The IBM System/360 introduced byte-addressable memory with 8-bit bytes, as opposed to bit-addressable or decimal digit-addressable or word-addressable memory, although its general purpose registers were 32 bits wide, and addresses were contained in the lower 24 bits of those addresses. Different models of System/360 had different internal data path widths; the IBM System/360 Model 30 (1965) implemented the 32-bit System/360 architecture, but had an 8 bit native path width, and performed 32-bit arithmetic 8 bits at a time.
There are 28 (256) different possible values for 8 bits. When unsigned, it has possible values ranging from 0 to 255, when signed, it has -128 to 127.
Eight-bit CPUs use an 8-bitdata bus and can therefore access 8 bits of data in a single machine instruction. The address bus is typically a double octet wide (i.e. 16-bit), due to practical and economical considerations. This implies a direct address space of only 64 kB on most 8-bit processors.
The first commercial 8-bit processor was the Intel 8008 (1972) which was originally intended for the Datapoint 2200intelligent terminal. Most competitors to Intel started off with such character oriented 8-bit microprocessors. Modernized variants of these 8-bit machines are still one of the most common types of processor in embedded systems.