I know that an ASCII character needs 1 byte of memory for storage, but if a computer uses a 64-bit word addressable memory does it mean that the character actually takes 8 bytes even when only 1 byte was needed?

Does being a 64-Bit word addressable memory mean the same as being a 64-Bit machine?

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1 Answer 1


It depends. A program can store 1 ASCII character in each 64-bit word, or 8 ASCII characters in each 64-bit word. It's up to each individual program to decide how it wants to store and format its data in memory. The latter would probably be more typical.

  • $\begingroup$ Or you could be like old-school Haskell and say that a string is a cons list of pointers to character objects, because who needs memory? $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2020 at 8:03

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