0
$\begingroup$

A typical HDD would represent information as either 1 (e.g. spin up) or 0 (e.g. spin down). Let's assume you want to represent the information physically in a hex system with 16 states, and assume this is possible with using some physical form (maybe the same spin).

What is the minimum physical size of a memory element in this new system in units of binary bits? It seems to me that the minimum is 8 bits = 1 byte. Therefore, going from a binary representation to a higher representation will, everything else equal, make the minimum variable size equal 1 byte instead of 1 bit. Is this logic correct?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

One hexadecimal digit contains 4 binary digits. You can compute this as follows: $\log_2 16 = 4$. Alternatively, $2^4 = 16$. So the minimal memory element will contain 4 bits' worth of information.

This also works when the number of states is not a power of 2, but you have to be more flexible in your interpretation.

| cite | improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.