address bus

A collection of wires connecting the CPU with main memory that is used to identify particular locations (addresses) in main memory. The width of the address bus (that is, the number of wires) determines how many unique memory locations can be addressed. Modern PCs and Macintoshes have as many as 36 address lines, which enables them theoretically to access 64 GB (gigabytes) of main memory. However, the actually amount of memory that can be accessed is usually much less than this theoretical limit due to chipset and motherboard limitations.

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