Data Storage Units

Is 1 TB exactly equal to 1024 GB or 1000 GB ? Plus I’ve seen some places that 1 GB is equal to 1000 GB, but I’ve learnt that it is equal to 1024 GB.

Tera here is a prefix while Byte is the Base unit. 1TB is equal to 2^10 (two to the power ten) Gigabytes which is 1024GBs.

In the IT industry 1TB = 1099511627776 (2^50) Byets. Here base 2 is used because in IT it’s easy to stuff with Binary system.

But in physics we learn tera is x1000000000000 (10^12) of the base unit. Thats where the confusion comes.

If the above explanation is confusing just remember in IT 1TB is equal to 2^10 (two to the power ten) Gigabytes which is 1024GBs.

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It is confusing and it all depends on whether or not by GB you mean GiBIbytes or GiGAbytes

Notice the two slightly different names. The main problem regarding this came about for two reasons - 1 was because more non-programmers started using computers and 2 was because things like memory and hard drives got bigger.

Programmers have always accepted the fact that computers work in binary, and therefore each unit is equal to a double of the previous unit i.e. 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256,512,1024 but people who don’t do programming usually do maths in decimal and in decimal each unit goes up in 10s i.e. 1,10,100,1000…

Because computers go up in binary this is also why many bits of computer technology also go up in binary but it appears unusual for example the Commodore 64 had 64k ram but why not make it 50 or 100k, and the same with the ZX Spectrum that was actually quite an unusual 48k because 32 + 16 = 48 (32 and 16 both being binary numbers). Also chip bits have also always gone up in binary 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit and 64-bit next stop is 128-bit.

Likewise spacing on hard drives and memory has also always gone up in binary - 1 bit is the smallest form of data 4 bits is one hexadecimal character (1111 binary = F hex = 16 dec), 8 bits or 2 hex characters is one byte, 1024 bytes is 1 kilobyte, 1024 kilobytes is 1MB and this was always accepted with programmers as that is the way it was, the only slight problem with this is that hard drive space itself is done to a decimal base not a binary base, therefore if you had something that vwas advertised as a 1GB hard drive, you would actually find out you only had 931MB of storage not 1GB (and actually when you also remove space for FAT tables and system files and the way files are stored it’s quite often a little bit smaller than that). Ok so who really cares about 70MB it’s hardly the biggest loss in the world - 5 MP3s maybe? The bigger problem came though when hard drives got even bigger. Just think about a 1TB drive which is actually 931 Gibibytes now your missing a whopping 70GiB of data! That’s like nearly 3 25Gb BD-ROMs of data, and actually if we’re talking about Tebibytes the size difference is 102GiB

So to sort the problem out there are now different size definitions, anything with a Bi in it generally refers to the binary version which goes up in multiples of 1024 kibibytes, mebibytes, gibibytes, tebibytes and the other definitions which go up in multiples of 10 and are referred to as kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte although some of the earlier definitions can cause confusion to older programmers as until the change kilobytes and megabytes used to be referred to in 1024 multiples. Also shorthand generally a binary version will have a lower case i added (KiB, MiB, GiB, TiB, etc), and then we also have phone speeds which are measured in megabits not megabytes which is even more confusing!


you mean, since the computer can only understand the binary number system, 1 TB equals 1024 GB according to the binary system, right?

so in the decimal number system, it is equal to 1000 GB, right? Uhhh, there is a lot to take into my childish brain, thanks a lot @evilexecutor & @thimiraonline

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Endless gratitude :innocent:

To be more specific as per SI tera is equal to x10^3 of giga which is 1000 but less likely seen in IT.

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Actually 1TB = 1024GB according to power of 2, But storage device makers use 1000GB.