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Bits and Bytes

There are four major types of processors used in computing, 8 bit, 16 bit, 32 bit, and 64 bit. Each differ in the amount of calculations they can send on the BUS (the wires that send the information out of the processor). I will tell you the difference below.

8 Bit

8 Bit microprocessor were the first type to be made that itself would be considered a computer. The very first 8 bit microprocessor was made by Intel and was called the Intel 4004. It had 8 BUS Channels to send out the calculation information. The next 8 bit processor from Intel was the Intel 8080. They had improved their previous design, making it cheaper and with less logic elements. This also made it so the processor did not get as hot.

16 Bit

The first 16 bit microprocessor was the HP BPC. But sticking as an Intel fan, the Intel 8086 had a internal 8 bit bus allowing it to have far less logic gates. It was also program compatible with Intels later creation, the Intel 8088. Now each type of processor uses a special data type format. For 16 bit it was binary file format, as most are, where each data element is defined on 16 bits. An example of this type of file would be Windows Metafile Format.

32 Bit

Now we are getting into the more powerful processors. Not all 32 bit processors are fully 32 bit. The number of bits is usually is defined by how wide the bus and external addresses are. But sometimes those can be wider, but still called 32 bit. Take the Pentium Pro for example, it had a 36 bit wide external address bus and a 64 bit wide external data bus. The reason it was called 32 bit was because it preformed 32 bit code. So many factors go into categorizing a processor. 32 bit processors, as of all processors, all use similar architecture and logic. What differs is the amount of processes each can run as once, or how many calculations.

64 Bit

64 bit processors are what most people use today. The very first official 64 processor was the IBM 7030 Stretch Supercomputer. It used 64 bit data types and could use either 32 bit or 64 bit instruction. It is hard to confirm the first 64 bit microprocessor. The Intel i860 RISC was on of them but it was arguably 64 bit. It had 32 bit architecture but with a 3D Graphics Unit making it able to do 64 bit integer operations. The Nintendo 64 used a 64 bit processor, hence the 64 part. Right now the most powerful gaming console, the PlayStation 3, runs off of 8 64 bit processors. No, it is not arguable that the Xbox 360 is more powerful. Fact is fact.

128 Bit (my dream processor)

It is a sad fact that there is currently no 128 bit processor available to the mainstream. Somewhere you might be able to get one, but not from my favorite, Intel, and probably would not be true 128 bit and just some scam. 128 bit is still not very well developed, but give it 2 years and gamers will need them. 128 processors would be able to hold 2^128 in memory. That is as much digital information that there was in 2010. Yes, holy crap is right.

Intel 8080