16 v. 32 bit

Mike Farren farren at well.UUCP
Fri Dec 27 06:48:13 AEST 1985

     It seems to me that the arguments around 16-bit vs. 32-bit 
architectures have gotten a little out-of-hand.  There are two
DIFFERENT standards by which to judge processors.  First, the width
of the physical data bus.  By this standard, the 8088 is an 8-bit
processor, 8086 and 68000 16-bits, and the 68020 32-bits.
     The second standard is the internal organization of the processor.
My own definition for this standard is the ability of the processor to
execute ALL of its data move, logical, and arithmetic instructions on
a given word size. ( Note.  I emphasize that this is MY standard. )  By
this criterion, the Intel products up to and including the 80286 are ALL
16-bit processors, as are the 68000 and 68010. (They come REAL close to 32,
but fall down on the MUL instructions).  The 68020 is a real 32-bitter in both
     The point of all this is that there are several ways of looking at the
issue, any given one of which is correct, depending on what you're looking
for.  I don't mind hearing discussions, even religious ones, but die-hard
dogmatism is never comfortable for those on the outside.

           Mike Farren
           uucp: {dual, hplabs}!well!farren
           Fido: Sci-Fido, Fidonode 125/84, (415)655-0667
           USnail: 390 Alcatraz Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

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