Megabytes (MB) V/s Mebibytes (MiB) Differences Explained

We use Megabytes (MB) and Mebibytes (MiB) units to measure storage capacity and data transfer rate. The main difference between these units is that a megabyte is a multiple of 1,000, and a mebibyte is a multiple of 1,024.

Generally, we use units in a multiple of 1000. For example, we use the Liter and Gram to measure the weight of liquid and solid substances. Both use a multiple of 1000 to refer to things. There are 1000 grams in a Kilogram. In a Liter, there are 1000 Milliliters. Similarly, we use Meters to measure the length. There are 1000 Meters in a Kilometer.

Bytes is a unit computers use to measure disk space and data transfer speed. Since most commonly used units are available in multiples of 1000, many hardware vendors also use bytes in a multiple of 1000. But that is not the correct way to refer to bytes. Computers use bytes in a multiple of 1024.

The following table compares the units computers and hardware vendors use.

Units hardware vendors useUnits computers use
Unit Name Value Unit Name Value
KB Kilobyte 10001 KiB Kibibyte 10241
MB Megabyte 10002 MiB Mebibyte 10242
GB Gigabyte 10003 GiB Gibibyte 10243
TB Terabyte 10004 TiB Tebibyte 10244
PB Petabyte 10005 PiB Pebibyte 10245
EB Exabyte 10006 EiB Exbibyte 10246
ZB Zettabyte 10007 ZiB Zebibyte 10247
YB Yottabyte 10008 YiB Yobibyte 10248

If we talk about a smaller size, the difference between units is not that important. For example, the difference between a kilobyte (KB) and a kibibyte (KiB) is just 24 bytes.

But if we talk about larger sizes, the difference between the units becomes significant. For example, the difference between a megabyte (MB) and a Mebibyte (MiB) is 24 KiB. Similarly, the difference between a Terabyte(TB) and a Tebibyte(TiB) is 24 GiB. This difference can heavily impact your storage management strategy. For example, you cannot store a 1 GiB movie in a 1 GB hard disk. When purchasing a new storage device, you should always calculate your requirements in GiB or MiB.

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