A Sense of Scale: How Big Is a Billion?

September 14, 2015
Lam Blog Staff |

We often hear there are over a billion transistors in a single microprocessor today, but how big is a billion? That number is so enormous that it’s hard to conceptualize. To put some perspective on this immense quantity, we share some different ways to visualize just how big a billion really is.

Learn more about the scale of semiconductor manufacturing in our blog articles “How High Is High?” and “How Small Is Small?


A billion sheets of standard copier paper, stacked, would be approximately 97 km high, reaching nearly into outer space.



A billion golf balls laid end-to-end would circle the earth.



A billion seconds ago, it was the year 1983.



A billion paperclips would weigh about as much as 200 African elephants.



If you watched cat videos 24 hours a day, with each video averaging 2 minutes, it would take 3,800 years to watch a billion cat videos.



A billion raindrops would fill approximately 50 bathtubs.



If you and 99 friends each ate 25 cookies a day, every day, it would take over 1,000 years to finish eating a billion cookies.




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