by Dinesh Thakur

If a computer uses 32-bit addressing, that means the address can have 32 numbers. With the possibility of each number being either a one or a zero, there are 4 billion different addresses available (232). Four billion bytes (each memory location holds one byte) is 4,096 megabytes, which is 4 gigabytes. So with 32-bit addressing you can theoretically address 4 gigabytes of memory.

Alas, at this point in technology there are still some limitations in the hardware, so you can't really install and use (address) all 4 gigabytes. A PC with an 80386 or 80486 microprocessor can address 4 gigabytes of memory all right, but they don't make PCs that can hold that many memory chips. The most a modular Mac (any of the Mac II family) can address is "only" 128 megabytes, and some of the Quadra’s can go up to 256 megabytes.