Zb (Zettabyte) vs. Mb (Megabyte): Size and Differences Explained

Data Structure

Zb (Zettabyte) vs. Mb (Megabyte): Size and Differences Explained

Gigabytes (Gb) and Terabytes (Tb) are the most commonly used terms for memory sizes. However, these are only two among many other units in digital data measurements. There are other units, both bigger and smaller than gigabytes and terabytes.

Zettabytes and megabytes are examples of other data measurement units. So, what are zettabytes and megabytes, how are they different, and how do they relate to other data units? Dive in for these answers. 

Zb (Zettabyte) vs. MB (Megabyte): Side-by-Side Comparison

Zettabyte Megabyte 
What is it?Unit of data measurement for measuring big data Unit of data measurement that measures file sizes 
Abbreviation ZBMB
Number of Bytes1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes 1,000,000,000 bytes 
Number of Gigabytes 1,000,000,000 gigabytes0.001 gigabytes 
Units Smaller Than It Bytes, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte, petabyte, exabyteBit, byte, kilobyte 
Units Bigger Than It Yottabyte Gigabyte, terabyte, petabyte, exabyte, zetabyte, yottabyte 

Zb (Zettabyte) vs. MB (Megabyte): What’s the Difference?

Here are more differences between zettabytes and megabytes than in the comparison table.

Zettabyte Explained 

A zettabyte is a data measurement unit that describes vast amounts of data. Precisely, it is equal to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. The name zettabyte is made of two words: zetta and byte. 

A byte is a data unit that represents 8 binary digits (bits). It is the basic unit of data measurement within which all other data units are based. On the other hand, the name zetta is a prefit given by the International Standard System that means 1021. This value is equal to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. 

However, this only applies to the decimal system. In the binary system, which is the language that computers understand, a zettabyte is equal to 270, which is equivalent to 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424 bytes. When in the binary prefix, a zettabyte is called zebibyte. 

Regardless of the prefix you use to look at a zettabyte, it is safe to say that this is a very large data unit. In the hierarchy of data units, it is the second largest unit, and the only unit larger than it is a yottabyte. Imagine the amount of data you store in a hard disk of 1 terabyte, and there are a billion terabytes in a zettabyte. 

No person can store their data in a zerabyte. Even large companies like Google or Tesla with big data use an exabyte, which is smaller than a zettabyte. It is therefore impossible to come across a storage device with units in zettabytes on the market. Nevertheless, given that data development is on the rise day after day, it is expected that, soon, zettabytes will be as common as a gigabyte or terabyte. 

The world has been in the zettabyte era since the mid-2010s, with the current data size being about 100 zettabytes. This is expected to rise to almost 200 zettabytes by 2025 when zettabytes are even more common. 

doors opening data lines information technology
While a zettabyte is the second largest measuring unit, the megabyte is quite small, coming in at the fourth position in the entire unit hierarchy.


Exabyte: Real World Examples 

Truth is, it is nearly impossible to fathom how big a zettabyte is. However, below are some examples that make it a bit easier to understand.

The Zettabyte Zone 

The zettabyte zone, also called the zettabyte era, is the era we live in. This means that all the data in the world is in zettabytes. Based on your reference, the zettabyte zone started in 2012 or 2016. In 2012, the overall digital data in the world first exceeded a zettabyte, and in 2016, global IP traffic exceeded a zettabyte. 

Maize Bags

Let’s assume that one bag of maize equals one kilobyte (it can seem impractical, but it will help make the comparison). In this case, 1,000 bags will make 1 megabyte, and 1,000,000 bags will make a terabyte. Given that a zettabyte equals a billion terabytes, you can imagine the number of bags you will have if you go to zettabytes. These would be enough to feed a nation. 

Comparison to Other Units 

Although a zettabyte is such a big data unit, it is still not the biggest data measurement unit. Above the zettabyte, there is the yottabyte, which is the biggest unit of data measurement. Here is how zettabytes compare with other units of data measurement. 

