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Thursday, October 18th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms

Can you give us some information on what a terabyte is? I’ve heard it mentioned a couple times in some of the online articles I read, but I don’t know too much about it. Please fill us in!

Ah, yes, the terabyte. I’m actually a little surprised that none of you have asked about this before. The term has been around for awhile, but I think it’s just now starting to emerge and more and more people are hearing about it everyday. Plus, it might just be the next big thing! So, whether you have heard of a terabyte or you haven’t, you’re definitely going to want to listen up. It’s some pretty interesting information. Here we go!

Let’s begin with a brief definition: A terabyte is a term used to measure data storage capacity for computers. It goes right along with the megabyte and gigabyte terms you are so familiar with already. So, how does it stack up next to those? Well, a terabyte is basically 1,000 gigabytes. In other words, 1 TB = 1,000 GB. If you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s a lot of storage space! Just when we thought a GB was a ton of space, we now have the TB to think about. How cool is that?!

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Why would I need that much space?” Well, it really all depends on what you use your computer for, but let’s check out some examples of when the extra room just might come in handy. For starters, I found this really cool comparison on Bob Rankin’s Web site (he’s another computer guru). He said that 1 GB of memory is equivalent to 500,000 pieces of computer paper or approximately one pickup truck full of books. On the other hand, 1 TB is like a thousand librarians driving their own Ford F150 filled with literature. Isn’t it crazy to think you could actually have that much memory on your computer?!

And what about music players and other digital devices? Well, as of right now, you can get an iPod with about 160 GB on it, which holds approximately 40,000 songs. While that’s a huge amount, you would need six of those iPods to equal 1 TB. Just one terabyte can hold up to a quarter-million songs. Heck, with that amount of storage space, you could save almost 300 full length movies on your media player. That just blows my mind!

Like I said before, terabyte hard drives have been around for awhile, but so far, it looks as if only large companies, some universities, hospitals and military institutions have started using them. Those kinds of places tend to store large amounts of data, so it makes sense for them, but do you really need a TB hard drive for your computer? Well, again, it all depends on what you do on your computer. If you’re a big gamer or if you work a lot with multimedia files, the extra space could come in handy for you. You probably find that your gigs of space fill up pretty fast, so a TB may be just what you need.

On the other hand, if you just use your computer for ordinary daily tasks, you should be fine with the amount you have right now. For example, if you only use your computer to check your e-mail, visit a couple Web sites, play a few games online, etc., you won’t need as much space as a TB offers. Now, for those of you who think you may need more than one TB, that’s an option too. For instance, if you’re big into videography or if you design a lot of Web sites, you may need even more space. As with everything, there are several instances where a TB can prove to be very useful, but it just may not be for everyone.

It probably won’t be much longer before computer manufacturers are offering terabyte computers as a standard model. We all know that technology moves very quickly in this day and age, so you will probably start seeing this kind of thing on the shelves soon. Now, as far as pricing goes, there shouldn’t be too much of a change in that area. As it stands right now, it looks like most gigs are sold at $.50 per gig and the terabyte is going to go for about $.33 per unit. There is one terabyte drive available right now through TigerDirect for $329 if you’re interested in checking it out. Of course, those prices are sure to come down within a few months, so if you’re not in desperate need of more memory right away, I would definitely wait for a price decrease.

So, as you can see, the terabyte mania has already begun! It is a pretty cool concept to think you could actually have that much space on one computer, don’t you agree? So, tell me, what would you do with a terabyte? That will give you something to think about. The possibilities are endless!

~ Erin

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