Gibibyte

The gibibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The binary prefix gibi means 230, therefore one gibibyte is equal to 1073741824bytes = 1024 mebibytes. The unit symbol for the gibibyte is GiB. It is one of the units with binary prefixes defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in 1998.[1][2]

Multiples of bytes
Decimal
Value Metric
1000 kBkilobyte
10002 MBmegabyte
10003 GBgigabyte
10004 TBterabyte
10005 PBpetabyte
10006 EBexabyte
10007 ZBzettabyte
10008 YByottabyte
Binary
Value IEC JEDEC
1024 KiBkibibyte KBkilobyte
10242 MiBmebibyte MBmegabyte
10243 GiBgibibyte GBgigabyte
10244 TiBtebibyte
10245 PiBpebibyte
10246 EiBexbibyte
10247 ZiBzebibyte
10248 YiByobibyte

The gibibyte is closely related to the gigabyte (GB), which is defined by the IEC as 109 bytes = 1000000000bytes, 1GiB1.074GB. 1024 gibibytes are equal to one tebibyte. In the context of computer memory, gigabyte and GB are customarily used to mean 10243 (230) bytes, although not in the context of data transmission and not necessarily for hard drive size.[3]

Hard drive and SSD manufacturers use the gigabyte to mean 1000000000 bytes. Therefore, the capacity of a 128 GB SSD is 128000000000 bytes. Expressed in gibibytes this is about 119.2 GiB. Some operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, display such a drive capacity as 119 GB, using the SI prefix G with the binary meaning. No space is missing: the size is simply being expressed in a different unit, even though the same prefix (G) is used in both cases.

The use of gigabyte (GB) to refer to 1000000000 bytes in some contexts and to 1073741824 bytes in others, sometimes in reference to the same device, has led to claims of confusion, controversies, and lawsuits.[4][5][6][7] The IEC created the binary prefixes (kibi, mebi, gibi, etc.) in an attempt to reduce such confusion. They are increasingly used in technical literature and open-source software, and are a component of the International System of Quantities.[8]

See also

References

  1. "Prefixes for binary multiples". NIST. 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
  2. International Electrotechnical Commission (January 1999), IEC 60027-2 Amendment 2: Letter symbols to be used in electrical technology - Part 2: Telecommunications and electronics
  3. "Gigabyte, usage note". American Heritage Dictionary. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  4. "Western Digital settles over size - Geek.com". Geek.com. 29 June 2006. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  5. Judge, Peter. "Seagate pays out over gigabyte definition | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  6. "Western Digital Settles Hard-Drive Capacity Lawsuit". Fox News. 28 June 2006. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  7. "Gigabytes vs. gibibytes class action suit nears end". CNET. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  8. "IEC 80000-13:2008". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 21 July 2013.

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