The smallest unit of computer data. A bit can only have the value 0 or 1. (choose "back" in your browser program to return to prior page)
Eight bits. A byte can have 256 possible values (2 to the eighth power). Eight bits is just a convenient grouping to use in addressing computer memory. It can represent a typewriter character or a machine language instruction. Remember the jingle, "two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar?" Also note an old coin used to be breakable into eight bits, referred to by pirates' parrots as, "Pieces of eight!" (choose "back" in your browser program to return to prior page)
Where bytes are stored. RAM (random-access-memory) refers to live, electronic memory in the computer made up of electronic switches that lose their values when power is turned off. Old PC computers had 64 thousand bytes of memory (64 K) while newer ones have several million (several megabytes). Physically, they are transistors and capacitors etched into silicon chips attached to the computer. By contrast, disk memory refers to magnetic dots on a hard (fixed) or floppy diskette. That memory is slower to access, and the desired section must be copied into RAM to be used by the processor. Original PC's had 300 kilobytes memory storage on a 5 1/4" floppy diskette (or even just a cassette tape), while hard disks now contain gigabytes of data (trillion bytes). (choose "back" in your browser program to return to prior page)

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