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Chrome’s onward march to be the dominant web browser continues as Google recently released Chrome 64-bit for Windows. What this means is that this particular version of Chrome is optimized to run on Windows computers with 64-bit processors.
Who Can Use Chrome 64-bit?
Anyone who is using Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 on a computer with a 64-bit processor can use Chrome 64-bit. What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked. We can help you learn a lot more about the difference between a 32-bit and a 64-bit Windows operating system.
First, make sure your computer is running the 64-bit version of Windows. If you don’t know how to tell, here are four easy ways to know if you’re on a 64-bit version of Windows.
Why Chrome 64-Bit?
Why did Google need to make a version of Chrome specifically for 64-bit Windows installations? That’s a reasonable question and here are some reasonable answers:
- Speed: 64-bit processors are faster than their comparable 32-bit counterparts. So why not make a browser that takes advantage of that? Google says they see an average of 25% improvement in performance, especially in visual elements.
- Security: 64-bit Windows systems are a little more secure than their 32-bit counterparts. The 64-bit version of Chrome also utilizes Windows 8 features to help make it harder for hackers to target processes running on your computer. If they can’t find it, they can’t hack it.
- Stability: Google reports that Chrome 64-bit crashes only half as much as the 32-bit Chrome. Which is pretty impressive, as they already had a very low crash rate.
Chrome 64-bit Look and Feel
Don’t worry about the 64-bit version being hard to get used to because of design or layout changes. There aren’t any. Google continues to show its strength in minimalist user interface design by sticking to the look and feel you already love in Chrome. The look is the same, the settings are the same, the layout is the same… nothing new to learn.
Is 64-bit Chrome Really Better?
That’s what you really want to know, right? Do the numbers support making the switch? Are you going to really benefit from it? Is it faster? If you just load it on your computer and start working with it, it might seem faster. But how can you really be sure unless you have solid numbers from Chrome 32-bit to back it up? That’s why we’ve done some testing.
The Comparison Test: 64-bit Vs 32-bit
Testing was performed on Chrome 32-bit on a laptop running Windows 8.1 64-bit with no extensions enabled. Then Chrome 32-bit was uninstalled and Chrome 64-bit installed on the same laptop. Then the same tests were run. Everything else on the laptop stayed the same, so it was a static environment.
Chrome Browser Loading Time
Let’s look at the numbers. The first test is the Application Loading Time Test using a program called AppTimer. Both versions of Chrome were loaded and unloaded 10 times at 1000 ms intervals. Initially, Chrome 64-bit loaded faster than Chrome 32, but in the end Chrome 64-bit seemed to really slow down.
Use Of System Resources
Let’s take a look at how the two versions use system resources. The MakeUseOf.com homepage was loaded, Chrome was allowed to finish loading and stabilize, then the system resources used with each version of Chrome was recorded.
Chrome 32-bit required just a little more than half (59.5 MB) of the memory that Chrome 64-bit required (111.6 MB). The difference in CPU usage was negligible. This should not be surprising and is no need for concern. Most 64-bit Windows computers will have more than enough RAM to cover the difference.
Peacekeeper determined that Chrome 32-bit actually performed slightly better than Chrome 64-bit overall. Most of the categories were close, however text parsing was the only area that Chrome 64-bit excelled in over Chrome 32-bit. The scores are close enough that the average person is not likely to notice a significant difference between the two Chrome versions.
HTML5Test checks a browser to see how compliant it is to HTML 5 standards. These standards determine what kind of functionality a website can have using just the HTML language – the basic language of the Web. Many of the cool effects, and even video, on the web is now driven by HTML5. The more components a browser supports, the better your Web experience will be. Chrome 32-bit and 64-bit scored identically.
That’s due to the fact that both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions tested are from the same roll-out of Chrome, number 37. Although there is no difference between the Chrome 32-bit and Chrome 64-bit in this department, it’s worth noting that Chrome outperforms the other major web browsers for supporting HTML5 standards. See how Chrome compares to Firefox and Opera in general, if you’re interested.
Is Chrome 64-bit Worth Using?
Chrome 32-bit and 64-bit versions for Windows are so close in terms of speed and webpage rendering performance that it’s hard to really call one a clear winner over the other. In the end, it comes down to other capabilities of the browsers – stability and security.
We have to take Google’s word on the stability. Testing that sort of thing takes an awful long time and is beyond the scope of this article.
The security aspect is definitely better in Chrome 64-bit. By being able to utilize 64-bit processing, Chrome 64-bit is better able to protect against attacks. An analogy would be having a new machine gun that shoots twice as fast as the old machine gun. 64-bit processing is just that much faster and can do more.
Based on stability and security, that should be enough reason to upgrade to Chrome 64-bit for your Windows 64-bit computer. Just don’t expect to be blown away with speed increases.
What’s your opinion? Is Chrome’s 64-bit browser worth it for you? Let us know in the comments.