What Does Megabyte Mean?

Megabyte (MB) is a data measurement unit applied to digital computer or media storage. One MB equals one million (106 or 1,000,000) bytes. The International System of Units (SI) defines the mega prefix as a 10 multiplier or one million (1,000,000) bits. The binary mega prefix is 1,048,576 bits or 1,024 Kb. The SI and binary differential is approximately 4.86 percent.


Techopedia Explains Megabyte

Central processing units (CPU) are built with data control instructions for bits being the smallest data measurement unit. A bit, the smallest data measurement unit, is a magnetized and polarized binary digit that represents stored digital data in random access memory (RAM) or read-only memory (ROM). A bit is measured in seconds and characterized by logical values 0 (off) or 1 (on). Eight bits equal one byte. Bytes measure device communication speed in thousands of bytes per second.

Megabytes continue to apply to a number of measurement contexts, including digitally supported computer and media data, memory and software according to file format as well as compression and drive capabilities. MB measures text format, bitmap images, video/media files or compressed/uncompressed audio. For example, 1,024,000 bytes (1,000 × 1,024) often represents the formatted aptitudes of a 3.5-inch hard drive floppy disc with 1.44 MB (1,474,560 bytes). Internet files are often measured in MBs. For example, a network connection with an eight MBps DTR must reach a web DTR of one megabyte (MB) per second (MBps).

In 2000, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) incorporated the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) formal approval of SI metric prefixes (for example, MB as one million bytes and KB as one thousand bytes).


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…