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 use | Units computers use | ||||

Unit | Name | Value | Unit | Name | Value |

KB | Kilobyte | 1000^{1} | KiB | Kibibyte | 1024^{1} |

MB | Megabyte | 1000^{2} | MiB | Mebibyte | 1024^{2} |

GB | Gigabyte | 1000^{3} | GiB | Gibibyte | 1024^{3} |

TB | Terabyte | 1000^{4} | TiB | Tebibyte | 1024^{4} |

PB | Petabyte | 1000^{5} | PiB | Pebibyte | 1024^{5} |

EB | Exabyte | 1000^{6} | EiB | Exbibyte | 1024^{6} |

ZB | Zettabyte | 1000^{7} | ZiB | Zebibyte | 1024^{7} |

YB | Yottabyte | 1000^{8} | YiB | Yobibyte | 1024^{8} |

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.