difference between byte and word

This is a discussion on difference between byte and word within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; I know a byte is 8 bits and a word is the smallest unit of memory addressable in RAM. What ...

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    difference between byte and word

    I know a byte is 8 bits and a word is the smallest unit of memory addressable in RAM. What I don't get is what's the point of having bytes?

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_weed
    I know a byte is 8 bits and a word is the smallest unit of memory addressable in RAM. What I don't get is what's the point of having bytes?
    A quick check of the Wikipedia articles on byte and word shows that they discuss this in some detail, including possible corrections of the misconceptions that you may have. Have you read them and other articles online concerning these two terms?
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    "a byte... is the basic addressable element in many computer architectures." -wikipedia
    "word is a term for the natural unit of data used by a particular processor design. A word is basically a fixed sized group of bits that are handled as a unit by the instruction set and/or hardware of the processor." -wikipedia

    These definitions sound pretty similar to me. Is a byte a common size for a word?

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    > A word is basically a fixed sized group of bits that are handled as a unit by the instruction set and/or hardware of the processor.
    (AFAIK) that means the size of a general purpose register(which is generally more than a byte) is a word.
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