So, what’s a byte anyway?

In computer terms, information is stored as a series of 1’s and 0’s.  Each is called a BIT.  Traditionally, one character was eight bits wide and called a BYTE. Half a byte is a NIBBLE (or NYBBLE.) In the early days, most home computers were considered to be ‘8 bitcomputers because the microprocessor could, naturally, understand and handle 8-bit data. They had ‘8-bit’ data pathways (called a bus) and could directly address 65,535 bytes of memory.  Today’s computers are, typically, 64-bit computers and can directly address about 4 petabytes (that’s a lot.) However, most modern microprocessors do not actually have 64 bit data busses. AMD, for example, allows 52 bits.  There are lots of boring details about this, so I will just refer you to the wiki pages about this.

So, to recap:

    • 4 bits = nibble
    • 8 bits = byte
    • 1024 bits = 1k bytes
    • 1,024 bytes = 1 megabyte (1mb)
    • 1,024 mb = 1 gigabyte
    • 1,024 gb = 1 terabyte

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