#1,082 – Big-endian and Little-endian
April 24, 2014 3 Comments
The terms “big-endian” and “little-endian” refer to the scheme that a computer uses to store binary data in memory. The basic difference is:
- Big-endian (e.g. IBM mainframes, Motorola 68000) – leftmost byte is stored first, followed by other bytes, left-right. (“Big end” of number stored first)
- Little-endian (e.g. Intel processors) – rightmost byte is stored first, followed by other bytes, right-left. (“Little end” of number stored first)
Below is an example. Assume that have a 4-byte (32-bit) number with a value of 0x1234ABCD (hex). The diagram below shows how this number would be stored in a 4-byte chunk of memory, based on whether the processor uses the big-endian or the little-endian convention.