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Title: Terabyte  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of unusual units of measurement, IMac, Petabyte, Tebibyte, Next3
Collection: Units of Information
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Multiples of bytes
Value Metric
1000 kB kilobyte
10002 MB megabyte
10003 GB gigabyte
10004 TB terabyte
10005 PB petabyte
10006 EB exabyte
10007 ZB zettabyte
10008 YB yottabyte
1024 KB kilobyte KiB kibibyte
10242 MB megabyte MiB mebibyte
10243 GB gigabyte GiB gibibyte
10244 - - TiB tebibyte
10245 - - PiB pebibyte
10246 - - EiB exbibyte
10247 - - ZiB zebibyte
10248 - - YiB yobibyte
Orders of magnitude of data

The terabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix tera represents the fourth power of 1000, and means 1012 in the International System of Units (SI), and therefore one terabyte is one trillion (short scale) bytes. The unit symbol for the terabyte is TB.

1 TB = 1000000000000bytes = 1012bytes = 1000gigabytes.

A related unit, the tebibyte (TiB), using a binary prefix, is the corresponding 4th power of 1024. One terabyte is about 0.9095 tebibytes, or 931 gibibytes.


  • History 1
  • Costs 2
  • Illustrative usage examples 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


The first hard disk drives were created in the 1950s and 1960s and were the size of a refrigerator,[1][2] with a capacity of a few megabytes. In 1982, the first IBM PC with a hard disk drive was released, and had a capacity of 5 megabytes.[3] The first single hard disks of terabyte size appeared in the late 2000s. As of 2014, 1 terabyte solid state drives use an mSATA form factor.[4]

  • 2007: First 1 terabyte (≈0.9095 TiB)[5] hard drive[6] (Hitachi GST)
  • 2008: First 1.5 terabyte (≈1.3642 TiB)[5] hard drive[7] (Seagate)
  • 2009: First 2 terabyte internal 3.5″ hard drive.[8][9][10] (Western Digital)
  • 2010: First >1 terabyte, 1.5 terabyte (≈1.3642 TiB) commercial tape system[11]
  • 2011: First 4 terabyte drive (Hitachi)[12][13]
  • 2012: First 1 terabyte USB flash drive, sold by Victorinox.[14]
  • 2013: First 6 terabyte drive (HGST Western Digital), filled with helium[15]


In 1991, consumer grade, 1 gigabyte (1/1000 TB) disk drives were available for US$2699 and more,[16] and two years later prices for this capacity had dropped to US$1499.[17] By 1995, 1 GB drives could be purchased for US$849.[18]

  • 2007: 1 terabyte hard disk costs US$375
  • 2010: 2 terabyte hard disk costs US$200
  • 2012: 4 terabyte hard disk US$450 (Hitachi, largest available in consumer market), 1 terabyte hard disk US$100
  • 2013: 4 terabyte hard disk US$179, 3 terabyte hard disk $129, 2 terabyte hard disk $100, 1 terabyte hard disk US$80
  • 2014: 4 terabyte hard disk US$150, 3 terabyte hard disk $129, 2 terabyte hard disk $90, 1 terabyte hard disk US$60

Illustrative usage examples

Examples of the use of terabyte to describe data sizes in different fields are:

