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A register is a hardware component - part of circuitry. In electronics you can obtain a single register chip - but within your computer many registers will be etched onto a chip and you will not be able to isolate one of them.

In electronics a 'register' stores and or handles digital data. They are the 'holding areas' your processor uses to do arithmetic and logical calculations. The output from a register is a series of high and low voltages that correspond to binary code. An 8-bit register will store a byte of data.

Word size is related to the output capabilities of a processor's registers; it is a computer's preferred size for moving units of information around.

Computers are described as having bit sizes ("32-bit" or "64-bit" computers). That indicates the chunks of binary information the computer can process at a time. Most computers now have a 'word size' of 64 bits. In the early 2000s many PCs had 32-bit words. The old 286 machines back in the 1980s had a word size of 16-bits.

Note that the word size goes up in multiples of 2... binary!

The computer views memory as a sequence of words numbered from zero up to some large value dependent on your memory size.

A simple register

This register is equivalent to n flip-flops. Each flip-flop stores one bit of information. The register holds the whole word - a binary number made up of n bits.