What does x64 and x86 mean?

+5 Keira Robertson · August 31, 2014
I know that it has something to do with operating system but am not sure what it means. Can anyone explain this?

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+7 Gary Murphy · August 31, 2014
It's basically referring to the bus size within the cpu (how wide the "highway" all the information runs along is).  All the newer cpu's have 64-bit buses, but the earlier ones have 32-bit buses.  They are called x86 because back in the day the 32-bit cpu's were called 80286, 80386, 80486 processors, hence x86.  
Nowadays we have cpu's with 64-bit buses, so they can handle an operating system which can utilize that bus size.  Any cpu that has a 64-bit bus can use a x64 or x86 operating system, but the older 32-bit cpu's cannot use a x64 operating system because it isn't designed for it.
It does seem a little confusing with the naming, but whenever you see x86 just think 32-bit bus. :)

It should also be noted that computers running on x86 operating systems can only handle a maximum of 4GB RAM (232  =  4, 294, 967, 295 bytes), 
where x64 computers can theoretically have up to 16EB RAM (264  =  18, 446, 744, 073, 709, 551, 616 bytes).
I don't believe I know anybody that has that much though.

I mention this because I have seen places selling x86 laptops with more RAM than they can use.
They are essentially trying to rip off people who don't know any better.
+2 Adam Karrer · September 9, 2014

so they limited RAM addressing size around 1TB for now


I'll take 1TB of RAM anytime! :D

While we're at it, let's go with a 2 petabyte SSD!
+2 Buddy Blackford · September 10, 2014
In easy terms x86 means 32 bit OS and x64 means 64 bit OS
+2 M .A.K · September 2, 2014
"where x64 computers can theoretically have up to 16EB RAM (264 = 18, 446, 744, 073, 709, 551, 616 bytes).
I don't believe I know anybody that has that much though."

actually they don't! it's because they wanted to use those more transistors for other stuff so they limited RAM addressing size around 1TB for now.(we still didn't even reach there):D
+1 Predrag Kostic · September 10, 2014
The biggest I've heard of is 128RAM :|
0 Allan Zieser · September 9, 2014
X86 is also called x86 this because the first processor to use the architecture was the 8086 which came out in 1976. 
0 Abdirasaq Ali · September 16, 2014
God..I wish I can afford 1TB Ram
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