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In most computer systems, a byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long. A byte is the unit most computers use to represent a character such as a letter, number or typographic symbol. Each byte can hold a string of bits that need to be used in a larger unit for application purposes. For example, the stream of bits that constitute a visual image for a program that displays images or the string of bits that constitutes the machine code of a computer program.
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In some computer systems, four bytes constitute a word , a unit that a computer processor can be designed to handle efficiently as it reads and processes each instruction. Depending on the capabilities, some computer processors can handle two-byte or single-byte instructions. Language scripts can sometimes require two bytes to represent a character. These are called double-byte character sets. A bit is represented by a lowercase b. While a byte can hold a letter or symbol, a bit is the smallest unit of storage, storing just one binary digit.
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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