KB vs KiB, GB vs GiB, …

  • 28 December 2020
  • 3 comments
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Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Because this article caught my eye and the topic is still important.

https://blocksandfiles.com/2020/12/04/the-terrible-tib-gib-and-pib-game/

You probably know, there is difference in the way hardware and software vendors quote their capacities.

Normally hardware vendors use KB, MB, GB, TB, … Here 1 KB means 10^3 byte (base 10) = 1000 bytes (k stands for kilo which means 1000)

Software vendors instead use KiB, MiB, GiB, TiB, … Here 1 KiB means 2^10 byte (base 2) = 1024 bytes. As you can see, size-difference with KB vs. KiB is quite small: 24 byte (2,3 % less capacity with KB)

When it comes to greater unites, difference is getting larger:

  • 1 GB = 10^9 vs 1GiB = 2^30 = 1 073 741 824 --> ~ 7 % less capacity with GB
  • 1 TB = 10^12 vs 1 TiB = 2^40 = 1 099 511 627 776 --> ~ 9 % less capacity with TB (~90 GiB)

 

The greater the unit, the greater the difference between base of 10 and 2.

I (quickly and dirty) created a small graph to show percentage increase over units

1=KB, 2=GB, 3=TB, ...

Another outcome of this article is the fact, that not all vendors use the same units for disks capacities for example (sometimes not even within the same document). So one talk about GB anther about GiB. Another example of making this topic more terrible is Apple. Apple changed used unit from base 2 to base 10 with iOS 10 (was that a coincidence :thinking: )

So take care what unit vendors are talking about. You could be in serious troubles when you size for TiB and buy TB!

 


3 comments

Userlevel 6
Badge +2

 Been there, done that :) We were in serious trouble over the terminology when the industry started using it in the early 2010s. The customer would expect a TB where the vendor has mentioned TiB. 

I think that there are many typing errors in https://blocksandfiles.com/2020/12/04/the-terrible-tib-gib-and-pib-game/. For example, in “KiBs are bigger than KBs, MiBs are much bigger than MiBs, GiBs are very much bigger than GBs, and TBs are exceedingly larger than TiBs”, the second “MiBs” should be “MBs”, “TBs” and “TiBs” should swap positions. “a GB is 1,073,741,824 bytes whereas a GiB is 1,000,000,000 bytes”, “GB” and “GiB” should also swap positions. Right? I want to tell the author, but I cannot find the contact details.

Furthermore, I think customer often expect “TiB”, and the vendor mentioned “TB”. For example, John wants to buy a 2T disk, he will expect to see the label on the disk should be 2 Tib, but the vendor tell him it’s 2TB.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

I think that there are many typing errors in https://blocksandfiles.com/2020/12/04/the-terrible-tib-gib-and-pib-game/. For example, in “KiBs are bigger than KBs, MiBs are much bigger than MiBs, GiBs are very much bigger than GBs, and TBs are exceedingly larger than TiBs”, the second “MiBs” should be “MBs”, “TBs” and “TiBs” should swap positions. “a GB is 1,073,741,824 bytes whereas a GiB is 1,000,000,000 bytes”, “GB” and “GiB” should also swap positions. Right? I want to tell the author, but I cannot find the contact details.

Furthermore, I think customer often expect “TiB”, and the vendor mentioned “TB”. For example, John wants to buy a 2T disk, he will expect to see the label on the disk should be 2 Tib, but the vendor tell him it’s 2TB.

I hope you did not find errors in my post :wink:

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