Topics / Data Storage / Data Storage Capacity

Data Storage Capacity

Data storage capacity is the measurement of how much data can be stored in a storage device.

Bits and bytes

Data storage capacities are measured in bytes, where each byte is actually a pattern of 8 bits.

1 byte = 8 bits (e.g. 10011011)

Each bit is represented by either a 1 or a 0 (on or off), also known as binary code.

1 byte can hold 1 character of data, e.g. “p” is 1 byte.

As technology improves, it is becoming cheaper to achieve higher data storage capacities.

Data storage capacities

Name Number of bytes Denary value Context
1 kilobyte (1 KB) 2^10 1 024 bytes A few paragraphs of text
1 megabyte (1 MB) 2^20 1 048 576 bytes 4 books of text
1 gigabyte (1 GB) 2^30 1 073 741 824 bytes 4,400 books, or 256 MP3 audio files
1 terabyte (1 TB) 2^40 1 099 511 627 776 bytes 233 DVDs, or 260,000 MP3 audio files
1 petabyte (1 PB) 2^50 1 125 899 906 842 624 bytes 40,000 Blu-ray discs, or 268,400,000 MP3 audio files

Each unit of measurement is 1024 times bigger than the unit before it.

Topics / Data Storage / Data Storage Capacity