Computing > General Computing

Is the Byte obsolete?

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Connecteur:
Memory and processing are still expressed in bytes (kilobytes, megabytes etc.)  but how useful is an 8-bit word nowadays?  It gives us 256 data states, but most applications nowadays require more.  Are there names for 16-bit, 32-bit and 64-bit words?

Monkeh:
Let us from now on describe memory sizes in kibilonglongs.

ataradov:
Half word, word and double word are commonly used names for 16-, 32- and 64-bit quantities. And quad word for 128 bits. So we are covered for quite some time.

This is a really strange question. No, byte is not obsolete, since there is still a lot of stuff that is designed around 8-bit bytes.

SiliconWizard:
Not being able to address bytes - at least remotely efficiently since you coud always do this using bitwise operations - would be a real pain in many applications.

David Hess:
"Word" used to be the natural operand size for the CPU whether that was 8, 9, 16, 18, or whatever bits.  It only became synonymous with 16 bits after x86 became so popular, and it remained 16 bits instead of being changed to 32 or 64 bits on x86 for backwards compatibility.

As far as bytes, they are still used for character data.

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