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A single request unit represents the processing capacity required to read (via self link or id) a single 1 KB item consisting of 10 unique property values (excluding system properties).A request to create (insert), replace or delete the same item will consume more processing from the service and thereby more request units.
It is in fact better to have more distinct partition key values than less, as Azure Cosmos DB has more load balancing options. For example, if you write data to one region, and read data from another region, the RUs used to perform the write operation in region A do not take away from the RUs used for the read operation in region B.
The number of request units for an operation is deterministic, and you can track the number of request units consumed by any operation in Azure Cosmos DB via a response header.