Data Size Matters
Most people understand the relative size of their digital files. That report you just saved is 318 kilobytes (kB); those vacation photos tally 750 megabytes (MB); your new iPod holds 20 gigabytes (GB) of music. When data sets start to grow, however, their sizes become more difficult to explain. How much does a terabyte (TB) hold? How many DVDs would it take to reach a zettabyte? And what on earth is a yottabyte?
Hard drive capacity has increased 50-million-fold since 1956. It took 26 years to create a 1 GB hard drive, but between 2007 and 2011, hard drives quadrupled in size from 1 TB to 4 TB. Within the next ten years, 20 TB hard drives may even become commonplace.
In this infographic, datascience@berkeley has collected some real-life examples to help explain the scope of data. We’ve also provided a timeline of hard drive innovation and a glimpse at where the data storage industry is heading. Feel free to share, because after all…Data Size Matters.
In a world of digital storage, size does matter, but it can be hard to wrap our minds around what each file size really means. Here are some real-life examples:
From Bits To Yottabytes
- Single Binary Digit (1 or 0)
- 8 bits
- 1 Byte = One character
- 10 Bytes = One word
- Kilobyte (kB)
- 1000 bytes
- 1 Kilobyte = Short paragraph
- 100 Kilobytes = Low-resolution photograph
- 2 Kilobytes = Typewritten page
- Megabyte (MB)
- 1,000 Kilobytes
- 1 Megabyte = Short novel
- 2 Megabytes = High-resolution photograph
- 5 Megabytes = Complete works of Shakespeare
- 10 Megabytes = Digital Chest X-ray
- 100 Megabytes = Two encyclopedia volumes
- 700 Megabytes = CD-ROM
- Gigabyte (GB)
- 1,000 Megabytes
- 1 Gigabyte = 7 minutes of HD-TV Video
- 4.7 Gigabytes = Size of a standard DVD-R
- 20 Gigabytes = Audio set of the works of Beethoven
- 100 Gigabytes = Library floor of academic journals
- Terabyte (TB)
- 1,000 Gigabytes
- 1 Terabyte = 50,000 trees made into paper and printed
- 10 Terabytes = Printed collection of the U.S. Library of Congress
- Petabyte (PB)
- 1,000 Terabytes
- 1 Petabyte = 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with text
- 1.5 Petabytes = All 10 billion photos on Facebook
- 20 Petabytes = Daily amount of data processed by Google
- 50 Petabytes = Entire written works of mankind, from the beginning of recorded history, in all languages
- Exabyte (EB)
- 1,000 Petabytes
- 1 Exabyte = entire Netflix catalog streamed more than 3,000 times
- 5 Exabyte = All the words ever spoken by mankind
- Zettabyte (ZB)
- 1,000 Exabytes
- 1 Zettabyte = 250 Billion DVDs
- Yottabyte (YB)
- 1,000 Zettabytes
- 1 Yottabyte = Size of the entire World Wide Web; it would take approximately 11 trillion years to download a Yottabyte file from the Internet using high-power broadband.
History of the Hard Drive
Hard drives have increased 50-million-fold in the density of information they can hold since their introduction in 1956:
- IBM 305 RAMAC - the first hard drive.
- Holds 5 MB of data
- Weighs 1 ton
- Costs per megabyte - $10,000
- Size of two refrigerators
- IBM 1311 - the first removable hard drive.
- IBM 3380 - the first gigabyte hard drive.
- Holds 1 GB of data
- Costs $40,000
- Hewlett-Packard C3013A Kitty Hawk - the first to break the 2GB barrier.
- IBM Deskstar 16GP Titan - the first drie to use GMR (giant magnetoresistive) heads.
- IBM Microdrive - the smallest-sized hard drive to date.
- Toshiba MK2001MTN - the first 0.85 - inch hard drive.
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
- Hitachi GST Deskstar 7k10000 - the first hard drive to break the 1 TB capacity mark.
- All three major hard drive makers - Seagate, Western Digital, and Toshiba - start shipping 4 TB hard drives.
- Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD - 500 GB for tablets
- Holds 500 GB
- Size 2.5 Inches
- ADATA DashDrive Air AE800 - a 500 GB wireless hard drive/ hotspot/ power bank for multiple mobile devices.
The Future of the Hard Drive
As the need for high-capacity storage increases, scientists are trying to find ways to fit more hard drive platters into the same space, increasing the amount of information that can be stored on a single drive.
New Hard Drive Technologies
- Helium-Filled Drives
- Removes the friction and fluttering of platters as they spin at high speed , allowing drives to fit more platters in a given space.
- Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR)
- The tracks of a drive overlap like shingles on a roof, allowing hard drive to have more tracks (and thus, more data).
- Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR)
- Allows data to be written more compactly by raising the temperature of the material that can be read by a magnetic field.
2013 - Western Digital experiments with helium-filled drives, which could offer a capacity of 5.6 TB.
2014 - Seagate’s SMR technology is predicted to allow hard drives to reach capacities of 5 TB.
2020 - Seagate’s HAMR technology is predicted to allow hard drives to reach capacities of 20 TB.
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