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Complete beginners guide on Memory How Many MB In a GB & How Much Data Do I Need Are All Explained In This Guide

Martin Goldsmith

Everything you want to know about portable memory, like How Much Music Can 4gb Hold, how many MB in a GB, how much memory do I need for pictures.


Welcome to our new blog on memory and to giZmoZ n gadgetZ new site.

As part of this blog we are going to be giving 20% off of all our memory items, that’s flash drives, SD cards and even MP3 players with memory inside until 29/03

Just use code "Memory20%" at checkout


Don’t know how much memory you need?  Don't know your kilobyte from your kilogram? well welcome to the right place.

For this we are going to attempt to help 2 audiences,

1 I know my MB from TB, but how much memory do I need?

2 Isn't a Megabyte one of the baddie Transformers?

If more advanced, then skip down a section to miss the basics.


Our main goals are to help you learn how much memory is needed for your device, how much memory does your pictures and music take up.  What options are available?

Whats the difference in Memory terms

To start off we are going to start simple and explain the different terms we will be using, below is the different expressions for memory sizes, similar to G & KG in weights.

  • B  Byte
  • KB  KiloByte
  • MB MegaByte
  • GB Gigabyte
  • TB Terrabyte
  • PB Petabyte

Next we need to know how many KB in a MB, MB in a GB, GB in a TB.

You would assume that these run in multiples of 10’s 100’s or 1000’s, and you would be partially correct, most applications do show it in that way however the truth of it is that one KB (kilobyte) is made up of 1024 bytes, this is down to Binary and how things started off, something we won’t go into here as its not going to answer any questions about how much memory you need, so we are going to stick with 1000 Bytes = 1 KB as its close enough. 

In simple terms then, 1000 B = 1KB, 1000KB = 1MB, 1000 MB = 1 GB, 1000Gb = 1 TB, 1000 TB = 1 Petabyte


How much memory is my music and pictures taking up? 

It isn’t an easy answer as there are so many variables but we can break it down a bit.

A CD has 700MB available on it, when using as an audio CD about 50 MB of this is taken up for set up files so it works in your car etc and give the track names.

This 650MB equates to about 74 mins of music

This in theory means that music will take up 8.78MB per min

The average song is 3.5 mins therefore 30.73 MB per average song.  So an average 8GB Mp3 player will give you 260 songs, not a great deal.

This on CD is true, however if you are trying to work out how much music 4GB can hold or how much data do you need for a portable media player, 260 songs won't sound like a lot.


Difference from CD to MP3

When ripping (getting music from CD to PC) you will normally select to convert the files to MP3.  This will cut out all the parts of the music our human ears can’t pick up, the very highest above 16,000MHZ and very lows, you can choose how much you want to compact your files down by and typically will choose somewhere between 32kbbs up to 320kbps.  The higher the kbps the better it will sound, personally I would go for 192kbps.

The reason for this is that kbps stands for Kilobytes per second (remember our keys above), so literally how many KB per second of song do I need.  The more KBPS the file is, the more of the original audio file that can be converted without having to remove what your PC thinks it should remove.


For example if you go into iTues to convert your CD into MP3 we are given the options below.  If you need help converting your CD into MP3, you can check out our other Blog on using iTunes to convert MP3.

 convert to MP3 in iTunes


Here is a picture of a CD (Blue) and an MP3 (Orange) @ 320kbps.  You will see that the lower graphic doesn’t have as many spikes in it and a bit smoother, this simple shows that the Mp3 has had to cut out sound compared to the CD.

 CD compared to MP3


What this all means is if we shrink our CD file @ 30.73MB per song from above into 320KBPS MP3, this same file turns out to be 6.72MB.  That’s roughly 5 x smaller, perfect for putting all your music onto 1 small memory card and unless really homed in on music with a top end system, you won’t notice the difference.


How Much memory Do I need for My Music

What do you have?

