Regarding the new Skyrim Special Edition, I heard it will be a 64-bit version. How/what does this improve?

  • @MageXy, I don't think that this is a duplicate of that question, as this asks specifically what the 32 to 64 bit conversion means for the game. That just says that there is a conversion.
    – Vemonus
    Nov 1 '16 at 15:55
  • @Vemenous Perhaps a change to the title would alleviate some of the confusion between the two questions? Nov 1 '16 at 15:57
  • @Kaizerwolf, yes, the title change helps, but I'm still unsure whether this can be called a dupe of the question I linked, even though they ask the same question.
    – Vemonus
    Nov 1 '16 at 16:09
  • 3
    I honestly do not think that this is a duplicate of the alleged question as answers to that question are completely unrelated to this one and answers to this one are completely unrelated to that one. This is asking about what a specific difference means for the game itself and the other is simply asking what differences are there.
    – Vemonus
    Nov 1 '16 at 23:10
  • 1
    It seems like a general "Are there any differences between a 32-bit and a 64-bit version of a game?" might be helpful.
    – Schism
    Nov 2 '16 at 18:18

One of the prime advantages of a 64-bit executable over a 32-bit one is the fact that the 64-bit one can address a significantly larger address space (that is, it can use more RAM).

A 32-bit executable can address 4GB of RAM, in theory. On Windows, in practice, that's limited to 3GB if the executable as the "large address aware" switch on, and only 2GB if it doesn't (because of what Windows reserves for itself).

A 64-bit executable, on the other hand, can address significantly more; the upper theoretical limit is measured in exabytes. In practice some architectures will only support 48 addressing pins, but even with 48 bits of physical address space, you're looking at a RAM ceiling that's much higher than what you can realistically put in a consumer desktop anyhow, and you're not confined to the arbitrary 2-or-3 GB limitations Windows enforces on 32-bit applications.

The 64-bit instruction set also affords some performance-improving options to the compiler that builds the executable. It's likely that Skyrim benefits somewhat from these. But I would expect that it's the ability to use more of your RAM, and thus fit more and bigger things into that RAM, that is going to be the biggest improvement afforded to the game by having a 64-bit executable.

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