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Considering 32/64 bit and Windows 8/Pro and such


I have been following forums on various Windows tablets since Windows 8 was announced and have questions on more technical aspects of the various device differences than what many posts cover when comparing devices. Perhaps a more technical person, which I'm not, can put the technical differences in plain English.

I'm moving up from the Surface RT to a Windows 8 device and will be leaving my laptop behind as well.

Can you explain why the 64 bit processor is used by Surface Pro rather than 32 bit used by other companies?

Can you explain why Windows 8 Pro is used by Surface Pro rather than Windows 8?

What I'm getting at is Microsoft decided on 64 bit and Windows 8 Pro for the Windows Surface Pro tablet for a reason, why other than ability to handle larger memory? I find myself always comparing other tablets running Windows 8 against the Surface Pro. Unfortunately I'm not up to speed on the technical aspects most consumers may not consider.

Your input would be appreciated.


Well-Known Member
I thought everything was moving to 64-bit these days...

As for Windows 8 versions: Compare and decide - Microsoft Windows

BitLocker (device/data encryption, makes a lot of sense on such a small and easily stolen device), Remote Desktop (extremely useful from a mobile device), and Domain Join (clearly for business networking use). The Surface Pro has been situated towards corporate use, whether as an actual corporate-mandated solution or BYOD. (Obviously, that doesn't mean Win8Pro can't be used only for home use.)


Staff member
The main reason is that a 64bit CPU combined with a 64bit OS is that it handles larger amounts RAM (4GB or more), also a 64bit system can crunch more data with each cycle. A single ASCII Character is about 4 bits, so a 32bit CPU can process 8 characters per cycle (4 bits per char * 8 char) = 32bits per cycle, so a 64bit system can process 16 characters per cycle. So at the same frequency a 1.6GHz 32bit CPU is slower than a 64bit 1.6GHz CPU.

Intel's Core CPUs have been 64bit since the Core 2 DUO, and all of the Core "i" CPUs are 64bit. Up until Bay Trail all of the ATOM CPUs have been 32bit.

Until the Apple A7 CPU all of the ARM CPUs have been 32bit, the A7 is the first 64bit ARM CPU in a mobile device.

Now the caveats, even though Bay Trail is a 64bit CPU, Windows 8 64bit OS doesn't support Connected Standby currently so all of the ATOM SoC systems will be running 32bit Windows 8.1. Another caveat, a 64bit system will not run any ultra-legacy software that is 16bit, think DOS or Windows 3.1 era.


Perfect explanations. I appreciate your comments. Thank you.

You read my mind regarding the Bay Trail comment as I as wondering about it's downside.
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