Audio Quality

Memory required

100 songs

128 kbps

268 MB

1000 songs

128 kbps

2 GB 680 MB

10,000 songs

128 kbps

20 GB 680 GB

100 songs

192 kbps

403.2 MB

1000 songs

192 kbps

4 GB 32 Mb

10,000 songs

192 kbps

40 TB 32 Gb

100 songs


672 MB

1000 songs


6 GB 720 MB

10,000 songs


6 TB 720GB


I am sure that most of us have more than 100 songs, unlikely to have over 4000 so an MP3 player with 8GB should do the job, if full of music, then our 16GB MP3 version will cover you off or an MP3 player with interchangeable memory

As the average album is around 13 songs of 3.5 mins, you can see that in MP3 format, you really don’t need a great deal of space. 

What if I am downloading music?

Most music streaming sites will download in different file formats, the all work slightly differently, for example iTunes uses their own file type so if you purchase these, you need to use them on an Apple device, try and take it to a friends then it won't work, Amazon download in Mp3 which is more universal.

Other things to consider are download speed, however unlike when MP3’s 1st became big, internet speed has changed.  When I did my 1st downloads as a child, I would set the PC up at night and jump out of bed in the morning with the hope of excitement only to find out that it had failed after 6 hours, this is when modems were running at 56KBPS KiloBytes Per Second (same principle as above).  I have just done a test at work song every 2 seconds, or an album in 26 seconds so unless you still have a dial up modem, don’t worry about this as most modern connections are 20MBPS + (remember our key to start off? Thats a big difference)


Can I work out how much memory I need? 

Below we have our own tool on how you can get more accurate results for your self with our tool to convert mb to gb  


How much music can I fit on my memory?

45 mins/album
3:30 mins/song
How much memory do I need for my Music?
at 45 mins/album 90:



How much memory do I need for my pictures?

This is just as tricky as the MP3's above, if not a little harder as there are even more variables.

These come down to file type, such as JPEG, BMP, GIFF, all of these will compress your pictures in different ways, some being harsher than others.  With compression, the program you use will remove certain parts of the photo, the more its compressed, the worse the image looks, the programs we have can only guess what to remove, normally taking the odd pixel or combining a few.

JPEG is a good middle of the range file type that keeps a decent picture but not taking up masses of space.  For a full list and breakdown of different file types you can have a look on Wiki as there are far to many to mention here.

Resolution of picture impact on file size

This is the other big impacter, this is how many pixels (dots) go across and also down, multiple these together and you get the megapixels.

For example

Original iPhone had 2 Megapixels,

iPhone 6S Plus 12 Megapixel camera, thats 6 x the resolution.

What difference does this make?  Well if you get a picture that's 10 dots across and down, your 100 dots if zoomed in become larger and it will distort the picture, get a 4K HD TV and you have 4096 x 2160 pixels so it takes a lot of zooming before these start to become blurry, it is this (partially) that gives you the better image but at a greater file size.  image resolution

Here is an image that sums that up perfectly.

Whats all this got to do with how much memory I need?

Well a lot, but even with all this there isn't a definitive answer that can be given, even with all this, the same phone at the same resolution could take 2 images that differ in size, this is just down to how digital photos are processed and the software tricks that come into force, if you play it safe at 2MB per image then you can't go wrong, if your a pro photographer with the top of the line equipment then this won't be accurate but if you taking a pic on holiday or a selfie with your mates, its a fine rule.  Therefore here is a rough guide on how much memory you need.

Number of pictures

Memory needed for 2MB pictures


200 MB


2 Gb


20 GB



Whats the options to store my memory?

This is an easier one to answer, there is of course your PC, most PC's today will come with 100+GB (50,000 images or 25,000 songs) if you need to have a backup of your data then one of the many cloud providers such as Google or Apple can be used as an extra hard drive, normally for free, great as a backup but no good for portability.

Want your files to be portable and easily accessible everywhere, then a flash drive should work, it acts like an external hard drive, just by plugging into the USB port, also great if you have a digital photo frame.

Or if something smaller is wanted, or need it to work in your car or MP3 player then an SD card is perfect.

Hopefully this has all been useful and answered your question, want to put your input in then please contact us.

Remember we mentioned the current offer 20% off memory and MP3 players with memory, the code again is here Memory20%

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