How Much Data Can a USB Flash Drive Hold?

Nov 07, 2019 in 09:28 AM | Posted By Janelle W.
How Much Data Can a USB Flash Drive Hold?

Customers ask us every day how much data one USB flash drive can hold. That answer depends on the type of data stored, how large each of those files are, and the capacity you are looking for, too.

How many PDFs on a USB?

The average single PDF file is just 300 KBs. But PDFs — particularly multiple-page documents — can be much larger than that. Because of the number and size of mortgage closing documents, our title company clients typically purchase 1GB drives to ensure the documents will fit.

Yes, title companies. States are catching up to technology and the public's desire to reduce printing and paper files. Federal law allows electronic signatures to carry the same weight as a "wet" signature so real estate closing documents are often signed digitally and given to buyers on USB flash drives. Auto dealerships are doing the same: instead of stacks of paperwork for your car sale, buyers get their final documentation on USB flash drive.

How many MP3s on a flash drive?

Our music and entertainment clients have found smaller drives — from 256MB to 512MB — are often all they need to hold their music and share it with fans. Most TVs and computers and even new cars will play MP3 files directly from the USB drive, so no CD player is necessary.

Based on a single MP3 audio file of 4 MB per song (4 minutes, 128kbps), even a 128MB USB drive will hold 28 songs. For many artists, that is the equivalent of two LP albums. However, if you are re-releasing a compilation of your greatest hits, an 8GB drive will hold 1,843 songs. 

How many MP4s on a USB drive?

As a rule of thumb, a one-hour MP4 video at 720p takes 1GB of memory. However, the amount of memory even a short video uses is based on many factors, including bit rate and resolution. A professional videographer likely knows how large their files are and how to compress or edit video to transfer onto a USB flash drive. 

For the amateur video editor, you may need some help to determine bit rate, resolution and frame rate to reduce file size. There are many online tools to help you determine the best way to reduce your MP4 file size without sacrificing too much quality. 

We do recommend USB 3.0 drives for video. They are 10x's faster than USB 2.0 and start a 8GB — the memory most of our video clients buy.

How many JPEGs in a USB drive?

The latest iPhone release includes a 12 megapixel camera, up from 8 megapixels a few models before. That doesn't necessarily mean your JPEG files are getting bigger, however. The average JPEG file is still just 1.6 MB each.  

Now, if you are providing your images to clients as TIFF files, be ready to buy more memory. These lossless files are about 3x's the size of a similar JPEG file at 300 dpi, and at 600 dpi are about 5x's larger.

Our photography clients will most often purchase 2GB, 4GB and 8GB drives. The 2GB drive will hold 1,229 JPEG files, and 8GBs will hold 4,915. If you are providing photos in TIFF format, purchase accordingly.  

So what memory size do you need for your USB program?

We often suggest our clients double the memory they think they need. It's always easy to fill up a flash drive, and your clients are much more likely to use a drive they know has space available for personal and work documents, too. The more memory available to the user, the longer it will be their go-to device.

Still not sure how much memory you need? Logotech's Personal Account Managers will help you determine what you need, what style USB is best for your needs, and help you Get Noticed!

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