What Is X86 And X64 Architecture

X86 and X64 architectures are two of the most commonly used computer architectures today. They are used in almost every type of computer, from supercomputers to laptops to smartphones. As such, understanding the differences between the two is important for any computer user.

X86 architecture was first developed in the early 1980s by Intel Corporation. It is based on the popular 16-bit processor architecture, the Intel 8086. The architecture allows for backward compatibility, meaning that it can still be used on devices made on older technologies. It was the standard architecture used in almost all personal computers in the 1990s.

X64 architecture is a newer architecture, developed by AMD in 2003. It is based on the same processor architecture as X86, but with more advanced features. The main advantage of X64 is that it can handle 64-bit data, allowing for twice the amount of memory as X86 architecture. This enables computers with X64 architecture to perform more complex operations and multitask faster than those with X86.

One of the key differences between X86 and X64 architectures is the number of instructions that each can process. X86 can process up to 16 instructions, while X64 can process up to 192. This makes X64 architecture much faster and more powerful compared to X86.

Another important difference between the two architectures is that X86 architecture uses a complex set of instructions called x86-32. X64, on the other hand, uses a simpler set of instructions called x86-64. This makes X64 architecture much easier to use, as there is no need to learn a complex instruction set.

When it comes to software compatibility, X86 architecture is better suited to running older software, while X64 architecture is better suited to running newer software. This is because older software may not be designed to work on X64 architecture, while newer software is designed to work on both architectures. However, some software can be converted to work on both architectures.

In terms of overall performance, X64 architecture is more powerful and efficient than X86 architecture. This is because it is designed to handle larger amounts of data and more instructions, making it better suited for more complex tasks.

System Compatibility

When it comes to system compatibility, X64 architecture is typically more compatible than X86. This is because most modern operating systems, such as Windows 10 and macOS, are designed to run on X64 architecture. In fact, many older systems are now being upgraded to X64 architecture in order to be able to run the latest software.

On the other hand, some older systems may not be able to run X64 architecture. This can be due to hardware limitations, or the lack of software compatibility. In these cases, the only option is to downgrade the system to X86 architecture, or upgrade the hardware.

It is important to note that even if a computer is running X64 architecture, this does not guarantee that all software will be compatible with the system. It is always best to check the software’s compatibility with the system before installing it.

Applications & Features

X64 architecture allows for more advanced features and applications than X86 architecture. This is because X64 architecture is designed to be more powerful and efficient, so it can handle more complex tasks.

Applications that require more computing power, such as graphics-intensive games and video editing programs, are better suited to X64 architecture. Additionally, X64 can handle more memory and allows for 64-bit computing, making it better suited for databases and other applications that require large amounts of data.

X64 architecture also offers a number of security features, such as support for advanced encryption and digital signatures. This makes X64 architecture more secure than X86, and is one of the main reasons why many businesses are switching to X64 architecture.

Finally, X64 architecture also supports a number of advanced features, such as virtualization, Hyper-V, and Hyper-Threading. These features make X64 architecture better suited for servers and cloud-computing.

Performance & Cost

When it comes to performance, X64 is generally more powerful and efficient than X86. This is due to the larger amount of instructions that it can process, as well as its ability to handle more data and more complex operations.

In terms of cost, X64 architecture can be more expensive than X86 architecture. This is because X64 systems require more hardware components and advanced features, such as more memory and faster processors. Additionally, software designed for X64 architecture can be more expensive than software designed for X86.

However, the extra cost of X64 can be offset by its performance benefits, as well as its security features. Additionally, the longer lifespan of X64 systems means that, in the long run, they may be more cost-effective than X86 systems.


X86 and X64 architectures are two of the most commonly used computer architectures today. While X86 architecture is the more established architecture, X64 architecture offers more power and features. As such, it is important to understand the differences between the two in order to determine which one is best suited for your needs.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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