Petabyte, tetrabyte, megabyte… Understand everything about data size

500 viga bytes, 2 mega bytes, 1 petra byte… It is easy to get lost between the different data sizes. Here is a small recap to see more clearly.

In computing, the size of a file is measured according to the amount of data it contains or the space it consumes on a storage space. By definition, a byte measures the weight of a file on the memory on which it is written.

Only problem, the byte is a unit of very small size. For clarity, many files will be expressed in kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), and gigabytes (GB). As you will have understood, the unit of measurement in computing is the byte, which has several variants.

Millions of bytes are called Mega and billions Giga. In figures, 1 kilobyte (KB) therefore corresponds to 1000 bytes, 1024 more precisely. However, for convenience, we often use rounding.

In summary, 1000 bytes equals 1 KB, 1000 KB equals 1 MB, 1000 MB equals 1 GB, and 1000 GB equals 1 TB.

An adaptation for each type of file

First of all, depending on the type of file, the size is not indicated in the same way. These are in fact differences of order of magnitude. In general, that of word processing and spreadsheet type documents without images is indicated in Kilo bytes (KB), that of photos taken with telephones or digital cameras in Mega bytes (MB) and that of videos in Giga bytes ( GB).

By way of illustration, music in MP3 format weighs around 4 MB, a text file in Word 50 KB and a video up to 700 MB for a two-hour film in mp4 format. Note that the weight of the images depends on their resolution. For example, photos in uncompressed format, so Raw, are much heavier than those taken with a phone. Same thing for videos. Little trick, in general, to know the size of a file, just right click and select “Properties”. The size is indicated in the “General” section.

Indications on memory media follow the same logic. The size of RAM memory and USB keys is often indicated in Giga bytes and that of hard disks in GB or Tetra bytes (TB).

Bytes and Bits

On some hard drives, you can read “250 GB”, to translate as “250 Giga bits”. But then, what is the difference between a bit and a byte?

In reality, this is also only an order of magnitude. A bit is a digit in the binary system. So either a 0 or a 1. The byte is a byte of bits and 8 bits correspond to a byte. In other words, just multiply the amount of bytes by 8 to find the amount of bits.

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