# Understanding the number of bits in gaming consoles [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate:
What does 8-bit / 16-bit actually refer to?

Some of the consoles I've owned are:

• 8 bit NES
• 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 `255`, `16` bits is `65,535`, and `64` bits is`9,223,372,036,854,775,807`.

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?

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## migrated from superuser.comJun 15 '11 at 0:11

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

## marked as duplicate by Grace Note♦Jun 15 '11 at 12:16

max 8-bit value is 255. – Dave DuPlantis Jun 15 '11 at 0:53
@Dave DuPlantis Doh! – aligray Jun 15 '11 at 1:14
OBOB ... it even gets you on SE sites! :) – Dave DuPlantis Jun 15 '11 at 1:34
@Dave What is OBOB? – aligray Jun 15 '11 at 1:36
Off By One Bug. It's typically seen in loops: going from 1 to n in a system where arrays start with 0 (and thus the loop should go to n-1), that kind of thing. Or here: 256 different unsigned ints can be expressed in 8 bits, they just start at 0. – Dave DuPlantis Jun 15 '11 at 1:43