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The range of integer
The integers are formed by the natural numbers together with the negatives of the non-zero natural numbers .They are known as Positive and Negative Integers respectively...

 values that can be stored in 32 bits is 0 through 4,294,967,295. Hence, a processor with 32-bit memory address
Memory address
A digital computer's memory, more specifically main memory, consists of many memory locations, each having a memory address, a number, analogous to a street address, at which computer programs store and retrieve, machine code or data. Most application programs do not directly read and write to...

es can directly access 4 GB
The gigabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage. The prefix giga means 109 in the International System of Units , therefore 1 gigabyte is...

 of byte-addressable memory.

The external address and data buses are often wider than 32 bits but both of these are stored and manipulated internally in the processor as 32-bit quantities. For example, the Pentium Pro
Pentium Pro
The Pentium Pro is a sixth-generation x86 microprocessor developed and manufactured by Intel introduced in November 1, 1995 . It introduced the P6 microarchitecture and was originally intended to replace the original Pentium in a full range of applications...

 processor is a 32-bit machine, but the external address bus is 36 bits wide, and the external data bus is 64 bits wide.


Prominent 32-bit instruction set architectures include the IBM System/360, the DEC
Digital Equipment Corporation
Digital Equipment Corporation was a major American company in the computer industry and a leading vendor of computer systems, software and peripherals from the 1960s to the 1990s...

VAX was an instruction set architecture developed by Digital Equipment Corporation in the mid-1970s. A 32-bit complex instruction set computer ISA, it was designed to extend or replace DEC's various Programmed Data Processor ISAs...

, the ARM
ARM architecture
ARM is a 32-bit reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by ARM Holdings. It was named the Advanced RISC Machine, and before that, the Acorn RISC Machine. The ARM architecture is the most widely used 32-bit ISA in numbers produced...

, the MIPS
MIPS architecture
MIPS is a reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by MIPS Technologies . The early MIPS architectures were 32-bit, and later versions were 64-bit...

, and the Intel IA-32
IA-32 , also known as x86-32, i386 or x86, is the CISC instruction-set architecture of Intel's most commercially successful microprocessors, and was first implemented in the Intel 80386 as a 32-bit extension of x86 architecture...



In digital images/pictures, 32-bit can refer to 24-bit
Notable 24-bit machines include the ICT 1900 series and the Harris H series.The IBM System/360, announced in 1964, was a popular computer system with 24-bit addressing and 32-bit general registers and arithmetic...

 truecolor images with an 8-bit
The first widely adopted 8-bit microprocessor was the Intel 8080, being used in many hobbyist computers of the late 1970s and early 1980s, often running the CP/M operating system. The Zilog Z80 and the Motorola 6800 were also used in similar computers...

 alpha channel.

Alternatively it may refer to 32-bit per channel rather than 24-bit colour + 8-bit alpha. 32-bit per channel images are used to represent values brighter than white; these values can then be used to more accurately retain bright highlights when either lowering the exposure of the image or when it is seen through a dark filter or dull reflection.

An example of this is the reflection seen in an oil slick; even though the reflection is only a fraction of that seen in a mirror surface, the reflection of highlights can still be seen as bright white areas, not dull grey shapes.

32-bit file format

A 32-bit file format is a binary file format
File format
A file format is a particular way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file.Since a disk drive, or indeed any computer storage, can store only bits, the computer must have some way of converting information to 0s and 1s and vice-versa. There are different kinds of formats for...

 for which each elementary information is defined on 32 bits (or 4 Byte
The byte is a unit of digital information in computing and telecommunications that most commonly consists of eight bits. Historically, a byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer and for this reason it is the basic addressable element in many computer...

s). An example of such a format is the Enhanced Metafile Format
Windows Metafile
Windows Metafile is a graphics file format on Microsoft Windows systems, originally designed in the 1990s. Windows Metafiles are intended to be portable between applications and may contain both vector graphics and bitmap components....


See also

  • 16-bit
    -16-bit architecture:The HP BPC, introduced in 1975, was the world's first 16-bit microprocessor. Prominent 16-bit processors include the PDP-11, Intel 8086, Intel 80286 and the WDC 65C816. The Intel 8088 was program-compatible with the Intel 8086, and was 16-bit in that its registers were 16...

  • 16-bit application
    16-bit application
    A 16 bit application is any software written for MS-DOS, OS/2 1.x or early versions of Microsoft Windows which originally ran on the 16-bit Intel 8088 and Intel 80286 microprocessors. Such applications used a 20-bit or 24-bit segment or selector-offset address representation to extend the range of...

  • 32-bit application
    32-bit application
    On the x86 architecture, a 32-bit application normally means software that typically uses the 32-bit linear address space possible with the 80386 and later chips...

  • 64-bit
    64-bit is a word size that defines certain classes of computer architecture, buses, memory and CPUs, and by extension the software that runs on them. 64-bit CPUs have existed in supercomputers since the 1970s and in RISC-based workstations and servers since the early 1990s...

  • History of video games (32-bit era)
  • Word (data type)
  • Physical Address Extension
    Physical Address Extension
    In computing, Physical Address Extension is a feature to allow x86 processors to access a physical address space larger than 4 gigabytes....


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