Our everyday life involves interaction with all kinds of different technologies. Some of these are at their pinnacle, the best versions that could ever come. Some technologies, on the other hand, are continually upgraded and made better. We get to see exciting new developments in such technologies every year or so, even more frequently in some cases.
When it comes to computer technology, both hardware and software are constantly being improved. Users can choose to have machines with the latest specifications, or they could opt for older ones. More robust processors, bigger memories, and better displays and input devices are some of the kinds of upgrades we see in laptops and smart devices.
One of the most significant upgrades users can adopt for personal computing devices is switching from a 32-bit architecture to a 64-bit architecture. A 64-bit machine can enable the machine to achieve far more than a 32-bit one in terms of productivity and performance. As a user can always make this switch, native development applications like Delphi make it easy to develop for 64-bit and 32-bit architecture alike.
This article dives into understanding the conversation around 32-bit and 64-bit architecture and why switching to the latter is beneficial.
What does 32-Bit/64-Bit mean?
Before talking about the benefits that the switch in architecture would bring you, it is necessary to be on the same page about what exactly is a 32-bit or a 64-bit machine. Referring to the bytes of data a particular processor can access, the number in the name is an exponent to 2 because computers only understand binary. A 32-bit processor can access only 232 bytes of memory while a 64-bit one can access 264 bytes.
Having a processing power equivalent to more than 4 billion 32-bit processors combined, a 64-bit processor can evidently handle applications intended for a 32-bit machine. However, vice versa is not possible as a 32-bit won’t deal with 64-bit applications. While 32-bit processors came in handy when the most RAM any personal computer had was 4 GB, 64-bit processors were rolled out to accommodate RAM greater than 4 GB.
With 32-bit machines being upgraded to 64-bit, developers started worrying about migrating the codebase for their applications to 64-bit. However, development products like Delphi made it easy to achieve this task and encouraged developers to offer both versions for users to choose from.
What are the benefits of going from 32-Bit To 64-Bit?
Having understood what 32-bit and 64-bit allude to, you may ask the question of whether it is desirable to upgrade your machine. While it may depend on factors like the general nature of work and resources, the upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit is most often encouraged.
Some of the main advantages of opting for a 64-bit architecture are discussed below:
More Processing Power
Possessing much more processing power than its 32-bit counterpart, 64-bit processors can handle much more complex computations. They are the right choice if your work involves complicated calculations. Examples of applications that require such computations include spreadsheets, media processing, and development applications like Delphi. 64-bit processors handle graphics processing much better as well, necessary for a better gaming experience.
Apart from laptops and PCs, smartphones and tablets have also started using 64-bit architecture for high processing capabilities. Apple’s iPhone 5s was the first smartphone with a 64-bit processor, and Android 5.0 and above started supporting 64-bit applications.
Better Multitasking Experience
The multitasking experience on a particular operating system or machine is one of the most crucial performance benchmarks. A 64-bit processor can produce a significantly better multitasking experience when coupled with adequate RAM. Therefore, if your work involves working on multiple applications simultaneously, 64-bit architecture is most definitely recommended.
As 64-bit processors can handle much more RAM than 32-bit processors, the multitasking experience is far smoother on 64-bit machines. Switching between contexts and applications running in the background becomes snappier. More RAM helps open more programs, and better access to the RAM enables a smoother user experience.
Ability To Handle More RAM
RAM is one of the main areas that limit a 32-bit processor’s performance. Due to the number of memory register values, it can access, a 32-bit architecture can only be paired with 4 GB RAM at most. However, a 64-bit processor can access much more register values and, therefore, be paired with RAM of 16 or even 32 GB for personal computers.
One example of 64-bit architecture’s support for vast amounts of RAM is that the most RAM supported by the 64-bit operating system Windows 10 is two terabytes. Much more RAM is used in supercomputers whose processors are all 64-bit based.
Access To Better Versions Of Software
64-bit processors can accommodate large amounts of RAM and perform much larger and more complex computations. Applications intended to run on a 64-bit processor can therefore use more memory for its processing and deliver a better and smoother experience. Evidently, software written for 64-bit architecture is much better in performance.
Since 32-bit machines are still used for certain computing market segments, developers tend to release 32-bit and 64-bit versions for users to choose from. However, heavier software running on more complex processes only works on 64-bit processors as a 32-bit machine will not run them properly.
An oft-ignored aspect of upgrading from a 32-bit configuration to a 64-bit processor is the significant security improvement. Malware intended for 32-bit machines cannot attack 64-bit ones due to its limitations on 32-bit applications. 64-bit Windows uses driver signatures that make it very difficult for malware to infiltrate security firewalls and harm the system. A 64-bit processor also means better encryption and a heightened security protocol.
Most operating systems use the processing strength of 64-bit architecture to implement robust security protocols. Examples like the Data Execution Protection and Kernel Patch Protection (in 64-bit Windows) are prominent inbuilt core security measures.
The above benefits are only a few examples of what upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit would bring the user. With such benefits and 64-bit architecture becoming a standard now, modernizing to 64-bit is highly advantageous.
How does Delphi help with modernizing from 32-Bit to 64-Bit?
While users would have to view the upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit in a different light, developers may have other concerns. After all, an application originally written for 32-bit architecture can run on the 64-bit one but not vice versa. Developers would not have optimized such an application to use all the power offered by the 64-bit processor. Thankfully, powerful application development products like Delphi make modernizing applications from 32-bit to 64-bit easy.
The main ways Delphi helps out with the shift from 32-bit to 64-bit are as follows:
- Letting You Easily Migrate Application Codebase from 32-bit to 64-bit: Delphi enables you to take an existing 32-bit Delphi application codebase and quickly make it deliver 64-bit applications. It simply involves selecting the 64-bit Windows platform as the target platform. Compiling your application afterward will yield a 64-bit Windows application.
- Enabling You To Refactor & Optimize Your Code: Delphi’s documentation guides you to accommodate changes to your codebase so that it’s optimized for the 64-bit architecture. Such changes include pointer sizes, integer sizes, and inline assembly code.
- Educating You With 64-Bit Application Development Through LearnDelphi: Developing 64-bit applications becomes a breeze if you learn directly from LearnDelphi. It guides you through the UI development of an application and how it can be developed to use the 64-bit architecture in the most optimized fashion.