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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
word size
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processor The number of bits that a CPU can process at one
time. Processors with many different word sizes have existed
though powers of two (8, 16, 32, 64) have predominated for
many years. A processor's word size is often equal to the
width of its external data bus though sometimes the bus is
made narrower than the CPU (often half as many bits) to
economise on packaging and circuit board costs.