Pb (Petabyte) vs Gb (Gigabyte): Size and Difference Explained

Petabyte (PB) vs Gigabyte (BG)

Pb (Petabyte) vs Gb (Gigabyte): Size and Difference Explained

In 2016, Cisco reported digital traffic data of about 1.3 zettabytes for the year. It’s clear that our reliance on the internet has skyrocketed, and we’ll see larger file sizes become normalized as technology continues to advance. With that, it’s essential to understand how PB (petabyte) vs GB (gigabyte) stack up.

Considering big data applications such as the Internet of Things and cloud computing, we need large data metrics. However, those same metrics have hardly any use in daily life. So, which one is better? Continue reading to learn more about how we use petabytes and gigabytes.

PB (Petabyte) vs GB (Gigabyte): Side-by-Side Comparison

These two computational measurements have vastly different specs. Check out the chart below to learn how they compare.

Bytes1,125,899,906,842,580 (1e+15)1,073,741,824 (1e+9)
SymbolsPB, PiBGB, GiB
Followed ByTerabyteMegabyte
Common UsesIoT, cloud computingGaming, video, streaming

PB (Petabyte) vs GB (Gigabyte): 5 Must-Know Facts

  1. Petabytes use PB to represent its decimal notation and PiB for its binary notation. Similarly, gigabytes use GB for decimal and GiB for binary.
  2. A user can fit over 1 million gigabytes into a single petabyte. Using the binary measurement, a petabyte has exactly 1,048,576 gigabytes.
  3. We could fit every printed material in history within 200 PB. Comparatively, you can only fit about 30 feet of printed material into a gigabyte.
  4. Because of their size, petabytes see most of their use in big-data applications such as the Internet of Things and cloud computing.
  5. Gigabytes have more daily use, often associated with modern game downloads and HD streaming.

PB (Petabyte) vs GB (Gigabyte): What’s the Difference?

The side-by-side comparison gives a quick breakdown of how these two measurements differ. However, what do all those numbers really mean, and how do we use them? Let’s take a look at what PB (petabyte) vs GB (gigabyte) look like in real-world situations.

Petabyte Explained

In the digital world, we’re coming to a period where petabytes have practical applications. However, they’re still not commonplace, and there’s a wide gap between them and typical computing.

As the unit of measurement that follows the terabyte (TB), petabytes equate to more than a quadrillion bytes. To put that into reference, one of these units would equal about 500 billion pages of printed text.

starlink vs earthlink
Data generated by roaming IoT connections will reportedly increase from 86 petabytes in 2022 to 1,100 petabytes by 2027.


Let’s analyze them even further. As with all computing units, petabytes have a binary and decimal notation. For an absolute measurement, one PiB equals 1,125,899,906,842,580 bytes.

However, researchers often simplify this to decimal, which equals 1,000,000,000,000,000PB (or 1e+15). While the difference between the two measurements is over 125 terabytes, the number is less consequential when dealing with this much data.

Gigabyte Explained

When comparing file size metrics, you’ll find vastly more uses for gigabytes. Situated between terabytes (1,024GB) and megabytes (1/1024GB), this unit is significantly smaller than petabytes. Comparatively, you can fit 1,048,576 gigabytes into a petabyte. To understand this size in physical terms, one gigabyte equals about 30 feet of books on a shelf.

Similar to petabytes, gigabytes also have binary and metric notations. Measured exactly (the binary notation), this unit equals 1,073,741,824 bytes. To simplify, this number is rounded down to 1,000,000,000 bytes (or 1e+9). The difference here is only 73 million megabytes, but you’ll find this more significant due to their common use.

Petabyte: Real-World Examples

Internet of Things (IoT)

Some everyday objects have the ability to collect and analyze data regarding habits and commands. This allows them to facilitate typical tasks such as turning on lights and appliances, heating a room, or opening doors. Objects such as smartwatches, cameras, and even speakers can gather terabytes of data at a time. By 2025, experts expect IoT devices to collect 73.1 zettabytes (ZB).

Cloud Computing

With the massive influx of data comes the problem of where to store it; an estimated 175 ZB could need storage by 2025. This quickly evolving issue presents challenges to companies like Google. The search engine company is bolstering its cloud computing services, which can easily handle 100 PB archives. We’re looking forward to seeing how Google continues to expand its BigQuery platform.

Gigabyte: Real-World Examples


people playing ps5 games
500 GB of storage can hold anywhere from a few dozen to several hundred games.

©Rokas Tenys/Shutterstock.com

Anyone that owns a PlayStation 4 is familiar with the download size of some of the newest games for the platform. For example, Red Dead Redemption II requires 150 GB of storage, which can take hours to install in many cases.

However, once the game is installed, users expend less than 1 GB an hour while playing online. The storage requirements for gaming are definitely frontloaded, and smaller online games can prove surprisingly data-conscious.


You can’t say the same thing about streaming, however. If you’re simply downloading a video to watch offline, you can expect an HD file to range from about 2 GB to 4 GB. But if you’re using a streaming service like Netflix, you could use as much as 3 GB per hour. For a two-hour movie, you’ll expend more data while streaming than you would by downloading.

PB (Petabyte) vs GB (Gigabyte): Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

When comparing PB (petabyte) vs GB (gigabyte), the two measurements have vastly different purposes. The former starts to break into big data and quantum computing, while the latter has more everyday use. So, how do we decide which one is better?

For companies serving a wide consumer base, having larger storage capacities can expand commercial opportunities. In these scenarios, gigabytes simply don’t provide enough information to proceed with business. Because of their huge files, petabytes are definitely superior in big-data scenarios.

However, any typical person would pull their hair out trying to access petabytes worth of information. The standard home operating system couldn’t handle even a fraction of the data, and you would need over 1,000 TB of hard drives to store a single PB. In everyday scenarios, such as gaming, streaming, or creating, gigabytes are far more useful.

PB (Petabyte) vs GB (Gigabyte): Further Reading

With the era of big data well underway, it’s essential to understand the difference between PB (petabyte) vs GB (gigabyte). While one has more uses in the realm of emerging technology, the other has practical applications in day-to-day tasks. For more on computer science, check out the articles below.

Pb (Petabyte) vs Gb (Gigabyte): Size and Difference Explained FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How many gigabytes does a petabyte have?

In binary notation, one can fit 1,048,576 gigabytes into one petabyte.

How much is 1 petabyte?

A petabyte is the size of 1,024TB, of which it follows. Similarly, a petabyte is 1/1024 the size of an exabyte.

Does NASA have a petabyte?

NASA has stored about 40 PB of data from studying the earth, making it one of the largest archives in the country.

Can I store petabytes on SSD?

Currently, no solid-state drives have the capacity to store a petabyte. The largest SSD on the market can store up to 128 TB, which measures about 1/10 the size of 1 PB.

How do we use petabytes?

While the average person may have little use for a petabyte worth of information, applications such as IoT devices and cloud computing take advantage of massive data collection and analytics.

What do gigabytes do?

On a normal day, we use gigabytes to stream and download videos, play games online, and produce high-quality images.

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