Bits, Bytes and more

Ever wonder what all those kilobytes, megabytes and gigabytes
do?   Here’s something you might find interesting…

1 bit: a 0 or a 1
8 bits: a byte (can store 256 different values)
16 bits: the instruction size of a Super Nintendo
32 bits: the instruction size of the Pentium chip you’re using right now

Now here’s where it REALLY takes off…

10**2 bits: a hectobit (100 bits)
– For example, the key size for some encryption algorithms these days

10**3 bits: a kilobit (1,000 bits)
– For example, the size of the magnetic stripe on your credit card
– 1/75 of a second of one channel of audio

10**4 bits: (10,000 bits)
– one page of typewritten text

10**5 bits: the size of a short-to-medium newspaper article

10**6 bits: a megabit
– a one-page black and white fax
– one frame of a DVD (about 1/30 of a second)
10**7 bits:
– the size of a screenfull of data on a medium-resolution monitor
– a single 3.5″ floppy disk (remember those?)

10**8 bits:
– amount of data in a large foldout map
– amount of data in a 5-minute, CD-quality recording
– amount of data your eyes can digest in a single glance

10**9 bits: a gigabit
– the capacity of a regular audio CD

1o**10 bits: the capacity of a single-sided DVD

10**11 bits: the capacity of a Blu-ray (high-def) DVD

10**12 bits: a terabit
– A medium sized hard drive these days
– the amount of space needed to store the largest number of digits of
pi ever recorded (1.24 trillion)

10**13 bits: possibly the capacity of your functional memory

10**14 bits: the size of the Library of Congress in digital form

10**15 bits: a petabit
– The size of the Internet Archive (an organization that tries to
maintain an archive of the Internet)

10**16 bits: the amount of hard drive space that Google uses

10**17 bits: the size of the memory of the robot, Data, in Star Trek:
800,000,000,000,000,000 bits

10**18 bits: an exabit
– The amount of all printed material in the world

Putting it all in perspective…

10**22 bits: the amount of data stored in 1 gram of your DNA.
Though this submission from Dan McCarty isn’t a joke, it does make you think:

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1 Response to “Bits, Bytes and more”


  1. 1 gp November 3, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    //10**22 bits: the amount of data stored in 1 gram of your DNA.//

    Amazing!


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