TSuereth blog header photo
TSuereth's c-blog
Posts 0Blogs 16Following 0Followers 4



GEEK OUT - Bits and Bus Widths

As a nerd, I am frequently irritated by minor technical inaccuracies, like hard drive labels and Ted Stevens. Recently a game called Bit Boy!! hit WiiWare, and it is GEEKING ME OUT because it perpetuates the myth that "bit" counts are related to console generations.

This is easy to believe: I myself, growing up, thought that every progressive console generation had "double the bits." The NES and Master System had eight. SNES and Genesis, 16. Virtual Boy and 32X? 32 bits. And of course, the Nintendo Ultra 64. But this pattern has since disappeared, and the notion that bit widths and console generations are directly related is, in fact, total nonsense.

- Hold on a second! I thought a 32 bit operating system could only use about three GB of RAM, not four! That's because address ranges in the last gigabyte are typically reserved for hardware memory mapping - when your CPU uses these addresses, it isn't looking for main memory, but other stuff like coprocessor registers or controller signal lines.

- Graphics coprocessors have bus widths too, but they refer exclusively to vector calcluations, and to communication between the GPU and VRAM. Traditionally this was just your frame buffer, but as texture calculations, shaders, and GPGPU computing become more prevalent, this could start to be a relevant figure. You can currently buy an 896-bit graphics card.

- I have never played Bit Boy!!
Login to vote this up!



Please login (or) make a quick account (free)
to view and post comments.

 Login with Twitter

 Login with Dtoid

Three day old threads are only visible to verified humans - this helps our small community management team stay on top of spam

Sorry for the extra step!


About TSuerethone of us since 8:04 PM on 07.31.2009

Xbox LIVE:TSuereth


Around the Community