Thursday, October 11, 2007


The 512 megabyte miniSD card from my cell phone served as a conversation starter for my son and me the other day. I think our family's first computer had 512 kilobytes of RAM. As I held up the 512MB card, I told my son to picture 1000 desktop computers in our house, together totaling the same amount of RAM as I held on my fingertip. We were looking online at the price of a microSD card to go in the next generation of phone that I will get as part of the "new every two" upgrade. The micro chips look to be about half the size but with 8 times the capacity of the mini chip I got two years ago.

During his college career, my son will probably get to use computers with terabytes of memory. Naturally, he wanted to know what was bigger than a terabyte. We looked it up and found a list all the way from bit up to the most amusing of the names, brontobyte (unofficial).
1 Bit = Binary Digit
8 Bits = 1 Byte
1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
1000 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte
1000 Exabytes = 1 Zettabyte
1000 Zettabyte = 1 Yottabyte
1000 Yottabyte = 1 Brontobyte
Two days later I was skimming through the Knoxville Blog Network and saw something about bits and bytes that I might have overlooked if my son and I hadn't just been talking about it on Monday. An entry from Think Time had a link to a fascinating post by James S. Huggins that gives you an idea of how much memory it takes to hold various types of information.

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Blogger Craig Thomas said...

Just remember, that your numbers should really be 1024 and not 1000. Hard drive companies have altered this for marketing, but memory is still correct (when you buy 1 GB of memory, you still get 1024 MB).


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