In computer architecture, 12-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 12 bits (1.5 octets) wide. Also, 12-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size.
Possibly the best-known 12-bit CPU is the PDP-8 and its relatives, such as the Intersil 6100 microprocessor produced in various incarnations from August 1963 to mid-1990. Many analog to digital converters (ADCs) have a 12-bit resolution. Some PIC microcontrollers use a 12-bit word size.
12 binary digits, or 3 nibbles (a 'tribble'), have 4096 (10000 octal, 1000 hexadecimal) distinct combinations. Hence, a microprocessor with 12-bit memory addresses can directly access 4096 words (4 Kw) of word-addressable memory. At a time when six-bit character codes were common a 12-bit word, which could hold two characters, was a convenient size. IBM System/360 instruction formats use a 12-bit displacement field which, added to the contents of a base register, can address 4096 bytes of memory.