Written on 2012-06-18.

I think its important to understand the little things. An understanding of the small parts of the whole give a greater understanding of the entirety. I’m quite surprised at just how difficult it was to find the information and how poorly it is presented. So… for my future self and whoever else wishes to read. Here is all the information I have gathered and put together in a way that like-minded people can grasp.

First I’ll define some basic lingo and general knowledge.

- Boolean = TRUE or FALSE (in this vernacular, referring to a bit [sometimes referred to as ‘1’] or no bit [some times referred to as ‘0’]).
- Capitals & lowercase matter. (as in all good file/operating systems)
- Decimal =
*Wiki Says: “The decimal numeral system (also called base ten or occasionally denary) has ten as its base. It is the numerical base most widely used by modern civilizations.”*.

**hozza Says “10, 100, 1000 etc. A very easily understood counting system for humans.”** - Binary =
*Wiki Says: “The binary numeral system, or base-2 number system, represents numeric values using two symbols: 0 and 1. More specifically, the usual base-2 system is a positional notation with a radix of 2. Because of its straightforward implementation in digital electronic circuitry using logic gates, the binary system is used internally by almost all modern computers.”*

**hozza Says “0|1, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 etc. A very easily understood counting system for computers.”** - Byte is symbolised as ‘B’ and bit is sometimes symbolised as ‘b’, following the patterns of the below information this would seem to be correct, however this is actually wrong. bit should not be shortened to ‘b’, should only be written as ‘bit’. No shorthand.
*Byte*is not the plural of*bit*. It is a separate measure of computing size (1 Byte [B] = 8 bits). This means a 3Mb/s broadband line is equal to 0.375 MB/s.

When humans communicate sizes to other humans, weather that via. computers or verbal. They switch between the decimal and binary system when it suits them or due to ignorance. When we speak about transferring of data we tend to talk in decimal, due to the ease of understanding and simple math. When we talk about storage we tend to talk in binary, as storage devices such as HDD’s use the binary method.

Many ‘categories’ of computing measurements such as the infamous “Meg” (that all the broadband TV adverts love to use), “nibble” etc. are not officially defined as sizes and therefore can be abused. e.g. TV advert says get a 50 Meg connection :O, which is actually only a 50 Mb (most people would assume MB as this is the most common ‘category’ of size that we normally use to measure movies (~700 MB) and music (~6 MB).

We get the words ‘kilo’, ‘mega’, ‘giga’ etc. from the decimal measurement system. So using them to mean a binary measurement is technically wrong… hence all of the confusion. (i.e. kilo = 1000, in computers it is commonly used to represent 1024). So when we need to define which method we are referring to; decimal or binary. We should say or write me**ga** to mean decimal and me**bi** to mean binary.

There is so much confusion around ‘computing storage size’ that even large companies use them incorrectly in public (advertisements or packaging) whether this is to there advantage or not. They also get away with it.

For example: an MP3 file is 3,735,977 bytes which is equal to 3.736 MB (that’s me**ga**bytes, the decimal method) *[1]* or in MiB (that’s *me bibytes*, the correct way of using mega to mean the

**bi**nary counting method) much less than 3.736 MB

*[2]*(we are talking about

**B**ytes and not

**bits**here). I’ve not written the actual number as Google nor WolframAlpha could reliably calculate [most likely as its so sparsely understood], the Mebi number should logically be a larger number than the Mega.

Full Computing Sizes (b to PiB) | |
---|---|

Name (Symbol) | Equivalent |

bit (bit) | 1 boolean |

byte (B) | 8 bit |

kilobit (kbit) | 1000 bit |

kibibit (Kibit) | 1024 bit |

kilobyte (kB) | 1000 B |

kibibyte (KiB) | 1024 B |

megabit (Mbit) | 1000 kbit |

mibibit (Mibit) | 1024 kibit |

megabyte (MB) | 1000 kB |

mebibyte (MiB) | 1024 KiB |

gigabit (Gbit) | 1000 Mbit |

gibibit (Gibit) | 1024 Mibit |

gigabyte (GB) | 1000 MB |

gibibyte (GiB) | 1024 MiB |

terabit (Tbit) | 1000 Gbit |

tebibit (Tibit) | 1024 Gibit |

terabyte (TB) | 1000 GB |

tibibyte (TiB) | 1024 GiB |

petabit (Pbit) | 1000 Tbit |

pebibit (Pibit) | 1024 Tibit |

petabyte (PB) | 1000 TB |

pibibyte (PiB) | 1024 TiB |

*The same data [ref “data table”], reorganised into Decimal and Binary.*

Decimal Computing Sizes (kbit to PB) | |
---|---|

Name (Symbol) | Equivalent |

kilobit (kbit) | 1000 bit |

kilobyte (kB) | 1000 B |

megabit (Mbit) | 1000 kbit |

megabyte (MB) | 1000 kB |

gigabit (Gbit) | 1000 Mbit |

gigabyte (GB) | 1000 MB |

terabit (Tbit) | 1000 Gbit |

terabyte (TB) | 1000 GB |

petabit (Pbit) | 1000 Tbit |

petabyte (PB) | 1000 TB |

Binary Computing Sizes (b to PiB) | |
---|---|

Name (Symbol) | Equivalent |

bit (bit) | 1 boolean |

byte (B) | 8 bit |

kibibit (Kibit) | 1024 bit |

kibibyte (KiB) | 1024 B |

mibibit (Mibit) | 1024 kibit |

mebibyte (MiB) | 1024 KiB |

gibibit (Gibit) | 1024 Mibit |

gibibyte (GiB) | 1024 MiB |

tebibit (Tibit) | 1024 Gibit |

tibibyte (TiB) | 1024 GiB |

pebibit (Pibit) | 1024 Tibit |

pibibyte (PiB) | 1024 TiB |

*The same data [ref “data table”], reorganised into bits and Bytes.*

Computing Sizes [bits] (b to Pibit) | |
---|---|

Name (Symbol) | Equivalent |

bit (bit) | 1 boolean |

kilobit (kbit) | 1000 bit |

kibibit (Kibit) | 1024 bit |

megabit (Mbit) | 1000 kbit |

mibibit (Mibit) | 1024 kibit |

gigabit (Gbit) | 1000 Mbit |

gibibit (Gibit) | 1024 Mibit |

terabit (Tbit) | 1000 Gbit |

tebibit (Tibit) | 1024 Gibit |

petabit (Pbit) | 1000 Tbit |

pebibit (Pibit) | 1024 Tibit |

Computing Sizes [bytes] (B to PiB) | |
---|---|

Name (Symbol) | Equivalent |

byte (B) | 8 bit |

kilobyte (kB) | 1000 B |

kibibyte (KiB) | 1024 B |

megabyte (MB) | 1000 kB |

mebibyte (MiB) | 1024 KiB |

gigabyte (GB) | 1000 MB |

gibibyte (GiB) | 1024 MiB |

terabyte (TB) | 1000 GB |

tibibyte (TiB) | 1024 GiB |

petabyte (PB) | 1000 TB |

pibibyte (PiB) | 1024 TiB |