What is meant by 16 bit

Bit and Byte (units in IT)

The smallest unit in information processing is the bit and is used to measure communication and storage capacity. The word "Bit" is the abbreviation of "Binary Digit" and comes from Claude Shannon.

The amount of information in a bit corresponds to the answer to a question that only allows two possibilities. For example YES / NO, ON / OFF or true / false. A bit can only have two states.
The symbols “1” and “0” are typically used to represent the information. But you can also use any other combination of characters. "H" and "L" for "High" and "Low" or "T" and "F" for "true" and "false" are common.

Physically, a bit is represented in the form of an electrical charge (in a capacitor or transistor), in the form of an electrical voltage (on a resistor) or by magnetization (at a certain point).

Bit strings

The data have certain structures for easier processing and transmission of data in and between digital systems. These are individual states in the form of "0" or "1" or groups of such states. Individual states are referred to as bits. A group of states would be a bit sequence that is called a byte or data word, for example.

  • Bit: The bit is the smallest unit of information in information and communication technology. It can assume two states and represents a memory location.
  • Byte: 8 bits are combined into one byte and often represent one character. It is an adopted and not a standardized convention. The only correct designation for 8 bits is the octet.
  • Half-byte / Nybble: 4 bits are combined into a half-byte or Nybble.
  • Word: The word comes from English which means a word. A word consists of at least 2 letters. A word therefore consists of 2 bytes, which corresponds to a total of 16 bits.
  • DWord: The DWord is the double word that consists of 2 words. That is 32 bits or 4 bytes.

How many bits a byte, a word or a double word comprise is not always specified. There may be systems that deviate from the usual number of bits.

Byte (bit sequence)

A bit sequence of 8 bits is typically referred to as a byte. However, a byte does not necessarily have 8 bits. There are applications and protocols in which a byte can vary between 7 and 12 bits. The only thing that is certain is that an octet is 8 bits.
A bit sequence of 4 bits is called a nibble or half-byte. Whereby the byte is the usual processing unit.

  • 8 bits (1 x 8 bits) = 1 byte
  • 16 bits (2 x 8 bits) = 2 bytes
  • 24 bits (3 x 8 bits) = 3 bytes
  • 32 bits (4 x 8 bits) = 4 bytes
  • 48 bits (6 x 8 bits) = 6 bytes
  • 64 bits (8 x 8 bits) = 8 bytes
  • 128 bits (16 x 8 bits) = 16 bytes
  • ...
  • 1024 bits (128 x 8 bits) = 128 bytes

Data word (bit sequence)

As a rule, the individual bits in a bit sequence are related. The bit sequence is then also referred to as a data word. The length of data words usually corresponds to a multiple of 8. For example 8, 16, 24, 32, 48, 64, 128 etc.
The data word width or length is usually determined by the processing width of the computer or system.

For the transmission between processing units there are then several parallel conductor tracks (signal paths for one bit each). According to the amount of how the data word is wide. With 8 bits there are 8 conductor tracks, 16 bits there are 16 conductor tracks, etc.

Example: 16-bit computer

  • Word: 16 bit / 2 byte (data type: Word)
  • Double word: 32 bit / 4 byte (data type: DWord)
  • Quadruple word: 64 bits / 8 bytes
  • Half word: 8 bits / 1 byte

Example: 32-bit computer

  • Word: 32 bit / 4 byte (data type: Word)
  • Double word: 64 bit / 8 byte (data type: DWord)
  • Quadruple word: 128 bits / 16 bytes
  • Half word 16 bits / 2 bytes

Bit or byte?

The question arises as to when to use bits or bytes. Which unit is used exactly depends on what the value expresses or to what it relates. Transmission speeds are typically specified in bits. Typically bytes for storage capacities and file sizes. Processing speeds in the form of a frequency are specified in the unit Hertz (Hz).
But there are also exceptions and correspondingly many other units.

Units in IT

Bit and byte are also prefixed with prefixes if the bit or byte values ​​exceed 1,000 or 1,024 multiples.

Quantum bit (QuBit)

A quantum bit, or QuBit for short, is the basic unit in a quantum computer. In contrast to binary bits, quantum bits can not only be 0 or 1, but can take on both states at the same time.

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Everything you need to know about computer technology.

Computer technology primer

The computer technology primer is a book about the basics of computer technology, processor technology, semiconductor memories, interfaces, data storage devices, drives and important hardware components.

I want that!