Words (computer architecture)

A computer word is the smallest possible unit of data. Both the hardware and the software of a computer processor treat words as having the same length. Word size, word width, or word length refers to the amount of bits or digits that make up a word and is a critical part of any processor design or computer architecture.

Most computer designs can only deal with data transfers into and out of working memory at the word level. In terms of memory, a hardware word is the smallest addressing unit (here, "hardware word" means the full-sized natural word of the processor, as opposed to any other definition used).

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