Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes… What Are They?
These terms are usually used in the world of computing to describe disk space, or data storage space, and system memory.
- 1 Bit = Binary Digit
- 4 Bits =1 Nibble
- 8 Bits = 1 Byte
- 1024 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
- 1024 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
- 1024 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
- 1024 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
- 1024 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
- 1024 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte
- 1024 Exabytes = 1 Zettabyte
- 1024 Zettabytes = 1 Yottabyte
- 1024 Yottabytes = 1 Brontobyte
- 1024 Brontobytes = 1 Geopbyte
- 1024 Geopbytes = 1 Saganbyte
- 1024 Geopbytes = 1 Epic Byte
Now let’s go into a little more detail Using Mr. Raymond’s definition:.
Bit: A Bit is the smallest unit of data that a computer uses. It can be used to represent two states of information, such as Yes or No. The computer sees this value as either 1 (Yes, or On) or 0 (No or Off). Notation is always a lower case b.
Byte: A Byte is equal to 8 bits, or 28. A Byte represent 256 states of information (2 x 2 = 4 x 2 = 8 x 2 = 16 x 2 = 32 x 2 = 64 x 22 = 256), or another way to look at this is 256 different combinations of bits in a Byte. Each one of these combinations could be equal to a different number, letter or symbol. Notation is always an upper case B. = 128 x
Kilobyte: A Kilobyte is 1,024 Bytes. 1 Kilobyte would be about equal to several of these paragraphs you are reading, whereas 10 Kilobytes would be about equal an entire page. Notation is always an upper case KB.
Megabyte: A Megabyte is 1,024 KB. In the early days of computing, a Megabyte (MB) was considered to be a large amount of data. These days with a 500 Gigabyte hard drive on a computer being common, a Megabyte doesn’t seem like much anymore. One of those old 3-1/2 inch floppy disks can hold 1.44 Megabytes or the equivalent of a small book. 100 MB might hold a couple volumes of Encyclopedias. 800 MB is about the amount of data that will fit on a CD-ROM disk. Notation is always an upper case MB.
Gigabyte: A Gigabyte is 1,024 MB. With its notation always an upper case GB, a GB is a very common term used these days when referring to disk space or drive storage. 1 GB of data is about 125% the amount of data that a CD-ROM can hold. But it’s about one thousand times the capacity of a 3-1/2 floppy disk. 1 GB could hold the contents of about 10 yards of books on a shelf. 100 GB could hold the entire library floor of academic journals.
Terabyte: A Terabyte (TB) is approximately one trillion bytes, or 1,024 GB. Now we are getting up there to a size that is so large that it is not a common term yet. To put it in some perspective, 1 TB could hold about 3.6 million 300 KB images or maybe about 300 hours of good quality video. A single TB could hold 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. 10 TB could hold the printed collection of the Library of Congress. That’s a lot of data.
Petabyte: A Petabyte (PB) is 1,024 TB or 1024 x 1024 GB or 1,048,576 GB. It’s hard to visualize what a PB could hold. 1 PB could hold approximately 20 million 4-drawer filing cabinets full of text. It could hold 500 billion pages of standard printed text. It would take over 500 million floppy disks to store the same amount of data.
Exabyte: An Exabyte (EB) is 1,024 PB. See the pattern yet? Another way to look at it is that 1PB is equal to 1,073,741,824 GB. There is not much to compare an EB to. It has been said that 5 EB would be equal to all of the words ever spoken by mankind.
Zettabyte: A Zettabyte (ZB) is 1,024 EB. There is nothing to compare a ZB to, except to say that it would take a whole lot of ones and zeroes to fill it up.
Yottabyte: A Yottabyte (YB) is 1,024 ZB. It would take approximately 11 trillion years to download a YB file from the Internet using high-power broadband. You can compare it to the World Wide Web as the entire Internet almost takes up a YB.
Brontobyte: A Brontobyte (BB) is 1,024 YB. The only thing there is to say about a Brontobyte is that it is a 1 followed by 27 zeroes (and change)!
Geopbyte: A Geopbyte is 1024 BB! Not sure why this term was created. I’m doubting that anyone alive today will ever see a Geopbyte hard drive. One way of looking at a geopbyte is 1,267 650,600 228,229 401,496 703,205,376 bytes!
Saganbyte: A Saganbyte is 1,024 Geopbytes. That’s at least another 3 zero’s on the tail end of a Geopbyte.