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How Big is a Terabyte?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms

Ron from Siler City NC recently wrote in asking about a terabyte… specifically his new computer has its memory (storage) listed in terabytes and he’d like to have a sense of just how much he’s purchased.

It’s a good question, and a terabyte isn’t something that’s a common term to many people, so it’s worth a look.

Years and years ago we started talking in terms of bytes (a single character) and kilobytes (1024 bytes).

Then we were on to megabytes which is 1024 kilobytes.

Next came gigabytes or the equivalent of 1024 megabytes. (We’re over 1 million kilobytes at this point!)

Now we’re seeing terabytes when it comes to our computer storage which is, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, 1024 gigabytes – more than 1 billion kilobytes.

Let’s put it another way… if 1 page of text is approximately 2KB then there are approximately 500 pages in a megabyte. This leads us to over 500,000 pages of text in a gigabyte and more than 500,000,000 pages of text.

That’s what I call a LOT of storage space!

~ April


11 Responses to “How Big is a Terabyte?”

  1. stephen gonsalves says:

    OKay, but in this day of tech how many movies, all the disney movies ever made or all the books in the Library of Congress? How many hours or days of video?

  2. Ather says:

    Actually, a Terabyte is a Trillion Bytes. A Gigabyte is a Billion Bytes. A Megabyte is a Million bytes. A Kilobyte is a Thousand bytes. A Byte is 8 Bits. A Bit is one unit of storage. So, yes a Teravbyte is 1024 Gigabytes. But that puts you over a Trillion, not a Billion. 1,000 Billions is a Trillion. 1,000 KIlos is a Million, and so on and so forth.

  3. Joanie says:


  4. darlene jones says:

    I actually had a heartbeat skip when I read “Last Newsletter”! How do I begin 2 tell u how much this newsletter has meant 2 a 55tr old grandma who knows NOTHING abt computers! U made me feel like I could, & most times, did, do it all! This is also rather new…commenting on a newsletter…favorably! Thanks Steve, Anne, & crew 4 all that u do & offer!

  5. ron says:

    yah-bud …
    Translating and explaining what Ather said …
    It is almost certain the question is about Hard Drive “memory” rather than RAM memory. HD builders do not count in binary, they count decimal so 2TB of HD = 1000 bytes = 1KB x1000 = 1 MB X 1000 = 1 GB x 1000 = 1 TB X 2 = 2,000,000,000,000 bytes. That is SUBSTANTIALLY less than 2 TB binary

    1,099,511,627,776 bytes = 1 tb binary.

    The difference between 2tb decimal and 2tb binary is 185.4 GB. THAT is significant!

  6. Marilyn says:

    I always wondered what a Terabyte was, I knew it meant a lot of memory but didn’t realize how much..I appreciate the information..

  7. Eldrridge says:

    excellent explantion

  8. stephen gonsalves says:

    I still say get real. How many copies of the star wars series or how many hours of youtube video.

  9. Curtis says:

    Great tip

  10. Mike B. says:

    Hard Drive capacity is not “memory”. April seems more confused than I am.

  11. Phil B. says:

    2-500 GB HD`s = 1 terabyte…………. 4-500 GB hd`s = 2 terabytes 😉

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