What exactly is a word ? - Programmers Heaven

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What exactly is a word ?

Posts: 7Member
Hello people,
What exactly is a word ?
I know a word is basically a unit and i know the word=2 bytes on an x-86 processor.
But is the word size the same on an Itanium Processor as well ?
I feel 1 word = 2bytes(x86)
= 4bytes(32 bit system)
= 8bytes(64 bit system)
That is the word size ,is always taken such that [b]The size of a pointer is always equal to 1 word[/b]

• Posts: 770Member ✭✭✭

• Posts: 254Member ✭✭
Processors have an address bus and a data bus. The address bus says "give me the contents of this location in memory", the data bus says "these are the contents". In C, addresses are pointers.
Normally it's handy to have the data bus and the address bus the same width, but this needn't be the case. The 286 was an important exception.

• Posts: 4Member
Word is nothing but what a processor can process at an instance. As you told that for all x86 processor family we have

1 word = 2bytes(x86 16 bit system)
1 word = 4bytes(32 bit system)
1 word = 8bytes(64 bit system)

This variation is because 16 bits system can process 16 bits = 2 bytes at a time. Similarly for 32 bits system it is 4 bytes.

So the core thing is
1 word = number of bytes that can be processed by a processor at an instance.
• Posts: 4Member
Word is nothing but what a processor can process at an instance. As you told that for all x86 processor family we have

1 word = 2bytes(x86 16 bit system)
1 word = 4bytes(32 bit system)
1 word = 8bytes(64 bit system)

This variation is because 16 bits system can process 16 bits = 2 bytes at a time. Similarly for 32 bits system it is 4 bytes.

So the core thing is
1 word = number of bytes that can be processed by a processor at an instance.