Concept

16-bit computing

Summary
16-bit microcomputers are microcomputers that use 16-bit microprocessors. A 16-bit register can store 216 different values. The range of integer values that can be stored in 16 bits depends on the integer representation used. With the two most common representations, the range is 0 through 65,535 (216 − 1) for representation as an (unsigned) binary number, and −32,768 (−1 × 215) through 32,767 (215 − 1) for representation as two's complement. Since 216 is 65,536, a processor with 16-bit memory addresses can directly access 64 KB (65,536 bytes) of byte-addressable memory. If a system uses segmentation with 16-bit segment offsets, more can be accessed. 16-bit architecture The MIT Whirlwind ( 1951) was quite possibly the first-ever 16-bit computer. It was an unusual word size for the era; most systems used six-bit character code and used a word length of some multiple of 6-bits. This changed with the effort to introduce ASCII, which used a 7-bit code and naturally led to the
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