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aboeing

why 8 bits in a 'byte'?

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Does anyone know why there are 8 bits in a ''byte''? From my understanding, historically, punch-card''s had 64 possible representations (6 bits) (I might be horribly wrong), and the ASCII table had 128 characters (7 bits) originally, so why did the world seem to settle on 8 bit bytes? (read: why did everyone make computers with 8 bit register sizes?) Why not 7,9,10 or more?

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I''m not sure, but maybe it was because 8 is a power of 2 (2^3).
Perhaps the same reason why they made a kilobyte 1024 bytes (2^10) instead of 1000.

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Ascii was 7 data bits, 1 parity bit. Then people realised you could use the 8th bit as a sign bit and have ''extended ascii'' to make DOS programs look less crap. Ooooh oooh. Then the whole power-of-two thing took over, although it''s still not universal - the Ubicom SX family of microcontrollers has 12-bit words, but each bit is individually addressable so technically each bit is a byte.

Teh Googol Knoez All! That''s gotta be worth caek.

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The very first microprocessors which appeared mostly in calculators used 4-bit chunks called ''nibbles''. The change from that to 8-bit ''bytes'' was a natural progression.

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quote:
Original post by aboeing
Does anyone know why there are 8 bits in a ''byte''?





...because the person who invented computers lost his thumbs in the war.

sorry

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Seeing as computers are based upon the binary number system storing ASCII codes in a 7-bit variable makes no sense as 7 is not a power of 2 so the logical step was to use 8 bits to store ASCII characters since 8 is a power of 2.

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quote:
Original post by pinacolada
Now I have a question- why''d they spell it "byte" instead of "bite"?


Wiki says: "The word was coined by mutating the word bite so it would not be accidentally misspelled as bit."

I like pie.

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