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 ?
Just like the move from 16-bit to 32-bit computing required reworking the hardware and software, it also required a general understanding of the underpinnings to answer simple questions around why a consumer's device would no longer function with a new version of a popular program.
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A spokesperson for AMD said that the processor can provide companies with an easy method of moving from a 32-bit computing environment to a 64-bit model.
The new processors will be capable of operating in 64-bit and 32-bit computing environments so that existing 32-bit investments are made use of while also simplifying the transition to a 64-bit computing model.
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.
As digital photography continues to stretch the limits of 32-bit computing, AMD64 technology enables The Panorama Factory to create larger panoramas with more pictures than what is possible on a 32-bit architecture.
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