Gigabyte

Last updated
Multiples of bytes
Decimal
Value Metric
1000kB kilobyte
10002MB megabyte
10003GB gigabyte
10004TB terabyte
10005PB petabyte
10006EB exabyte
10007ZB zettabyte
10008YB yottabyte
Binary
Value IEC JEDEC
1024KiB kibibyte KBkilobyte
10242MiB mebibyte MBmegabyte
10243GiB gibibyte GBgigabyte
10244TiB tebibyte
10245PiB pebibyte
10246EiB exbibyte
10247ZiB zebibyte
10248YiB yobibyte

The gigabyte ( /ˈɡɪɡəbt, ˈɪɡə-/ ) [1] is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix giga means 109 in the International System of Units (SI). Therefore, one gigabyte is 1000000000bytes. The unit symbol for the gigabyte is GB.

The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bits, representing a binary number. Historically, the byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer and for this reason it is the smallest addressable unit of memory in many computer architectures.

Giga ( or ) is a unit prefix in the metric system denoting a factor of a (short-form) billion (109 or 1000000000). It has the symbol G.

International System of Units a system of units of measurement for base and derived physical quantities

The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system, and is the most widely used system of measurement. It comprises a coherent system of units of measurement built on seven base units, which are the second, metre, kilogram, ampere, kelvin, mole, candela, and a set of twenty prefixes to the unit names and unit symbols that may be used when specifying multiples and fractions of the units. The system also specifies names for 22 derived units, such as lumen and watt, for other common physical quantities.

Contents

This definition is used in all contexts of science, engineering, business, and many areas of computing, including hard drive, solid state drive, and tape capacities, as well as data transmission speeds. However, the term is also used in some fields of computer science and information technology to denote 1073741824 (10243 or 230) bytes, particularly for sizes of RAM. The use of gigabyte may thus be ambiguous. Hard disk capacities as described and marketed by drive manufacturers using the standard metric definition of the gigabyte, but when a 400-GB drive's capacity is displayed by, for example, Microsoft Windows, it is reported as 372 GB, using a binary interpretation.

Random-access memory form of computer data storage

Random-access memory is the most common type of memory used for a Rapid-Access Memory which is a form of computer data storage that stores data and machine code currently being used.

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Microsoft Windows families include Windows NT and Windows IoT; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Server or Windows Embedded Compact. Defunct Microsoft Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

To address this ambiguity, the International System of Quantities standardizes the binary prefixes which denote a series of integer powers of 1024. With these prefixes, a memory module that is labeled as having the size 1GB has one gibibyte (1GiB) of storage capacity.

The International System of Quantities (ISQ) is a system based on seven base quantities: length, mass, time, electric current, thermodynamic temperature, amount of substance, and luminous intensity. Other quantities such as area, pressure, and electrical resistance are derived from these base quantities by clear, non-contradictory equations. The ISQ defines the quantities that are measured with the SI units and also includes many other quantities in modern science and technology. The ISQ is defined in the international standard ISO/IEC 80000, and was finalised in 2009 with the publication of ISO 80000-1.

A binary prefix is a unit prefix for multiples of units in data processing, data transmission, and digital information, notably the bit and the byte, to indicate multiplication by a power of 2.

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.

Definition

This 2.5 inch hard drive can hold 500 GB (i.e., 500 billion bytes) of data. Laptop-hard-drive-exposed.jpg
This 2.5 inch hard drive can hold 500 GB (i.e., 500 billion bytes) of data.

The term gigabyte is commonly used to mean either 10003 bytes or 10243 bytes. The latter binary usage originated as compromise technical jargon for byte multiples that needed to be expressed in a power of 2, but lacked a convenient name. As 1024 (210) is approximately 1000 (103), roughly corresponding to SI multiples, it was used for binary multiples as well.

In 1998 the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) published standards for binary prefixes, requiring that the gigabyte strictly denote 10003 bytes and gibibyte denote 10243 bytes. By the end of 2007, the IEC Standard had been adopted by the IEEE, EU, and NIST, and in 2009 it was incorporated in the International System of Quantities. Nevertheless, the term gigabyte continues to be widely used with the following two different meanings:

International Electrotechnical Commission organization

The International Electrotechnical Commission is an Swiss association that acts as an international standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as "electrotechnology". IEC standards cover a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution to home appliances and office equipment, semiconductors, fibre optics, batteries, solar energy, nanotechnology and marine energy as well as many others. The IEC also manages three global conformity assessment systems that certify whether equipment, system or components conform to its International Standards.

