What is Computer Memory Units

Computer memory units

In the last article, we discussed about RAM. We also understood the basic concept of RAM and the reasons behind using it.

The most important part of the RAM is its operation as a temporary member. It stores your files temporarily and as soon as the computer or laptop is switched off, it erases everything off on its own.

But just like any other device, this also needs some internal space where it could save your data. Some memory of its own is needed so it could temporary keep the record. To understand this, we will have to understand the fundamental part of any computer system and that is Memory.

We will understand about the memory units used in computers and slowly move upwards in the hierarchy. This will not only help you understand the memory aspect but it will also help you recognize the RAM storage that you need as per your needs.

So, let’s get started. Let us understand the basics of computer memory units.

What is the Memory Unit?

A memory unit is the amount of data that can be stored in any storage unit. We come across lot of such terms for example, hard drive, memory cards, pen drives, or any other storage system. Anything that can store data has a memory unit and hence, it becomes important to understand about memory units especially when it comes to computer fundamentals.

Also read – Types of Computer Memory

Which are the basic or fundamental memory units?

Let us understand the basic memory units used in the computer.

  1. Bit
  2. Nibble
  3. Byte
  4. Word

What is Bit

All the computers in the world understand only 1 language that is the language of 0’s and 1’s. Everything we type, click, watch on a computer is stored in the same format and that is how the computer can understand what we are trying to do tell him to do. Be it a notepad file, excel spreadsheet, or your favorite movie, everything is in 0 and 1. These 0’s and 1’s are together, in computer memory, called bit.

What is Nibble

When 4 bits are grouped together we call it a nibble.

What is Byte

A group of 8 bits is called a byte. A byte is the smallest unit that can represent any data on a computer.

What is Word

We are now aware of what a bit, byte and nibble does. A word can be defined as a group of fixed number of bits or bytes which the system processes at that time. It can vary from system to system but the measure remains the same for 1 system.

Computer stores information in the form of words. A word can vary from 8 bits to 96 bits. The length of a computer word is called word-length or word size.

Now, the units we have seen are too small to measure the amount of data we as humans are consuming these days on the Internet or offline. Everything is about data and every decision is also depending on such data. So it is very important to know the bigger, more convenient units of memory so as to fulfill our needs of storage.

The computer memory is a part of International System of Units or SI units.

The following memory units table consists of the larger units used in the daily computer storage.

Sr. No Description
1. Kilobyte (KB)   1 KB = 1024 bytes
2. Megabyte (MB)   1 MB = 1024 KB
3. Gigabyte (GB)   1 GB = 1024 MB
4. Terabyte (TB)   1 TB = 1024 GB
5. Petabyte (PB)   1 PB = 1024 TB

Table of larger system units and description

Computer memory units are a basic building blocks of any storage system in laptops or desktops and understanding this is a really crucial things. It is crucial because, whenever we try to buy a laptop or a smartphone or desktop for that matter, the first thing we ask is the RAM or ROM. Once we know the purpose of buying it and the performance that will help us stay on-toes, we decide to buy it.

The Bottom Line

So, this was everything about system units and the units we use in our daily lives to explain or understand the storage scenario in any electronic device, from smartphones to computers to laptops.

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