  • 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes make a zettabyte 
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilobytes make a zettabyte 
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000 megabytes make a zettabyte 
  • 1,000,000,000,000 gigabytes make a zettabyte 
  • 1,000,000,000 terabytes make a zettabyte 
  • 1,000,000 petabytes make a zettabyte 
  • 1,000 exabytes make a zettabyte 
  • 1,000 zettabytes make a yottabyte 

Megabyte Explained 

A megabyte is a unit of data measurement equal to 1,000,000 bytes. This is in the decimal prefix. When used in the binary prefix, a megabyte equals 1,048,576 bytes. In this prefix, it is called a mebibyte and abbreviated as MiB. 

Unlike the zettabyte, which is one of the largest units of data measurement, a megabyte is among the smallest units. In fact, in the hierarchy of data units, the megabyte is in the 4th position, and the only units smaller than are megabyte are bits, bytes, and kilobytes. There are fives units from megabytes to a zettabyte, meaning that 1,000,000,000,000,000 megabytes make a zettabyte. 

Gone are the days when storage devices, such as floppy disks, were measured in megabytes. IBM was the first company to make a floppy disk measuring 5MB. As data grew, other bigger data units were invented, such as gigabytes or terabytes. Megabytes are now used to measure the sizes of files such as photos, videos, and songs. Small text documents are smaller than a megabyte and are thus measured in kilobytes. 

A megabyte is not to be confused with a megabit. A megabit means 1,000,000 bits and is abbreviated as Mb (notice the small letter b). A megabyte measures data sizes, and a megabit measures data transfer speeds and internet speeds, using megabits per second. 

Megabyte: Real World Examples

Some things make it easy to understand a megabyte, so let’s discuss a few of them below.

File Sizes

On your computer, right-click on a file, such as a document or a photo, then select Properties. Under Properties, you will see the file or folder size; most of the time, it is in megabytes. Most files you will have on your phone or computer are in megabytes. 

Cellular Data 

The word megabyte is mainly used when talking about cellular data. This is the data you use to get online when you have no Wi-Fi connection. The amount of data you use to surf the internet is measured in megabytes. 

For instance, you can use around 500 megabytes to watch a video online for one hour. Similarly, you can download a song using about 20 to 30 megabytes. Megabytes are also used to calculate internet speed in megabytes per second. The higher the Mbps, the faster and more reliable your internet speed. 

Comparison to Other Units 

A megabyte is among the smaller units of data measurement; thus, several megabytes are used to make other larger units. Here is how megabytes compare with the other data measurement units.

  • 1,000,000 bytes make a megabyte 
  • 1,000 kilobytes make a megabyte 
  • 1,000 megabytes make a gigabyte 
  • 1,000,000 megabytes make a terabyte 
  • 1,000,000,000 megabytes make a petabyte 
  • 1,000,000,000,000 megabytes make an exabyte 
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000 megabytes make a zettabyte 
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 megabytes make a yottabyte 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is bigger, a zettabyte or a megabyte?

A zettabyte is much bigger than a megabyte. It takes 1,000,000,000,000,000 megabytes to make a zettabyte.

How big is a zettabyte?

A zettabyte is equal to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. All the data in the world is equivalent to about 100 zettabytes. 

Are there units bigger than a zettabyte?

A unit bigger than a zettabyte is a yottabyte, equal to 1,000 zettabytes. The zettabyte is the second largest unit of data measurement.

How big is a megabyte?

A megabyte is as big as a medium-quality photo. A high-standard photo will be 2-3 megabytes big. 

Are there units smaller than a megabyte?

The units smaller than a megabyte are bits, bytes, and kilobytes. A megabyte is among the smallest data units since they are the fourth in the hierarchy of data measuring units.

Are zettabytes already being used in the world?

The world is already in the zettabyte era, which began in 2012. This was the year when all the data in the world exceeded a zettabyte. Nevertheless, no devices measured in zettabytes are still available on the market. 

What storage unit is used by companies with big data?

Companies with big data, such as Google and Tesla, store their data in exabytes. An exabyte is a unit of storage that is smaller than a zettabyte. 

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