Definition of Memory Units

Memory Units

Definition of Memory Units

Memory units can be defined as a way to measure the quantity of data collected together under a single memory location, which is termed as the ‘storage unit’. These memory units are used to indicate the number or amount of data that are picked and used for individual computation processes performed in a computing device. A group of binary digits is used in every operation or command sent back and forth to the processor of the computer system. These binary digits, that is, 0’s and 1’s, take up different terms for probing the processes carried out inside the computer processor units.

Top 12 Memory Units

The memory units of the data in the storage systems are classified into the below different types,

1. Bit

The bit is a term shortly used instead of the word ‘Binary digit’, which is nothing but the 0’s and 1’s that are used for the indication of passive or active states of any component involved in an electric system. This is the least of the memory units that is used for representative the storage occupancy of the data in the memory space, that is, the data shown either in 0 or in 1.

2. Nibble

Nibble can be defined as the collection of four bits, which is characterized as a hexadecimal number to store the data in the memory. It takes up the same space as a hexadecimal number or a group of four bits of data. It is sometimes called as ‘Nybble’ or ‘Nyble’ or ‘hex digit’. There are also memory units called as ‘low nibble’ and ‘high nibble’ that are used to denote the contents of the nibble memory unit, where the low nibble shows the lesser momentous bit and the high nibble shows the highly momentous bit inside the memory unit.

3. Byte

A byte can be defined as the group of eight binary digits, which generally corresponds to the other compounds of 8 bits. This is the commonly used unit terminology, as it comes with the prefixes for the multiples of bytes, such as the prefixes as kilo-, mega-, giga-, tera-, peta-, etc.

4. Word

A word typically means indicates the memory unit occupied by a specific chunk of data, which comes as a fixed size and not alterable during the process execution. The word memory units are of different types and are termed as the fixed point numbers, floating numbers, addresses, registers etc., with respect to the number of data occupied in the memory unit shown as the word. When the word is called by the processor for performing any operation and completing the process, the size of the data remains the same throughout the process until completion. Popular Course in this categoryAll in One Software Development Bundle (600+ Courses, 50+ projects)600+ Online Courses | 3000+ Hours | Verifiable Certificates | Lifetime Access
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5. Kilobyte

Kilobyte can be defined as one of the many multiples of the byte memory units. The prefix kilo- , normally, represents the unit to be ‘Kilo’ and it comes in multiples of ‘1000’. Though in terms of international standards kilo means 1000, in a typical memory unit, the binary digit are seen as Base 2 and so the ‘Kilo’ here means 1024 of binary digits or bits. In short, 1Kilobyte or 1KB is equal to the 1024 bits or binary digits.

6. Megabyte

Similar to the Kilobyte memory unit, the megabyte memory unit is used when the bits are large in number and when it makes it easy to say it the number to be in lesser length. That is, in international standards the prefix ‘mega-‘ is used for showing the 10^6 or the 1000000. This also means that a typical MB is shown with Base 2, and so the 1MB or the 1 Megabyte equals to the 1048576 bytes of the memory unit. It can also be calculated as (1024)^2bytes or the 2^20 bytes.

7. Gigabyte

The Gigabytes are used to represent the data to be in multiples of 10^9 or 1000000000 binary digits, and when the memory unit is in terms of Base 2 then the storage space is calculated as 2^30 bytes or as 1024^3 bytes. In other words, the memory units used by the processor that runs on the Base 2 are termed as the Gigabytes and is equal to the 1073741824 bytes.

8. Terabyte

Terabyte are applied when the memory requirement is as high as the 2^40, that is the binary digits exponential to the number 40. It can also be seen as an equal to the 1024 terabytes and is represented as TB. Or other words equals to 10^12 bytes in international standards and that can also be termed as the trillion bytes.

9. Petabyte

Petabyte can be defined as a memory unit that represents the higher multiples of bytes, next to the Terabyte that comes in PB units. It is equal to the 10^15 bytes in terms of the international standards, or the 1024^5 bytes when the bytes come with the Base 2.

1o. Exabyte

Exabyte is a memory unit that is equal to the 10^18 equivalent in the international standards scale, and the same is equal to the 1024^6 for the memory units that come in the form of Base 2. The unit terms of the Exabyte are EB, and this EB is the same as the 1 million TB or the 1 billion GB or the 1 thousand PB.

11. Zettabyte

Similar to other byte sized memory units, Zettabyte can be seen as an equivalent to 10^21, according to the ‘zetta’ representation in terms of the international standards. The Zettabyte or the ZB also can be seen as 1 thousand of the EB, 1 million PB, 1 billion TB, 1 trillion GB, etc.

12. Yottabyte

As the name says, the Yottabyte unit or the YB represents another memory unit for the bytes to be in multiples of the other lower byte units or even the bytes. In international standards, it is equal to the 10^24, and for base 2 byte units the YB is also equal to 1024^8, 1 thousand ZB, 1 trillion TB, etc.


The memory units are the terms used for data storage representations, which can be used for indicating the capacity of the respective systems and connected devices. The units start from a bit, byte to the multiples of bytes, where the prefixes correspond to the international systems of units that goes up until the extent to cover all the finite numbers.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to Memory Units. Here we also discuss the introduction and top 12 memory units which include. bit, nibble, byte, and kilobyte, etc. you may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

  1. Android Architecture 
  2. What is Register?
  3. What is Buffer Overflow?
  4. Software Maintenance Types

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