Computers use binary code to store or transmit data. It is a very simple language. Binary code is very absolute, there is no in-between.
- yes or no
- on or off
- light or no light
- reflection or no reflection
- magnetic flux or no magnetic flux
- voltage or no voltage
- one or zero
Each piece of the binary code is a bit (a contraction of the phrase, “binary digit”). The bits are usually grouped in eights for organizational purposes, also called bytes (a contraction of the phrase, “by eight”). On a side note, a group of four bits is called a nibble, which is a small byte (ha! Get it?!)
Bits (abbreviated with a lowercase b) are usually used when referring to transmission speeds or compression rates.
- 128kb/s mp3 file
- 9.8Mb/s video stream
Bytes (abbreviated with an uppercase B) are usually used when referring to file size or drive space.
- 8 GB RAM
- 1 TB HDD
|Megabit||mb||10242 bits||1024 kilobits|
|Gigabit||Gb||10243 bits||1024 megabits|
|Terabit||Tb||10244 bits||1024 gigabits|
Bits typically use the binary prefix (210 = 1024) for kilo-, mega-, etc.
|Kilobyte||kB||1 thousand bytes|
|Megabyte||MB||1 million bytes||1 thousand kilobytes|
|Gigabyte||GB||1 billion bytes||1 thousand megabytes|
|Terabyte||TB||1 trillion bytes||1 thousand gigabytes|
Bytes typically use the Internation System of Units (SI) prefix for kilo-, mega-, etc.