TeraGibiMega Jumble

TeraGibiMega Jumble

If you think Computer Geeks all speak in tongues, no not all of them. Here is a quick reference guide to help you with the storage size language:

Inside the computer the smallest piece of information is a bit but in real world, no one needs to talk about bits because even a single character is the next smallest unit up, a byte. Counting bits and bytes is like counting kernels of sand on the beach.

Instead, memory sticks, and and drives are measured in megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB). Mega- is thousands of, so instead of counting every grain on the beach, take a scoop of sand and call it a megabyte of sand. If one scoop isn’t enough for your castle, then get two scoops, or 64 scoops, or 128 scoops. M could be for measuring cup-full.

Disk drives are long term storage devices meant to last for years of use. Today they are in the Gigabyte quantities. Giga- is a thousand times bigger than a mega-. Instead of thinking measuring-cup full, think of a barrel of sand. You might want 100 barrels of sand to fill in a land depression, but usually dirt comes in truckloads, which are more akin to a terabyte.

If you have 1000 barrels of sand, you now have a tera- amount of sand. Perhaps you have seen a pile of sand or rocks near a road construction site. That might be a few tera-grains of sand. A terabyte drive is therefore quite a sum of bytes. Typical drive sizes today hold 500GB (= 1/2 Terabyte), 750 GB (=3/4 Terabyte), 1 TB, or 2TB. You can figure with a Tera-grain pile of fertilizer, it will spread out for years. So it is with a Terabyte drive. Usually a half Terabyte, the same as a 500GB drive, is sufficient for the life of the computer for most people.

Incidentally, the difference between a Mega and Mibi and a Giga and a Gibi is all the -gas are times 1000 while all the -ibis are times 1024, the number closest to 1000 in a power of 2 because computers speak binary. 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2 = 1024 = 2^10


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