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154318.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:48 pm Reply with quote

An exabyte is equal to 1 billion gigabytes. That's pretty big.

It has been calculated that last year the world generated 161 exabytes of digital info. Only 185 exabytes of storage were available last year, so if we didn't delete stuff as regularly as we do, there'd be nowhere to put new and exciting digital files.

(incidentally, the next thing we'll hit is the zettabyte, which is 1000 exabytes)

154326.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:26 pm Reply with quote

Is an exabyte in fact a billion gigabytes, or is it 2^30 gigabytes - I was given to understand that the so-called powers of ten were actually powers of two (a kilobyte is 1,024 bytes, a megabyte 1,024 kilobytes, and so on).

Or is this an old fashioned way of working which is no longer used?

154334.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:54 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:

Or is this an old fashioned way of working which is no longer used?

I think nowadays (and what a great word that is) the "consumer gig" is the one usually used. The kid of gigabytes whereby my "160gb" drive is 157,001,140,544 bytes.

154365.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:35 pm Reply with quote

It depends. If it's RAM, the prefix denotes multiplication by a power of 2 because the most convenient capacities of RAM chips are powers of 2. Thus a 1GB RAM card has a capacity of 2^30=1073741824 bytes. Storage devices such as hard disks are not constrained in this way. Accordingly, the manufacturers are now using "gigabyte" to mean "1000000000 bytes", thus taking the opportunity to diddle us out of about 7.4% of the space we think we're buying.


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