As you will probably work out from my profile, I'm a software developer. This is sort of a software development question, but I think this is more suited to English language too.

Feel free to migrate if you think the question does not belong here.

Say I want to refer to the data size, or capacity of something:

  • A floppy disk can hold 1.44 megabytes of data.
  • My flash drive can hold 16 gigabytes of data.
  • My internet connection can operate at a maximum of 50 gigabits per second
  • I have just managed to compress a file from 1 megabyte to just 200 kilobytes.

How do I collectively refer to these units of data size/capacity?

  • 1
    Just like you did: "size units" or "capacity units". More generally, "units of digital information". Or "data size" (again, just as you did), or simply "size". Depends on the context, really.
    – RegDwigнt
    Apr 19, 2014 at 14:34

4 Answers 4


The capacity of a floppy disk is 1.44 megabytes.

The capacity of my flash drive is 16 gigabytes.

The throughput capacity of my internet connection is 50 gigabits per second.

(I would not change your fourth sentence.)


Don't mix bits and bytes. The generic term for bytes is storage hence storage capacity.


What do you think of "quantity of bytes"? The language in computer science is moving into an esoteric gibberish. No one tries to prune out all those nonsense and phantasy terms and use simple understandable names.

  • This makes sense if you're dealing specifically with bytes, but for a general measure of quantity or rate, it's not ideal. It's not the number of bytes that matters, it's the amount of data.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 9 at 10:32

is information the word you are looking for ?

Byte is the unit of information.

  • Your floppy disk can hold 1.44 megabyte of information.
  • My internet connection can operate at a maximum of 50 gigabits (of information) per second

please see a close question:

What measures the Byte unit?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.