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Guides: Storage Capacity and File Size

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We’ve all heard of kilobytes and gigabytes, but what do they mean?

Storage capacity and file sizes can be confusing, but with our simple guide, we’ll be able to help you understand the difference.

Both file size and storage can be measured in the same way and are written from lowest to highest below, along with their abbreviated form:

bits b
bytes B
kilobytes KB
megabytes MB
gigabytes GB
terabytes TB
petabytes PB

But when comparing sizes with each other this is where is can become a little more confusing:

Size Equal to
8 bits 1 byte
1024 bytes 1 kilobyte
1024 kilobytes 1 megabyte
1024 megabytes 1 gigabyte
1024 gigabytes 1 terabyte
1024 terabytes 1 petabyte

In most cases a storage device’s capacity or file size will be written in it’s simplest form, so will state 1 gigabyte rather than 1024 megabytes, although they are both the same.

When transferring files via email or even storing them on a memory stick, you can expect the following items to be the following sizes (compressed):

File File Size
Photo 3MB
Song 5MB
Film 700MB

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