Windows RT is locked at 32-bit operating speed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does limit the operating system in a number of different ways.
The problem is: there isn’t a really good reason why Windows RT is locked at a 32-bit processor speed. In fact, a standards organization decided to create a 64-bit operating environment that could run a more full-featured version of Windows RT.
How it works
Windows RT is locked at 32 bit processing speed because it uses ARM CPUs. Until recently, ARM CPUs had not reached an architecture level that supported 64-bit technology. However, in 2011, ARM – the company that makes ARM CPUs – announced a 64 bit ARM CPU called ARMv8.
64 bit ARM chips aren’t expected to be released until later this year, towards the end of 2013 or start of 2014. But already, mobile phone manufacturers are chomping at the bit in preparation for their release.
Today, 32-bit ARM chips are used in most smartphones and tablets, although major hardware manufacturers are expected to take full advantage of ARMv8 and 64 bit mobile technology in the near future.
Recently, the United Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Forum announced that it had created a “boot environment for tablets and PCs” that could “potentially run a 64-bit version of Windows RT.”
Advantages of 64 bit Windows RT
64 bit miniature processors could have an enormous impact on the computer and mobile industries. Here are some of the advantages of 64 bit technology:
-Improved speed, reliability, and scalability of applications that require a lot of resources (the ‘scalability’ quality is particularly important for server networks, like the ones used by companies and schools)
-The ability to run 64 bit software
-The ability to use more physical memory, virtual memory, and continuous memory, which always leads to faster performance
-Better parallel processing, which leads to a massive speed increase between 32 bit and 64 bit computers
-More secure due to better buffer overflow protection, data execution protection, and Microsoft Patch Guard technology (if you don’t know what all of that is, just rest assured your computer and mobile phone will be safer with 64 bits as opposed to 32 bits).
Disadvantages of 64 bit Windows RT and 64 bit mobile phone processors
-Small and repetitive tasks may run marginally slower in a 64 bit operating environment
-64 bit servers require more virtual memory than 32 bit servers
For more information about the pros and cons of moving to 64 bit systems (there are way more pros than cons), read this writeup by Microsoft. But the point is: expect faster speeds on tablets, mobile devices, and the Surface RT in the near future.