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What is the Difference Between a Ghz and a Mg?

Michael Anissimov
By
Updated May 21, 2024
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According to the International System of Units, the modernized form of the metric system, a GHz is a gigahertz, meaning a cycle operating at a billion times per second, while a Mg is a megagram, the official designation for a tonne, also called the metric ton, equivalent to 1000 kilograms. So a GHz and a Mg refer to units measuring fundamentally different things: the speed of a cycle and weight.

The unit GHz is commonly used in the study of electromagnetic spectra, which light with a frequency of a GHz falls into the microwave portion of the spectrum, with a wavelength of about 20 cm, and in measuring the clock speed of computers, which is often a few GHz. Contrary to popular belief, the clock speed of a computer is not directly related to its computational performance. This misconception has been referred to as the Megahertz Myth. As of 2008, the best personal computers operate at a clock speed of about 3 GHz. This is sure to increase to 10 GHz and beyond in coming years, as faster computers are built to meet consumer demand. Some molecular vibrations are in the GHz range.

The megagram, or metric ton, is 1000 kilograms or approximately 2205 lbs. This unit is used to measure quantities in agriculture, industry, petrochemical extraction, structural engineering, and many other areas. The Empire State Building has an estimated weight of 336,000 metric tons, while the International Space Station will have a weight of 471 metric tons upon completion. A car weighs about 1-2 tonnes, while an elephant weighs 3-12. The Hubble Space Telescope weighs 11 tonnes. Launching a tonne of material into space costs about $14 million USD.

The "giga" in gigahertz and the "mega" in megagram both come from Greek words meaning "giant" and "great" respectively. When used in the SI system of units, "mega" denotes a million, while "giga" denotes a billion. Other even larger SI prefixes include tera-, which signifies a trillion, and peta-, which indicates a quadrillion.

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Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov , Writer
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.

Discussion Comments

By anon61631 — On Jan 21, 2010

Of course, if the person meant to type MHz instead of MG, the answer would be three decimal places, just like kHz to MHz.

Besides, Mg is Magnesium. And Madagascar.

Michael Anissimov

Michael Anissimov

Writer

Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
Learn more
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