What Does Terabyte Mean?

A terabyte (TB) is a unit of digital information storage used to denote the size of data. It is equivalent to 1,000 gigabytes, or 1,000,000,000,000 bytes, using the SI standard.


Techopedia Explains Terabyte

The prefix “tera” of terabyte is part of the SI or International System of Units, and means 1012. Hard disk manufacturers label their products in SI, which may confuse some people in the IT field. The ISO, IEEE and the IEC all recommend using the unit tebibyte, which is more accurate for the measure of bytes signifying 1,0244 bytes.

Two interpretations can be made using the two standards:

  • Using SI, one terabyte is equivalent to 1,000 gigabytes or 1012 bytes
  • Using traditional binary measurement, one terabyte is equivalent to 1,099,511,627,776 bytes, that’s 240, or 10244, bytes, also equivalent to 1 tebibyte (TiB)

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…