European Union Economic and political union of European states

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

Base 10 (decimal)

Based on powers of 10, this definition uses the prefix giga- as defined in the International System of Units (SI). This is the recommended definition by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). [2] This definition is used in networking contexts and most storage media, particularly hard drives, flash-based storage, [3] [4] and DVDs, and is also consistent with the other uses of the SI prefix in computing, such as CPU clock speeds or measures of performance. The file manager of Mac OS X version 10.6 and later versions are a notable example of this usage in software, which report files sizes in decimal units. [5]

Computer network collection of autonomous computers interconnected by a single technology

A computer network is a digital telecommunications network which allows nodes to share resources. In computer networks, computing devices exchange data with each other using connections between nodes. These data links are established over cable media such as wires or optic cables, or wireless media such as Wi-Fi.

Flash memory electronic non-volatile computer storage device

Flash memory is an electronic (solid-state) non-volatile computer storage medium that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed.

DVD Optical disc

DVD is a digital optical disc storage format invented and developed in 1995. The medium can store any kind of digital data and is widely used for software and other computer files as well as video programs watched using DVD players. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than compact discs while having the same dimensions.

Base 2 (binary)

The binary definition uses powers of the base 2, as does the architectural principle of binary computers. This usage is widely promulgated by some operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows in reference to computer memory (e.g., RAM). This definition is synonymous with the unambiguous unit gibibyte.

Consumer confusion

Since the first disk drive, the IBM 350, disk drive manufacturers expressed hard drive capacities using decimal prefixes. With the advent of gigabyte-range drive capacities, manufacturers based most consumer hard drive capacities in certain size classes expressed in decimal gigabytes, such as "500 GB". The exact capacity of a given drive model is usually slightly larger than the class designation. Practically all manufacturers of hard disk drives and flash-memory disk devices [3] [4] continue to define one gigabyte as 1000000000bytes, which is displayed on the packaging. Some operating systems such as OS X [6] express hard drive capacity or file size using decimal multipliers, while others such as Microsoft Windows report size using binary multipliers. This discrepancy causes confusion, as a disk with an advertised capacity of, for example, 400 GB (meaning 400000000000bytes) might be reported by the operating system as 372 GB, meaning 372 GiB.

The JEDEC memory standards use IEEE 100 nomenclature which quote the gigabyte as 1073741824bytes (230 bytes). [7]

The difference between units based on decimal and binary prefixes increases as a semi-logarithmic (linear-log) function—for example, the decimal kilobyte value is nearly 98% of the kibibyte, a megabyte is under 96% of a mebibyte, and a gigabyte is just over 93% of a gibibyte value. This means that a 300 GB (279 GiB) hard disk might be indicated variously as 300 GB, 279 GB or 279 GiB, depending on the operating system. As storage sizes increase and larger units are used, these differences become even more pronounced. Some legal challenges have been waged over this confusion such as a lawsuit against drive manufacturer Western Digital. [8] [9] Western Digital settled the challenge and added explicit disclaimers to products that the usable capacity may differ from the advertised capacity. [8] Seagate was sued on similar grounds and also settled. [8] [10]

Because of its physical design, the capacity of modern computer random access memory devices, such as DIMM modules, is always a multiple of a power of 1024. It is thus convenient to use prefixes denoting powers of 1024, known as binary prefixes, in describing them. For example, a memory capacity of 1073741824bytes is conveniently expressed as 1  GiB rather than as 1.074 GB. The former specification is, however, often quoted as "1 GB" when applied to random access memory. [11]

Software allocates memory in varying degrees of granularity as needed to fulfill data structure requirements and binary multiples are usually not required. Other computer capacities and rates, like storage hardware size, data transfer rates, clock speeds, operations per second, etc., do not depend on an inherent base, and are usually presented in decimal units. For example, the manufacturer of a "300 GB" hard drive is claiming a capacity of 300000000000bytes, not 300x10243 (which would be 322122547200) bytes.

Examples of gigabyte-sized storage

Unicode character

The "gigabyte" symbol is encoded by Unicode at code point U+3387SQUARE GB ❱. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

The kilobyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information.

