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General Systems: What is the difference between 32 and 64 bit computing?

This post is from an older internal post in our intranet but I thought it would be nice to share with the Autodesk community.  

I had been reading one of my older copies of Road & Track.  One of the articles was a discussion on the dynamics of air flow for race cars and the super computers required to simulate their designs.  It mentioned what 32 bit computing actually meant in plain English which is 32 bit is 2 x 2 x 2 etc 32 times.
2^32 = 4 294 967 296 KB =   4 294 967 296 Bytes (4 GB).
This is the theoretical maximum.
You will also notice that if  you put in 4 GB of ram in Windows XP, it will only recognize 3.48 GB of ram if you use the 3 GB Switch.  
A 64 bit operating system and 64 bit applications basically allows you to handle really big files.  The theoretical limit is below:
2^64 = 1.84467441 × 1019 Bytes


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