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Is there any datatypes with size less than a byte? (C++)

Hello, I'm trying to create a number datatype, which uses boolean arrays like bits and works like a number and lacks some weaknesses of integers and floats. I'm not happy with booleans, because they require 1 byte for only 2 possibilities, is there any datatypes that require less than a byte of memory? I'm searching for a boolean like datatype which requires only 1 bit of memory. By default I would be changing booleans to signed shorts or even bytes, but they would be harder to handle than booleans.

3/4/2020 8:12:55 AM

Seb TheS

6 Answers

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You can't allocate anything less than a byte, the CPU does not have the ability to store only 1 bit without using up an entire byte. What it can do is store multiple bits at once so instead of using 1 boolean you'll have to use booleans in sets of 8.


C allows you to spilt integers into bit fields. A 32 bit int can be used as 8 x 4 bit numbers, or for your case 32 single bit numbers. C++ has bitset which is a container that behaves like an array of bits. This may be close to what you want already.


Jared Bird Could you give an example of bitset usage?


Check this out.


Seb TheS The link from Fernando Pozzetti is quite informative. Just ask if you are not sure about anything.


std::vector<bool> is optimized to pack 8 values per byte. Also, keep in mind that if you add numbers one bit at a time that's going to be at least 8 times slower than adding them one byte at a time and at least 32 times slower than adding them one 32-bit int at a time.