What does 8-bit / 16-bit actually refer to?
Some of the consoles I've owned are:
- 8 bit NES
- 16 bit Megadrive (Genesis)
- 64 bit Nintendo 64
I've always been curious about what the number of bits specified actually means? I realise that when taking unsigned integers into account, the maximum value
8 bits is
16 bits is
64 bits is
Does it refer to the amount of graphical data that can be transfered at any one time? Or the colour palette? Or the largest a numeric data-type can be? Or some other factors?