  • Library data: The U.S. Library of Congress Web Capture team claims that "as of March 2014, the Library has collected about 525 terabytes of web archive data" and that it adds about 5 terabytes per month.[19]
  • Online databases: claims approximately 600 TB of genealogical data with the inclusion of US Census data from 1790 to 1930.[20]
  • Computer hardware: Hitachi introduced the world's first one terabyte hard disk drive in 2007.[21]
  • Historical Internet traffic: In 1993, total Internet traffic amounted to approximately 100 TB for the year.[22] As of June 2008, Cisco Systems estimated Internet traffic at 160 TB/s (which, assuming to be statistically constant, comes to 5 zettabytes for the year).[23] In other words, the amount of Internet traffic per second in 2008 exceeded all of the Internet traffic in 1993.
  • Social networks: As of May 2009, Yahoo! Groups had "40 terabytes of data to index".[24]
  • Video: Released in 2009, the 3D animated film Monsters vs. Aliens used 100 TB of storage during development.[25]
  • Usenet: In October 2000, the Deja News Usenet archive had stored over 500 million Usenet messages which used 1.5 TB of storage.[26]
  • Encyclopedia: In January 2010, the data base of WorldHeritage consists of a 5.87 terabyte SQL dataset.[27]
  • Climate science: In 2010, the German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ) was generating 10,000 TB of data per year, from a supercomputer with a 20 TB memory and 7,000 TB disk space.[28]
  • Audio: One terabyte of audio recorded at CD quality contains approx. 2000 hours of audio. Additionally, one terabyte of compressed audio recorded at 128 kB/s contains approx. 17,000 hours of audio.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has collected more than 45 terabytes of data in its first 20 years of observations.[29]
  • The IBM computer Watson, against which Jeopardy! contestants competed in February 2011, has 16 terabytes of RAM.[30]

See also


  1. ^ "Computer History Museum | Timeline of Computer History : Storage Entries". Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  2. ^ "IBM 305 RAMAC- The First Computer with a Hard Disk Drive in 1956". 1956-09-13. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Samsung Introduces Industry’s First 1 Terabyte mSATA SSD | Samsung Semiconductor Global Site" (Press release). Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  5. ^ a b "Convert terabytes (TB) to tebibytes (TiB) | Category : bits and bytes | Unit Conversion Center". Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  6. ^ Hitachi introduces 1-Terabyte Hard Drive
  7. ^ Seagate Powers Next Generation Of Computing With Three New Hard Drives, Including World's First 1.5-Terabyte Desktop PC And Half-Terabyte Notebook PC Hard Drives
  8. ^ [2] at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "WD to launch 2TB hard drive this week". Electronista. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  10. ^ Murph, Darren (2009-01-26). "Western Digital's 2TB Caviar Green HDD on sale in Australia". Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  11. ^ "The Linear Tape File System". 
  12. ^ "Hitachi 4 Terabyte HDD Price, Hitachi Touro Price [Hard Drives 2012]". Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  13. ^ "Drive advance fuels terabyte era". BBC News. 15 October 2007. 
  14. ^ "1TB USB stick shoved into Swiss Army knife". The Register. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  15. ^ "HGST Ships 6TB Ultrastar® He6 Helium-filled Drives for High-density, Massive Scale-out Data Center Environments | HGST Storage". 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  16. ^ "The High and the Mighty," Macworld, July, 1991
  17. ^ "1- and 2-Gigabyte Hard Drives", MacUser, July, 1993
  18. ^ Ivan Smith. "Cost of Hard Drive Space". Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  19. ^ How large is the Library's archive?, Web Archiving FAQs, accessed 7 April 2011.
  20. ^ " Adds U.S. Census Records". CBS News. 2006-06-22. 
  21. ^ "Hitachi Introduces 1-Terabyte Hard Drive". PC World. 2007-01-07. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  22. ^ Swanson, Bret (2007-10-03). "Discovery Institute's Technology Blog: An exabyte here, an exabyte there". disco-tech. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  23. ^ White, Bobby (2008-06-16). "Cisco Projects Growth To Swell for Online Video".  
  24. ^ "Yahoo! Groups Blog". 2009-05-09. 
  25. ^ IRENE THAM (2009-04-08). "Taking a monster shit; Massive computer power was needed to create the 3-D movie Monsters Vs Aliens.". The Straits Times. The 3-D movie used up close to 100 terabytes of disk space and more than 40 million hours of rendering. 
  26. ^ "Usenet Sale: Sounds to Silence?". 2000-10-25. Retrieved 2009-10-13. It's loaded with 500 million postings .... [and has] ballooned to over 1.5 terabytes 
  27. ^  
  28. ^ [3]
  29. ^ "NASA – NASA – The Hubble Story". 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  30. ^ "It’s Technical, Dear Watson – The "Jeopardy!" playing computer’s feeds and speeds". 2011-02-29. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
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