Bits, Bytes and Nibbles


Computers use a base-2 counting system. This is different to humans, who use base-10. Base-2 means that there are only 2 different numbers used, 0 and 1. This is different to base-10, which uses 10 different numbers, 09.

We use different names to describe different sizes of memory.

The smallest is called a bit, which is a portmanteau of binary digit. A b is used to denote a bit.

A nibble is 4 bits or half a byte. It is also sometimes spelt as bubble.

A byte is 8 bits. Historically a byte has not always equalled 8 bits but it does in modern computing. When the size of a byte was ambiguous, the term octet was used instead. A B is used to denote a byte.