Kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes etc. are storage and memory jargons and can be really baffling for those who are used to the metric system. According to the metric system, 1 Kilobyte should be 1000 bytes, but it is actually 1024 bytes. So, let’s try to understand how many MB in a GB and why is this difference. Before we get into these conversions, let’s figure out what a bit and byte are.

What Are Bit and Byte?

Computers work on a binary system or bits. So, we can say that the smallest unit or increment of data in a computer forms a bit. It can have only two values, which are 0 and 1, which correspond to the electrical values of off and on respectively.

Now bits are too small to work and hence they are assembled in a group of eight and eight binary digits make one byte. A byte is required to store even a single ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) character.

When we talk of computer, smartphone, laptop, tablet’s storage and memory, we talk in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB). Even the smallest file that you store on any of these devices is four kilobytes (KB) in size. If we convert this KB into bytes and bits, we will proceed as under:

1KB = 1024 bytes. 

1 byte =8 bits

So, 1KB = 1024 x 8 = 8192 binary digits or bits

If we talk of some medium-sized novel, it can contain 1 Megabyte (MB) of information. Making a similar conversion for this MB you will get:

1 MB = 1024 kilobytes=1024×1024 bytes, which is 1,048,576 bytes

To convert it to bits, you will have to multiply it further by 8.

If you want to know how many MB in a GB, then 1GB is 1024 MB, which is 1024X1024x1024 bytes.

Terabyte (TB) is a further higher unit, which is 1024GB in one TB.

Those who are familiar with the decimal system often find this binary system confusing. For them, 1MB should be 1000 KB and so on. But, in computers, everything works in binary and thus it is easier when working with powers of two. 1024 is nothing but 2 raised to the power of 10. Some hard drive manufacturers have started talking about storage and memory in the metric system, but Windows sticks to the 1024 rule. 

Why Hard Drives Appear to Have a Lower Capacity Than Advertised?

Those who talk in the metric or decimal system actually provide less storage space. When they say that a hard drive is of 1TB, in the metric system, it has 1,000,000,000,000 bytes.  Now to get in KB, you have to divide this by 1024 and you will get 976,562,500KB. Divide further by 1024 twice to get value in GB and it comes out to be 931.32GB. So, a 1TB hard drive actually has only 931.32GB space. Similarly, a 250GB hard drive has 232GB space. This explains why hard drives appear to have lower than the advertised capacity. Now if someone asks you ‘how many MB in a GB’, you can explain better.


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