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Chances are high that you’re running a 64-bit/x64 operating system, application, or CPU—and you don’t even know it.
What is a bit?
By means of Lifewire’s definition, a bit is shorthand for binary digit. In laymen’s terms, this is where you see units of measurements regarding 1s and 0s and can apply to computer networking or memory. Sometimes you’ll see the formatting as “32-bit” or “x32.” These two formats represent the same thing.
32-bit and 64-bit operating systems
The 32-bit processor was the most popular processor used by computers until the early 1990s. Both Intel Pentium and AMD processors were 32-bit, which means Microsoft’s Windows 95, 98, and XP are all 32-bit operating systems. However, a slight shift occurred in 2003 when Microsoft released a 64-bit version of Windows, and then in 2005 shifted the internal processor to a 64-bit AMD processor.
Microsoft Windows utilizing a more powerful processor in combination with a more powerful operating system unlocked a lot of potential with improved security, better game performance, and the ability to allocate more memory as needed. Why does this matter? Every personal computer (whether a Mac® or PC) has a 32-bit OS or 64-bit OS, and this dictates the user experience. The OS and the software used is the underlying foundation for our productivity.
Difference between 32-bit and 64-bit CPUs
Simply put, a 64-bit processor is more capable than a 32-bit processor because it can handle more data in any given moment.
The most popular consumer reference to a x64 processor in CPUs or hardware is the Nintendo 64. Hence, the name. Personally, I always thought this was due to 64 games being released with the Nintendo 64 (haha). Nope, it’s due to the processor. Additionally, through a popular HowStuffWorks article, I’ve learned that this specific processor was a customized chip system that was named the 64-bit R4300i “Reality Engine.” (Insert an oooh and an ahhhhh here.)
What’s the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit software?
HowToGeek outlined a very helpful article: “Why are most programs still 32-bit on a 64-bit version of Windows.” It provides useful information about why users should care about the difference and how it effects their productivity.
The biggest and most simple way to answer what the difference is between 32x and 64x software is that the 64x version will be more secure and reliable.
How to check if a macOS application is 32-bit or 64-bit
If you’re on macOS® Mojave, it’s quite easy to see if any application on your Mac is either 32- or 64-bit. Follow this pathway:
Apple menu > About This Mac > System Report
From the System Report, scroll to Software > Applications> Select your desired Application
Depending on the applications on your Mac, you may see mostly 64-bit, some 32-bit, or all 32-bit. This is entirely dependent on your personal setup.
How to run older 32-bit operating systems and applications on your Mac
Running older 32-bit operating systems or software on your Mac is quick and easy. With Parallels Desktop® for Mac, you can virtualize any 32-bit operating system in a virtual machine and run your needed application. 32-bit operating systems could be either macOS or Windows. For example, this is what a 32-bit macOS virtual machine looks like in Parallels Desktop:
Running a macOS virtual machine on the macOS with Parallels Desktop may seem a bit redundant, but it is absolutely necessary for users who need older 32-bit operating systems or applications. It’s also necessary for developers to code, test, and deploy without buying secondary machines.
Downloading a free trial of Parallels Desktop is easy! Simply download the .dmg, create a new virtual machine with the operating system needed, and run the application to get started.
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Parallels Desktop® for Mac is fully optimized for the latest releases of macOS® and Windows. Designed with developers in mind, Parallels Desktop has integrated developer tools into our Parallels Desktop® for Mac Pro Edition to encourage software and web-development tasks.
If you rely on development systems—such as the Microsoft Visual Studio plug-in and SQL Server Management Studio—but have a Mac®, Parallels Desktop is a great option.
Upon learning more about our developer audience, we found some incredible users who utilize a virtual machine to develop and test their projects. One such user is Darren Petit, who is the chief technology officer at Outpost HealthCare. Outpost HealthCare is an app that empowers humanization in healthcare for all by bringing the best healthcare professionals together as a virtual team for an individual’s unique needs.
Darren has three developers on the team who use Mac, and two of them use Parallels to develop on Windows. They use Visual Studio.Net, SQL Server management studio, and other various tools for development.
Developing a cross-platform solution is important for the success of Outpost HealthCare—but deploying their app can be stressful. That’s why Darren Petit relies on Parallels Desktop to help develop with peace of mind. He extensively explored other virtualization options with benchmarking tests, such as performance and macOS integration. Parallels Desktop won in performance and integration over VMWare Fusion and Boot Camp®.
Darren summarizes his analysis: “When I tested the difference between VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop, I was absolutely amazed at the performance and integration differences. We have a bunch of unit tests (100+ of them) that are very heavily CPU and memory bound. When we ran them on Boot Camp (on the same hardware) and then again in Parallels Desktop using the Boot Camp options, I couldn’t believe that they ran only one second slower. Using VMWare Fusion, they were 25% slower. (About 9 seconds).”
Unlike Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop lets you run both operating systems at the same time without rebooting. Hands down, Parallels Desktop is the fastest and most tightly integrated application for running Windows applications or desktops in macOS. Copy and paste, drag and drop, share folders between systems—these Parallels Desktop features are what create a seamless experience when working between macOS and Windows.
Darren exclaims, “The integration between macOS and Windows is also amazing. Everything just works. I have a Mac with 32 GB of RAM and I allocate 16 GB to the virtual machine, and I haven’t looked back (or adjusted anything else).”
What else can Parallels Desktop do for developers?
- Virtual machines offer a safe environment to easily deploy and test without worrying about ruining the native environment on your Mac
- One-click problem solving for various network testing, such as our Network Conditioner feature.
- SSH sessions
- Open in Browser for web development
- Start Debugging session
- Generate Core Dump
- Free systems available for Mac with a VM creation, such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, and macOS
Haven’t tried it yet? Try a free 14-day trial and get started with Parallels Desktop in minutes.
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