#1,081 – Bits, Bytes and Nibbles

A bit is a unit of information in a digital computer that can take on one of two values, typically written as 0 or 1.  Information stored in digital computers was originally represented as bits because each bit could be physically represented by some electrical mechanism that could take on one of two states (e.g. a transistor, which can be on or off).

A series of eight bits is considered a byte.  (Historically, the number of bits in a byte was dependent on the hardware, but the term byte most often refers to a sequence of eight bits).

1081-001

Because a byte consists of eight bits and a hexadecimal character represents four bits, you can represent a byte using two hexadecimal characters.

1081-002

A byte can take on values from 0 to 255, or 0x00 to 0xFF.

1081-003

Four bits (one hexadecimal character) is also know as a nibble, though this term is not as common as byte.

 

 

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About Sean
Software developer in the Twin Cities area, passionate about .NET technologies. Equally passionate about my own personal projects related to family history and preservation of family stories and photos.

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