The kilobit is a multiple of the unit bit for digital information or computer storage. The prefix kilo- (symbol k) is defined in the International System of Units (SI) as a multiplier of 103 (1 thousand), and therefore,

The megabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. Its recommended unit symbol is MB. The unit prefix mega is a multiplier of 1000000 (106) in the International System of Units (SI). Therefore, one megabyte is one million bytes of information. This definition has been incorporated into the International System of Quantities.

The terabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix tera represents the fourth power of 1000, and means 1012 in the International System of Units (SI), and therefore one terabyte is one trillion (short scale) bytes. The unit symbol for the terabyte is TB.

The yottabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix yotta indicates multiplication by the eighth power of 1000 or 1024 in the International System of Units (SI), and therefore one yottabyte is one septillion (one long scale quadrillion) bytes. The unit symbol for the yottabyte is YB.

The mebibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The binary prefix mebi means 220; therefore one mebibyte is equal to 1048576bytes, i.e., 1024 kibibytes. The unit symbol for the mebibyte is MiB.

The tebibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. It is a member of the set of units with binary prefixes defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its unit symbol is TiB.

The megabit is a multiple of the unit bit for digital information. The prefix mega (symbol M) is defined in the International System of Units (SI) as a multiplier of 106 (1 million), and therefore

The gigabit is a multiple of the unit bit for digital information or computer storage. The prefix giga (symbol G) is defined in the International System of Units (SI) as a multiplier of 109 (1 billion, short scale), and therefore

An order of magnitude is a factor of ten. A quantity growing by four orders of magnitude implies it has grown by a factor of 10,000 or 104.

A unit prefix is a specifier or mnemonic that is prepended to units of measurement to indicate multiples or fractions of the units. Units of various sizes are commonly formed by the use of such prefixes. The prefixes of the metric system, such as kilo and milli, represent multiplication by powers of ten. In information technology it is common to use binary prefixes, which are based on powers of two. Historically, many prefixes have been used or proposed by various sources, but only a narrow set has been recognised by standards organisations.

File size is a measure of how much data a computer file contains or, alternately, how much storage it consumes. Typically, file size is expressed in units of measurement based on the byte. By convention, file size units use either a metric prefix or a binary prefix.

IEEE 1541-2002 is a standard issued in 2002 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) concerning the use of prefixes for binary multiples of units of measurement related to digital electronics and computing.

The zebibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. It is a member of the set of units with binary prefixes defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its unit symbol is ZiB.

This article presents a timeline of binary prefixes used to name memory units, in comparison of decimal and binary prefixes for measurement of information and computer storage.

In computing and telecommunications, a unit of information is the capacity of some standard data storage system or communication channel, used to measure the capacities of other systems and channels. In information theory, units of information are also used to measure the entropy of random variables and information contained in messages.

Gigabyte may refer to:

References

  1. The prefix giga may be pronounced two ways. Gigabyte - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  2. http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html Prefixes for binary multiples
  3. 1 2 SanDisk USB Flash Drive "Note: 1 megabyte (MB) = 1 million bytes; 1 gigabyte (GB) = 1 billion bytes."
  4. 1 2 Storage Chart "Megabyte (MB) = 1,000,000 bytes; 1 Gigabyte (GB) = 1,000,000,000 bytes; 1TB = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes"
  5. "How Mac OS X reports drive capacity". Apple Inc. 27 August 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
  6. "How OS X and iOS report storage capacity - Apple Support". support.apple.com. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  7. JEDEC Solid State Technology Association (December 2002). "Terms, Definitions, and Letter Symbols for Microcomputers, Microprocessors, and Memory Integrated Circuits" (PDF). Jesd 100B.01.
  8. 1 2 3 Mook, Nate (28 June 2006). "Western Digital Settles Capacity Suit". betanews. Retrieved 30 March 2009.
  9. Baskin, Scott D. (1 February 2006). "Defendant Western Digital Corporation's Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Approval". Orin Safier v. Western Digital Corporation. Western Digital Corporation . Retrieved 30 March 2009.
  10. Judge, Peter (26 October 2007). "Seagate pays out over gigabyte definition". ZDNet. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  11. Percival, Colin. "Why is 1 GB equal to 10^9 bytes instead of 2^30?". tarsnap.com. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  12. Unicode Consortium (2019). "The Unicode Standard 12.0 – CJK Compatibility ❰ Range: 3300—33FF ❱" (PDF). Unicode.org. Retrieved 24 May 2019.