Bytes, bits, megabytes, teras … learn to convert between units

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In a digitized society in which information is so important, one of the basic principles is to know some of the main concepts that we move about. For this reason, you have probably heard many times about megabytes, gigabytes, teras and other units of measure, and you may want to know what they are and how to convert from one to the other so as not to confuse them. In addition, we must bear in mind that these terms can not only refer to storage units, but also to internet speed.

What is bit and byte?

The bit It is the basic unit of information in computing. It consists of a binary language digit that expresses a value of 0 or 1. It is used to represent the contraposition between two values ​​that are open and closed, off and on, false and true). This is the minimum unit of information in computing. Although one bit can represent two specific values, infinite combinations can be made. Another relevant measure is the byte, not to be confused with the first. The latter can be quantized as 8 bits.

binary code

In computing and telecommunications, since the structure of computers is based on binary numbers, bytes are counted in powers of two. Hence, a kilobyte equals 1024 bytes and not 1000, since 1024 is the result of 2 raised to 10.

We are going to show the equivalences between one and the other units of measurement based on these basic information units.

Units of measurement and equivalences

To give us a general idea of ​​what we have just mentioned, a gig is capable of storing up to a total of a thousand data more than a mega. Specifically, a giga is equivalent to 1,024 megabytes.

Starting from the bytes as minimum unit, the different units of measurement are expressed as follows:

  • One Kilobyte is 1024 bytes
  • One Megabyte is 1024 KB
  • One Gigabyte is 1024 MB
  • One Terabyte is 1024 GB
  • One Petabyte is 1024 TB
  • One Exabyte is 1024 PB
  • One Zettabyte is 1024 EB
  • One Yottabyte is 1024 ZB

These units of measurement are often used when buying a new computer, tablet, mobile device, pendrive, hard drive or device in general. Obviously, we are not going to look for the same storage on a smartphone than on a computer. Therefore, we must know these units of measurement and look for a device that suits our specific needs, depending on what we use the device for and if we are going to store more or less things.

UnitSymbolEquivalence
1 kilobytekB1024 bytes
1 megabyteMB1024 KB
1 gigabyteGB1024 MB
1 terabyteTB1024 GB
1 petabytePB1024 TB
1 exabyteEB1024 PB
1 zettabyteZB1024 EB
1 yottabyteYB1024 ZB

To measure the contracted internet connection speed, we use a measure based on the bits transmitted per second, although it should be noted that in fiber optics and ADSL more use is made of megabits per second (Mbps) and gigabits per second (Gbps).

How to calculate

Starting from the bytes as minimum unit, and taking into account that we are talking in decimal base, a gigabyte is the storage unit (GB), equivalent to 1,000,000,000 bytes. It is not to be confused with the gibibyte (GiB), which is equal to 1024 MiB. The gigabyte (GB) equals 1000 MB. The latter is the one used for the storage capacity or size of the files. A unit larger than this is the Terabyte, increasingly present in more devices, equivalent to 1,000 GB.

Taking into account these differentiations, we are going to see how we can easily go from one unit to another by making their equivalence and taking into account what we are based on to make the conversion.

Megabytes to gigabytes

In many cases, you will find that the smallest unit of measure used (which does not exist) is the megabyte, so it is good to know how many megabytes are in a gigabyte and even how many are in a terabyte.

In order to make the equivalence of megabytes to gigabytes, we find two ways of expressing ourselves, which are the decimal base (which starts from a base 10) and the binary base (which starts from a base 2).

NameDecimalNameBinary unit
Kilobyte (kB)103Kibibyte (KiB)210
Megabyte (MB)106Mebibyte (MiB)2twenty
Gigabyte (GB)109Gibibyte (GiB)230
Terabyte (TB)1012Tebibyte (TiB)240

In this way, we find the following equivalences depending on the base from which we start and the unit of measurement, although in this case we will give priority to the decimal base:

  • 1000 megabytes (MB) = 1 gigabyte (GB)
  • 1024 mebibyte (MiB) = 1 gibibyte (GiB)
  • 953,674 mebibyte (MiB) = 1 gigabyte (GB)

Gigabytes to Terabytes

To make the move from gigabytes to terabytes, increasingly used in different devices such as the most modern hard drives, we are going to continue using the two ways of expressing ourselves, which are the binary base and the decimal base.

  • 1000 gigabyte (GB) = 1 terabyte (TB)
  • 1024 gibibyte (GiB) = 1 tebibyte (TiB)
  • 931,323 gibibyte (GiB) = 1 terabyte (TB)

In most manufacturers today the decimal base is used as the unit of measurement, although computers are using the binary base.

Although we have already said it before, it is good to emphasize that starting from the decimal system 1 GB is equivalent to 1000 MB and 1 TB is equivalent to 1000 GB. So 1GB = 1000MB and 1TB = 1000GB.

TerabytesGigabytes
1 TB1000 GB
2 TB2000 GB
3 TB3000 GB

Computers use the binary system, so it is very important that when purchasing a new device you really know the amount of storage they are offering you to know what you are going to have and you can also compare it with the real capacity of your team.

1 KB (kilobyte)0.976563 KiB (kibityte)
1 MB (megabyte)0.953674 MiB (mebibyte)
1 GB (gigabyte)0.931323 GiB (gigibyte)
1 TB (terabite)0.909495 TiB (tebibyte)

Gigabits per second to megabits per second

Now that we have made the equivalence in units of measure in the case of storage devices or file capacity, it is necessary to calculate the measure of transmission of the information, which is the one used in internet speeds.

The gigabits per second (Gbps) are the measure used to describe the bandwidth of an internet connection such as fiber optic or the less and less used ADSL.

We must know that 1 Gbps is equivalent to 1000 Mbps. When we talk about a 1 Gbps internet connection, this is much higher than others such as 100 Mbps or 300 Mbps that are being offered by different companies. Specifically, with respect to 100 Mbps the speed is 10 times higher, which means that it is capable of downloading or sending a file, depending on the case, in much less time.

In the internet connections Megabit per second is often used as a measure, so 1000 megabits per second equals 1 gigabit per second. 1000 gigabits per second would equal 1 terabit per second in your case. So it would be 1000 Mbps = 1 Gbps. For reference, we must know that 10 Gbps is 1.25 GB / s. In the same way, one gigabit per second is equivalent to 125 MB / s, since it must be divided by 8.

Gigabit per second

1 Gbps

Megabyte per second

125 MB / s

2 Gbps250 MB / s
3 Gbps375 MB / s
4 Gbps500 MB / s
5 Gbps625 MB / s
6 Gbps750 MB / s
7 Gbps875 MB / s
8 Gbps1000 MB / s
10 Gbps1250 MB / s

The gigabits per second (We have already said previously that in the case of the internet we will start from the base of the bits and not the bytes) they are equivalent to 1,000,000,000 bits. A gigabit (Gb) is equivalent to 1/8 of a gigabyte, since it must be remembered that a byte is 8 bits.

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