Bigger Bytes: Looking Beyond the Gigabyte

If you thought you knew enough about computers and could challenge any byte sizes, think again. How much do you know about data sizes … your hard disc is 60 Gigabytes, the supercomputer analyzed 2 terabytes of data in a short time … but what is beyond that?

  • 1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
  • 1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
  • 1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
  • 1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
  • 1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
  • 1000 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte
  • 1000 Exabytes = 1 Zettabyte
  • 1000 Zettabyte = 1 Zottabyte
  • 1000 Zottabyte = 1 Brontobyte – that is a 1 followed by 27 zeroes

Update: Now on a more accurate note…

In decimal systems, kilo stands for 1,000, but in binary systems, a kilo is 1,024 (2 to the 10th power). Technically, therefore, a kilobyte is 1,024 bytes, but it is often used loosely as a synonym for 1,000 bytes.

So ideally and more accurately, it should be like
1,024 Byte = 1 Kilobyte (KB)
1,024 Kilobyte (KB) = 1 Megabyte (MB)
1,073,741,824 Bytes = 1 Gigabyte (GB)
1 Gigabyte (GB) = 1,024 Megabyte (MB)

So every 1024 bytes, makes one kilobyte. But for all practical purposes and for simplicity we are going to round to 1000 so that we can do the math in our heads.

In computer literature, kilobyte is usually abbreviated as K or Kb. To distinguish between a decimal K (1,000) and a binary K (1,024), the IEEE has suggested following the convention of using a small k for a decimal kilo and a capital K for a binary kilo, but this convention is by no means strictly followed.