The single bit is used only to represent a tinny piece of information. To get effective numbers, the computer combines the bits. The first combination of bits consists of grouping four consecutive bits.
To count the bits, we number them starting at 0, followed by 1, 2, and 3. The count starts with the most right bit. The first bit, on the right side of the nibble, is called the Low Order bit or LO bit. This is also called the least significant bit. The last bit, on the left side of the nibble, is called the High Order bit or HI bit; it is also called the most significant bit. The bit on the right side is counted as bit 0. The bit on the left side is counted as bit 3. The other bits are called by their positions: bit 1 and bit 2.
Once again, each bit can have one of two states. Continuing with our illustration, when a box is empty, it receives a value of 0. Otherwise, it has a value of 1. On a group of four consecutive bits, we can have the following combinations:
This produces the following binary combinations: 0000, 0001, 0010, 0011, 0100, 0101, 0110, 0111, 1000, 1001, 1010, 1011, 1100, 1101, 1110, 1111 = 16 combinations. When using the decimal system, these combinations can be represented as 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15.
As you can see, a nibble is represented by a group of 4 (consecutive) bits. If you have a number that is less than four bits, such as 10 or 01 or 101, to complete and fill out the nibble consists of displaying 0 for each non-represented bit. Consequently, the binary number 10 is the same as 0010. The number 01 is the same as 0001. The number 101 is the same as 0101. This technique is valuable and allows you to always identify a binary number as a divider of 4.
When all bits of a nibble are 0, you have the lowest value you can get, which is 0000. Any of the other combinations has at least one 0 bit, except for the last one. When all bits are 1, this provides the highest value possible for a nibble. The lowest value, also considered the minimum value, can be represented in the decimal system as 0. The highest value, also considered the maximum, can be expressed in decimal value as 24 (2 represents the fact that there are two possible states: 0 and 1; 4 represents the fact that there are four possible combinations), which is 16. This produces 16 because 24 = 16.
As you can see, the binary system is very difficult (simply because we are not familiar with it) to read when a value combines various bit representations. To make it a little easier, the computer recognizes the hexadecimal representation of bits. Following the box combinations above, we can represent each 4-bit of the sixteen combinations using the decimal, hexadecimal, and binary systems as follows: