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Difference Between Bit and Byte

Bit vs Byte

In computing, bit is the basic unit of information. Simply, a bit can be seen as a variable that can take only one of two possible values. These two possible values are ‘0’ and ‘1’ and interpreted as binary digits. The two possible values could also be interpreted as logical (Boolean) values, which are ‘true’ and ‘false’. Byte is also a unit of information used in computing. One byte is equal to eight bits. Byte is also used as a data type in several programming languages such as C and C++.

What is a Bit?

In computing, bit is the basic unit of information. Simply, a bit can be seen as a variable that can take only one of two possible values. These two possible values are ‘0’ and ‘1’ and interpreted as binary digits. The two possible values could also be interpreted as logical (Boolean) values, which are ‘true’ and ‘false’. In practice, bits can be implemented in several ways. Typically, it is implemented using an electrical voltage. Value ‘0’ in a bit is represented by 0 volts and value ‘1’ in a bit is represented using a positive voltage relative to the ground (usually up to 5 volts) in devices using positive logic. In modern memory devices, such as dynamic random access memories and flash memories, two levels of charge in a capacitor are used to implement a bit. In optical disks, two values of a bit are represented using the availability or non availability of a very small pit on a surface that is reflective. The symbol used to represent bit is “bit” (according to the 2008 – ISO/IEC standard 80000-13) or lowercase “b” (according to the 2002 – IEEE 1541 Standard).

What is a Byte?

A Byte is also a unit of information used in computing. One byte is equal to eight bits. Even though there is no specific reason for choosing eight bits for a byte, reasons such as the usage of eight bits to encode characters in a computer and the usage of eight or fewer bits to represent variables in many applications played a role in accepting 8 bits as a single unit. The symbol used to represent a byte is capital “B” as specified by IEEE 1541. A byte can represent values from 0 to 255. Byte is also used as a data type in several programming languages such as C and C++.

What is the difference between Bit and Byte?

In computing, bit is the basic unit of information, whereas Byte is a unit of information, which is equal to eight bits. The symbol used to represent bit is “bit” or “b”, while the symbol used to represent a byte is “B”. A bit can represent only two values (0 or 1), whereas a byte can represent 256 (28) different values. Bits are grouped in to bytes to improve the efficiency of hard disks and other memory devices, and for the easiness of comprehending information.


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