Memory Sizes Explained: Gigabytes, Terabytes, and Petabytes

If you’re using a computer, you might be familiar with the names that are applied to memory sizes of storage devices. You might be using 8-gigabyte memory card or a 2 terabyte SSD drive, and the terms you hear and read are random.

But, do you know how a gigabyte, terabytes, and petabytes are different from each other? We first proceed to the definition of a byte.  

What Does A Byte Mean?

A byte is composed of binary digits. A single binary digit could be 1 or 0 that the old computers pertain to a switch that’s either on or off.  You can see computers that have bytes of different lengths.  Today, computers have 8 binary digits. 

The byte is termed as the smallest data unit, and other large units have 8 numbers of bytes.  One of the essential things you have to remember is the high bytes all have fixed byte digits.

Gigabyte 

The metric system says that Giga means the unit that measures 1,000,000,000. But, take note: Giga needs to have binary factors of 2’s account so that it’s represented to the computer binary system.   

Thus, we should go to 2^30 so that we could get the first number that’s over 1 billion that is – 1, 073,741,824 bytes.

Now, you already know that a kilobyte equals to 1, 024 bytes. If we focus on single gigabyte, you would see that the single Gigabyte can store up 230 music tracks and 600 photos. You save an hour and a half m movie on one gigabyte.

Terabyte

Tera is the prefix we use for trillion.  A single terabyte or TB is equal to 1024 gigabytes.  You can find terabytes in modern hard drives that can store large information.  

During the past years, computer manufacturers began to introduce new computers that have 1 or 2 terabytes drives. If you’re the user of the drive, it would be difficult for you to fill the hard drive unless it has many hours of HD videos.

Today, you can see that the hard drives today can store trillions of bytes.  That’s a large storage if you need to store 217 DVD movies on the hard drive.

Petabyte

The petabyte is the measurement unit for the quadrillion. Since its 1,000 units are 1 trillion, you can determine that a single petabyte is equaled to 1,024 bytes. So, you have 1 quadrillion bytes.

You might think that petabyte couldn’t be used in computer systems. You think again. The petabyte could be applicable in modern applications such as the following:

  • Google processes 24 petabytes of info each day. 
  • The mobile phone networks can transmit 20 petabytes to and from different users each day.
  • The US Library of Congress has 7 petabytes of data stored in its archive. 
  • The World of Craft servers needs 1 petabyte for it to run its online game. 

The petabyte scale is hard for you to imagine.  But once you think about the scenarios above. You would determine how the petabytes are used. 

Now, that you have the idea about a gigabyte, terabytes, and petabytes, it’s easy for you to determine storage you use on your PC or device.