Binary signals and coding in computing what is half a byte
The standard number of bits in a byte is eight, but that number can vary from system to system, depending on the hardware. Initially, there could be one to six bits in a byte because the equipment at the time used 6-bit pieces of information. Another unit of data representing eight bits is an octet. Unlike a byte, an octet always consists of eight bits, no matter the architecture. Octets, as a measurement, can be used to avoid possible ambiguity associated with bytes, particularly with legacy systems, but the terms are often used synonymously.
While bytes are measured in bit multiples, computer storage is typically measured in byte multiples. In many computer architectures, a byte is the smallest addressable unit of memory.
For example, an megabyte MB hard drive holds a nominal million bytes of data. Due to massive increases in storage capacity over time, there are now eight additional units of measurement following the byte. The eight different types of bytes currently used in computer architectures range from kilobytes 1, bytes to yottabytes 1, zettabytes.
Byte multiples can be measured using two systems: A base-2, or binary, system is commonly expressed as a rounded off decimal number. One megabyte 1 million bytes is actually made up of 1,, bytes by the base-2 definition. A base system states that bytes for computer storage should be calculated as powers of In that system, a MB would actually be 1 million decimal bytes.
This system is now most common among manufacturers and consumers. While the difference between the base-2 and base systems was once fairly insignificant, as capacity has increased, the discrepancy has widened considerably. The future of flash storage: Is NVMe right for your enterprise? Persistent storage readied for containerized applications. Hyper-converged infrastructure vendors offer range of storage options.
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Home Data storage management Computing fundamentals byte. This was last updated in January Related Terms bad block A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically NooBaa update focuses on multi-cloud data management Digital transformation planning bumps into data management issues Commvault GO: The alternative spelling 'nybble' reflects the spelling of 'byte', as noted in editorials of Kilobaud and Byte in the early s.
Another early recorded use of the term 'nybble' was in within the consumer-banking technology group at Citibank. The nibble is used to describe the amount of memory used to store a digit of a number stored in packed decimal format BCD within an IBM mainframe.
This technique is used to make computations faster and debugging easier. An 8-bit byte is split in half and each nibble is used to store one decimal digit.
The last rightmost nibble of the variable is reserved for the sign. Thus a variable which can store up to nine digits would be "packed" into 5 bytes. Historically, there are cases where nybble was used for a group of bits greater than 4.
In the Apple II microcomputer line , much of the disk drive control and group-coded recording was implemented in software. Writing data to a disk was done by converting byte pages into sets of 5-bit later, 6-bit nibbles and loading disk data required the reverse. Today, the terms 'byte' and 'nibble' almost always refer to 8-bit and 4-bit collections respectively and are very rarely used to express any other sizes.
The terms "low nibble" and "high nibble" are used to denote the nibbles containing, respectively, the less significant bits and the more significant bits within a byte. In graphical representations of bits within a byte, the leftmost bit could represent the most significant bit MSB , corresponding to ordinary decimal notation in which the digit at the left of a number is the most significant. In such illustrations the four bits on the left end of the byte form the high nibble, and the remaining four bits form the low nibble.
In the C programming language:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the information storage unit. For other uses, see Nibble disambiguation. This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Microprocessors and Digital Systems. Hacker's Delight 2 ed. Addison Wesley - Pearson Education, Inc. The New Hacker's Dictionary. Introduction to the use of digital computers: