Are there any advantages to having a 64-bit CPU if running a 32-bit OS?

I've got an old IBM Thinkpad T60. The chipset only recognizes 4GB of RAM, technically 3GB due to chipset limitations. The chipset can only accommodate a 32-bit OS.

The current CPU is 32-bit. It can be upgraded to a faster CPU that also happens to be 64-bit.

I'm going to upgrade to the faster CPU because it's got higher clock speed and double the L2 cache, but I'm wondering if the 64-bit functionality will benefit me in any way?


The current CPU is the Intel Core 2 Duo T2400.  On Intel's Ark site, it says it is a 32-bit CPU.  This is supposed to be upgradable to the T7200, T7400 or T7600, which according to Intel are 64-bit CPUs.

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Uhh, if the mother board isn't compatible with a 64 bit CPU then you cannot just plop one down and expect it to work...

    I've never heard of a "chipset" limitation of 3GB ram, that's a Windows limitation not hardware limitation. The limitation exists purely due to using an int32 for memory pointers, it is possible to have a 32 bit CPU that accesses more than 4GB of memory, not certain Windows know how to handle it.

    More specifically though, windows -32bit won't give any one program the full 4GB of memory since it reserves 1 GB for itself and its processes. There are boot options to change this, but regardless.

    64 bit processors need to be paired with a 64 bit motherboard. At that point you have the benefits of better pipelining with the hardware, regardless of what bit programs you're running.

  • 10 months ago

    you should be careful about upgrading. There are a number of rules. rule 1) the CHIPSET decides the SUBSET of cpu's that can be fitted to the socket. 2) The BIOS has a list of the supported cpu's. In general the bios updates add more cpu's to the list of supported ones, so a bios dated after the release of a cpu should contain it in the update(if the board can support it). 3) A Mainboard is designed to take certain RAM devices of a set of restricted speeds, this may prevent some cpu's from working in that system or reduce their speed to match. 4) The mainboard maker(and bios provider) is under no obligation to make a mainboard accept all cpu's that are compatible with a chipset. 5) The mainboard maker ALWAYS designs a mainboard with WATTAGE limitations, so fitting a more powerful cpu may not suit that design and might be unable to run a cpu of higher wattage. *** For older chipsets its more important to have ram thats utilising all its performance features, and cpu's that support hyper threading and that have more cache. These days its also better to have more than 2 cores. A 64 bit cpu that LOADS a 64 bit executable, needs twice as much space(RAM) to put it in because its instructions are twice as wide. So for 32 bit OS think 4gb of RAM for a 64 bit OS think 8gb of RAM for doing the same job. Although this isnt a case of doubling everything as data can still stay as 32 bit or 16 bit and it will be moved about more efficiently as groups of data 64 bits wide, so yes there is an advantage to moving to full 64 bit where the executable is a 64 bit version of a program. recommendation - get a newer chipset mainboard then move up.

  • 10 months ago

    Hi. I also have a Thinkpad T60 series laptop, & the Answerer stating the processor is already 64bit is correct. I know this because I also use the linux options mentioned by the other Answerer, but different distros.

    I personally use & prefer Puppy linux, that comes in both 32 & 64bit versions, You download the ISO file & either create a bootable USB flashdrive (YUMI utility works great for this) or just burn it to a cheap CDR & boot from it.

    If You want to find out if the CPU in the system is already 64bit, just burn a Puppy CDR of the 64bit XenialPup & switch the BIOS to boot from it (You can also just hit the blue button during bootup to do this one-time-only).

    And note to other Answerer about the 4Gb limitation being software-only ... Actually the motherbiard of the system has a limitation too, & with a large number of 13+ year old laptops, it was around 4Gbs.

    There are a LOT of things You can do with it, especially with linux - look up on Youtube what a dual core or Thinkpad can be repurposed / revived for.


  • Edward
    Lv 5
    10 months ago

    Not really to be honest as there would be not much of a difference in performance between the two and 32bit recognizes 4gb of ram and you only have 4gb of ram so why bother going 64bit?

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  • 10 months ago

    This is a 13 year old laptop, and you can't just plop in a replacement CPU - and even if you could, it'll still be very very slow!  Your money would be far better spent just getting a more upto date machine!

  • George
    Lv 4
    10 months ago

    According to this review ( the T60 came already fitted with a dual core 64 bit cpu so there's no need to upgrade to another 64bit one. Only the 32 bit Operating System is limiting you to 4Gb ram not the computer itself, so you could install any 64bit OS and instantly reap the benefits provided you fit more ram. Remember though that this laptop came out in 2006 so is +13 years old so a modern version of Windows Ten will use up most of your resources and be extremely slow. Your best bet would be to use a lighter version of one of the many free versions of Linux and choose a light desktop like Mate or LXDE. I'd suggest as a newb to Linux you try out some Linux versions ( they all run off a DVD or USB as a Live version to start with until you decide to install them so your existing operating system is not wiped). I'd suggest Mint 19 or MX 18.3, or even Antix 19, there are 32bit or 64bit versions of most of them.

    Mint here,

    MX here,

    Antix here,

  • 10 months ago

    Are you trying to blow up the universe?!?!?

  • Anonymous
    10 months ago

    No not really for me at least

  • Dze
    Lv 7
    10 months ago

    nope ...not without the 64bit software ..

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