64bit vs 32bit

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jhawk31, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. jhawk31 macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2010
    How's it going everyone, I'm fairly new to Mac and I'm not very technical at all. I just purchased an i7 15" and I'm confused when it comes to 64bit vs 32bit. Does the computer automatically switch between the two or is there something you have to specifically do to run one or the other? For instance, I downloaded Handbrake last night, it asked if I wanted 64bit or 32bit? I have no clue? I bought a powerful machine, I want to make sure I utilize it. Thanks again.
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Without messing around you have a 32-bit kernel which can run either 32-bit or 64-bit applications. For almost all users this is what you want. You probably want the 64-bit version of the application as this allows it to potentially use more RAM as well as access more registers on the CPU for higher performance.
  3. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    64bit really isn't more "powerfull" unless it's addressing s/w that is also 64bit. Then its usually faster. But you need to have the underlying s/w. If you are running 32bit s/w then it's not going to help you. Generally if there is a 64bit version of s/w use that over the 32bit version. There isn't a whole lot out there right now tough. Most is still 32bit. The chief advantage of a 64bit system at this point is that it can address more than 4GB of RAM.

    As for Handbrake, the last time I check the 64bit version didn't work on Macs -- maybe they updated it, but I installed it and it told me to use the 32bit version.
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    You also need the 64-bit version of VLC player, if you use Handbrake to directly encode rom the DVD, to use Handbrake in 64-bit.
  5. jhawk31 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2010
    Ok great, that's what I needed to know. I just upgraded to 8GB RAM also, so I should be good. Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it.

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