Types of Measurement units in a Computer System

A calculation is the process of measuring an object’s dimension, power, or quantity, or the time it takes to complete a task.

Measurement units are made all the time in machines, and they determine how the machine works. These metrics include how much space a storage medium has to hold a file, the current temperature of the CPU, and how long the user has been idle.

There are many types of measurement units, which we are going to describe below:

Types of Measurement units in a Computer System

Storage measurement units

The size of the device in computers does not reflect the space available to store data in it. There are larger devices that can store only a few data were as many tiny devices that store an unbelievable amount of data.

Hence, we need to find some other way to measure space. All of the digital computers use binary numbering systems (though there are some exceptions).

The binary numbering system consists of only two digits – 0 and 1 to represent any quantity. 10 in binary is equal to the 2 and 100 to 5. We will be learning this numbering system in next tutorial.

Everything in computers is represented in strings of binary numbers. For example capital, A is interpreted by the computer as 0100 0001 and B is 0100 0010.

All characters, numbers, symbols, images, sounds, animations, videos, and everything is converted into suitable binary code to store on a computer or processed by computer.

So if there is any device that can store one binary digit (whether 0 or 1), its storage capacity is 1 bit.

Here, we have larger units that represent a group of lower units. A group of 4 binary digits is called a nibble (4 bits = 1 Nibble). Similarly, a group of 8 bits is called a byte (1 byte = 8 bits).

As you have seen in the example above, each character requires 8 bits which are 1 byte. So 1 character requires 1-byte space. Now, if you have a text file whose size is 32 bytes, it means there are 32 x 8 binary digits (0s and 1s) stored in it.

Following table lists the different units and their values:

Storage Measurement Units:

Units Equivalent
0 or 1 1 BIt
4 Bites 1 Nibble
8 Bites 1 Byte
1024 Bytes 1 Kilobyte(KB)
1024 Kilobytes 1 Megabyte(MB)
1024 Megabytes 1 Gigabyte(GB)
1024 Gigabytes 1 Terabyte(TB)
1024 Terabytes 1 Petabyte(PB)
1024 Petabytes 1 Exabyte(EB)

Speed Measurement Units

Speed is related to time. The computer can perform millions of tasks in one second. So to compare the speed of computer operation (execution of programs and instructions) we require some units that can represent a very small fraction of time.

Following are the units used to indicate the fraction of seconds:

Units Equivalent
1000 th of a second (1/1,000 of a second) 1 Milliseconds (MS)
1000 th of a millisecond (1/1,000,000 of a second) 1 Microsecond (μs)
1000 th of a microsecond (1/1,000,000,000 of a second) 1 Nanosecond (ns)
1000 th of a nanosecond (1/1,000,000,000,000 of a second) 1 Picoseconds (ps)
1000 th of a picosecond  (1/1,000,000,000,000,000 of a second) 1 Femtosecond (fs)

Measurement Unit of the processing unit

The central processing unit (CPU) of a computer is the part of the machine that retrieves and executes instructions. An arithmetic and logic unit (ALU), a control unit, and multiple registers make up the system. The processor is a common term for the central processing unit (CPU).

These are also called the unit of electromagnetic (EM) wave frequency.

The different measurement units and their relationship is as follows:

  • 1,000 Hz = 1 Kilo Hertz (103 Hz)
  • 1,000 KHz = 1 Mega Hertz (106 Hz)
  • 1,000 MHz= 1 Giga Hertz (109 Hz)
  • 1,000 GHz= 1 Tera Hertz (1012 Hz)
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by Janak Saud
Author of Informer Guru, IT Student

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