32-bit computing


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32-bit computing

CPUs that process 32 bits as a single unit, compared to 8, 16 or 64. Although 32-bit CPUs were used in mainframes as early as the 1960s, personal computers began to migrate from 16 to 32 bits in the 1980s. Starting with the first 32-bit 386 chips in 1985, Intel x86 CPUs were built with a 16-bit mode for compatibility with 16-bit applications (see 386).

The 32-bit mode does not result in two times as much real work getting done as in 16-bit mode, because it relates to only one aspect of internal processing. The CPU's clock speed, along with the speed, size and architecture of the disks, memory and peripheral bus all play important roles in a computer's performance (see throughput). See 64-bit computing and bit specifications.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Stellaris family of microcontrollers brings high-performance 32-bit computing to cost-sensitive embedded microcontroller applications at a cost equivalent to legacy 8- and 16-bit devices.
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From the outset, 64-bit computing offers the use of vastly increased system memory - up to 32 GB of RAM, compared with 4 GB (2 GB dedicated memory per processor) through 32-bit computing - along with potential virtual memory of up to 16 terabytes.
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The new low-power mobile AMD Athlon 64 processor models 2800+ and 2700+ further expand the award-winning AMD Athlon 64 processor family, offering a powerful 32-bit computing experience today with a seamless transition to 64-bit applications.
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Velocity's Typhoon(TM) family of products are powered by the VS2000 RISC microcontroller which offers the convenience and performance of 32-bit computing at a price traditionally associated with 8/16-bit devices.
Many of our customers were bound within the limits of 32-bit computing.