16-bit computing

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16-bit computing

CPUs that process 16 bits as a single unit, compared to 8, 32 or 64. The first personal computers in the late 1970s used 8-bit CPUs but migrated to 16 bits with the IBM PC in 1981. In the mid-1980s, PCs jumped to 32 bits with the Intel 386, and the Mac debuted with the 32-bit Motorola 68000 CPU. See 8088, 386 and 68000.

The 16-bit CPUs are still used as embedded processors in myriad products that do not require the higher speed. However, over the years, a lot of design effort went into 32-bit CPUs, making them faster, more efficient, smaller and less expensive and competitive with 16-bit CPUs for numerous embedded applications. See 8-bit computing, 32-bit computing and bit specifications.

References in periodicals archive ?
Virtual Reality Simulator reproduces the real and functional panels and console using a 16-bit computer.
The three movements are tied together with a 16-bit computer.
The new flight control computer represents a substantial advance in processing power and control capability over the obsolete 16-bit computer it replaces.
Navy standard 16-bit computer used for both embedded and stand-alone applications.
A compact, wrist-mounted 16-bit computer with display completes the system and permits wireless communication to the UPS host computer.
They said we were wastefully throwing out great 8-bit programming by moving the world toward 16-bit computers.
In 1985, it was one of the first software publishers to recognize the potential of the technology in 16-bit computers such as the Commodore Amiga.
It is expected that successful flight-testing of the six computers will lead to an order for approximately 130 additional units to retrofit older 16-bit computers currently in service.