable memory, 4 GB. The limit is huge, 2 raised to 64 bytes.
Less powerful than x64 Much improved and powerful than x86
Need to use more registers to split values and store them. Values that can be stored are larger.
Slower than x64 Can handle the computation of larger integers much faster.
Can only parallel transmit 32-bits, as it has a 32-bit bus. It can parallel transmit larger size data along the 64-bit data bus, i.e 64-bit.

Conclusion:

The biggest difference between x86 and x64 is that they can access the different amounts of RAM. The x86 (32-bit processors) has a limited amount of maximum physical memory at 4 GB, while x64 (64-bit processors) can handle 8, 16, and some even 32GB physical memory.

A computer with x64 can work with both 32-bit programs and 64-bit programs. However, a computer with x86 can only run 32-bit programs. This is because their bit sizes are different from the basic level. Older computers run on mostly x86. Today's laptops with pre-installed Windows run mostly on x64.

x64 processors work more efficiently than an x86 processor when dealing a large amount of data If you are using a 64-bit Windows PC, you can find a folder named Program Files (x86) on the C drive. The folder stores 32-bit applications, while all the 64-bit apps that you have installed are stored in the Program Files folder.

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