Gigabyte

A gigabyte is a measurement of data, used to describe file size and storage amounts. It is abbreviated as GB.

A gigabyte equals 2 to the 30th power (1,073,741,824) bytes. A gigabyte equals 1,024 megabytes (or 1,000, depending on the school of measurement). It measures the amount of data in files that cross the public Internet, private company intranets, local area networks, and wireless telecommunication networks.

Bytes (kilobytes, megabytes, or gigabytes) measure the data size of files:

  • Documents
  • Videos
  • Photos. The file size of photos depends partly on the number of pixels, which are light and color units within graphical images.

GB/s is generally considered a fast data processing rate: for example, solid state drives hold data storage in persistent memory and ideally have read and write speeds between 2 and 7 GB/s. This means that 2-7 gigabytes’ worth of data can be processed each second. However, ideal data transfer rates will change rapidly as technology advances. Telecommunication companies and other professionals researching 6G (the sixth generation of cellular networks) are already talking about terabytes, which equal a thousand gigabytes.

Difference between gigabytes and gigabits

The difference between a gigabyte and gigabit is what they measure. A gigabyte typically refers to file size or data storage amounts. A gigabit measures the rate at which data travels across networks. A gigabit equals one billion bits, or 109. A bit is a unit in binary computer code, either a 0 or a 1. There are eight bits in a byte.

The rate of data transfer is typically measured in gigabits per second (Gbps or Gb/s).

How many files are in a gigabyte?

The number of files in one gigabyte varies by file type, size, and resolution. The following estimates are very broad but give an indication of the number of files that one gig can store:

  • The number of documents, such as a Word file, depends on page length but can range from 2 to 10,000 or more.
  • Video minutes in a gigabyte commonly range from 1.5-3.5 minutes, depending on the video resolution or compression.
  • The number of images in one gigabyte can range from 1 to more than 1000, based on the images’ dimensions and resolution. Image size and resolution also affect file size.
  • Audio files vary in length, but a gigabyte storing average pop songs could contain 250-350 pieces of music. Longer songs or podcasts take up more space.

 

Related Links

How Many Songs Does a Gigabyte of Storage Hold?

 

This article was updated April 2021 by Jenna Phipps.

Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

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