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Computers & Internet / How Many Megabytes in a Gigabyte

Bits and Bytes

Basic units of information, which are used for computer data storage, are called bits

Eight bits make up the byte

Different Definitions

According to the standard definition, we have such measurements:

- 1 kilobyte has 1000 bytes
- 1 megabyte has 1000 kilobytes
- 1 gigabyte has 1000 megabytes

According to the prefixes, which are used in this system, it is correct. But we all know that manufacturers of computer memory prefer to use the binary system with the same metric prefixes. This definition states the following:

- 1 megabyte has 1024 kilobytes
- 1 gigabyte has 1024 megabyte

And they are not worried about the fact that it causes confusion.

The IEC Standards

There is a simple and convenient way to avoid any misinterpretation in this question. In 1998 it was suggested by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)

The table below presents all the definitions from the new IEC Standard.

Term

Abbreviation

Equals to

Bit

bit

0 or 1

Byte

B

8 bits

Kibibit

Kibit

1024 bits

Kibibyte

KiB

1024 bytes

Mebibyte

MiB

1024 kibibytes

Gibibyte

GiB

1024 mebibytes

Tebibyte

TiB

1024 gibibytes

Pebibyte

PiB

1024 tebibytes

Exbibyte

EiB

1024 pebibytes

Though this standard could have solved many problems, it is not commonly used, and computer manufacturers still ignore it. As a result, most people do not even know what these terms (kibibit, kibibyte, mebibyte, etc) mean.

How to Convert Non-Official Units

The chart below helps to convert traditional units, used by manufacturers of memory and in computer programs.

One Bit

One Byte

Bits

1

8

Bytes

8

1

Kilobytes

8,192

1,024

Megabytes

8,388,608

1,048,576

Gigabytes

8,589,934,592

1,073,741,824

One Kilobyte

One Megabyte

Bits

8,192

8,388,608

Bytes

1,024

1,048,576

Kilobytes

1

1,024

Megabytes

1,024

1

Gigabytes

1,048,576

1,024

One Gigabyte

One Terabyte

Bits

8,589,934,592

8,796,093,022,208

Bytes

1,073,741,824

1,099,511,627,776

Kilobytes

1,048,576

1,073,741,824

Megabytes

1,024

1,048,576

Gigabytes

1

1,024

One Petabyte

One Exabyte

Bits

9,007,199,254,740,992

9,223,372,036,854,775,808

Bytes

1,125,899,906,842,624

1,152,921,504,606,846,976

Kilobytes

1,099,511,627,776

1,125,899,906,842,624

Megabytes

1,073,741,824

1,099,511,627,776

Gigabytes

1,048,576

1,073,741,824

One Zettabyte

Bits

9,444,732,965,739,290,427,392

Bytes

1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424

Kilobytes

1,152,921,504,606,846,976

Megabytes

1,125,899,906,842,624

Gigabytes

1,099,511,627,776

- The bit – is the fundamental unit of computer information. In means the amount of data that has one of the two possible values: digits 0 or 1.
- The byte (abbr. B) – is the most common unit of computer information, consisting of 8 bits. Bytes make up kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), terabytes (TB), petabytes (PB), exabytes (EB), zettabytes (ZB), and yottabytes (YB). The standard definition states that one kilobyte has 1000 bytes and so on, but the non-official standard means that one kilobyte has 1024 bytes. The IEC suggests the term “kibibyte” for the latter case.
- The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) – is the international non-profit organization, developing International Standards for various branches of electrotechnology. It has invented such terms, as Kibibit (Kibit), Kibibyte (KiB), Mebibyte (MiB), Gibibyte (GiB), Tebibyte (TiB), Pebibyte (PiB), Exbibyte (EiB).

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