Mar 18, 2011

Bytes in Perspective

Below is the sequence of names for describing digital information - Think of a byte as a letter or number, such as 1 or T.  A kilobyte is exactly1,024 bytes, but common usage rounds it to a thousand. One page of text is about one kilobyte.

Here are some more comparisons to give you a sense of scale - A terabyte is roughly a trillion bytes and our national debt is measured in trillions of dollars. One terabyte can hold about 3.6 million images or about 300 hours of good quality video. A terabyte can hold 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Ten terabytes can hold the total printed collection of the Library of Congress. We are adding about a terabyte of information to the internet roughly every minute of every day.

kilobyte (kB)     103
megabyte (MB) 106
gigabyte (GB)   109
terabyte (TB)    1012
petabyte (PB)   1015
exabyte (EB)     1018
zettabyte (ZB)   1021     
yottabyte           1024

There are more names going up to ten to the 63rd power, but only those above have so far been approved. I have a friend who is so old, he remembers plain old bytes, now we have moved from Kilobytes to Exabytes. Hope to be around for the Yottabyte revolution.