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Discussion about centralization took place at Talk:Binary prefix.

Establish a Convention? (April 2002)[edit]

We need to establish a convention for Wikipedia about the word "megabyte" because of the conflicting definitions, or else we cannot ever use the word. Should we go with SI, i.e. 106 bytes, and then use the new MiB for 220 bytes? AxelBoldt, Friday, April 26, 2002

If we accept this convention for the word "megabyte", we then should do the same for "kilobyte", i.e. 103 bytes and kiB for 210 bytes, too. I know children look rather confused when I explain to them that km is a 1000 m, while kB is 1024 bytes, because computers work better with binary numbers... Maria Renee Jenkins, Sunday, April 28, 2002

It is our task to follow standards, not ignore them. The plain reality is, majority usage for MB is the binary MB, and I ain't talking about a small majority either. The fact that "there are 1024 somethingorothers in a KB" is one of the very few things that Joe Average computer user really does understand. And where did this Wikipedia "policy" come from all of a sudden? It's a really bad idea. Tannin 13:18, 19 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I picked the "policy" since after my question above, nobody expressed an opinion either way for quite some time. The policy does not ignore standards, but follows them. I agree with your assessment of majority usage, but I don't think it is a large majority: the average computer user encounters megabytes in four contexts:

  • hard drive capacity
  • memory size
  • file size
  • bandwidth

Decimal megabytes are used in two of the four contexts. If you prefer we pick the opposite policy, then you need to invent a name for 106 bytes, and you need to make the case why Wikipedia should ignore international standards in favor of this new name. AxelBoldt 17:14, 21 Sep 2003 (UTC)

These are all good reasons to not take sides by pretending that one of the two major meanings of the word doesn't exist or is wrong. Rather, when the difference matters, be explicit about the usage of the term. --Brion 17:49, 21 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I don't think that the sentence "This is the definition used in Wikipedia" pretends that the other meaning doesn't exist or is wrong; it just fixes a convention to avoid having to change many links from "megabyte" to "megabyte (i.e. 106 bytes)" or "megabyte (i.e. 220 bytes)". But I can live with that as well. AxelBoldt 09:29, 22 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Proclaiming one to be the only definition used here would seem to require tracking down all uses of the term, deciding for sure which meaning was meant (possibly requiring further research), and either leaving it or changing it to "mebibyte". Letting normal usage stand allows further clarification where details are known and relevant. --Brion 09:38, 22 Sep 2003 (UTC)

A vote has been started on whether Wikipedia should use these prefixes all the time, only in highly technical contexts, or never. - Omegatron 14:50, July 12, 2005 (UTC)

Binary million -vs- decimal million (Dec 2004)[edit]

After some double-checking and extensive web searching, it appears that the overwhelming majority consider a MegaByte to be a binary million, i.e. 10^20. As far as I can see, only hard drive and floppy drive manufacturers use a decimal million (10^6), primarily for marketing/misleading reasons. example. I've worked in IT for 10 years, and I've never even heard of a Mebibyte. Regards, --Rebroad 19:58, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Just realised that this article has been misleading since May 2003 (see) when the more commonly used usage was moved to 2nd in the list. --Rebroad 20:06, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

This was pretty clearly not NPOV, reproducing the "it's a conspiracy by hard drive manufacturers" line. I've added some unambiguous cases--for instance, the CD standard uses base 2, whereas the DVD standards use base 10. I've also tried to make it clear that hard drive manufacturers almost always use base 10, while OS software and humans mostly use base 2. As a final note, I've added a comment about MHz to go along with the discussion of Mb, making it clear that although people measure RAM capacity in base-2, they measure RAM speed in base 10. Now, can we all switch to SI and stop being needlessly confusing? Please? Metamatic 21:05, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Nooo! We must adamantly resist all attempts to correct that which we have grown comfortable with!  :-)
“Megabytes have always been base 2, and always been written as MB”, they sneer. “Everyone knows that 1MB is 1024KB, unless you’re talking about DVDs, or reading manufacturer specs for a hard drive, and that’s just the hard drive manufacturers being stupid. Everyone knows that ‘K’ on a computer means 1024; except for speeds, where it means 1000, except for file download speeds where it means 1024, except when it’s the speed of your modem, when it’s 1000. Everyone knows that. What, are you stupid?” [1] - Omegatron 15:33, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)
News flash -- majority rules.
Number of users of Microsoft Windows (where MB= 1,024 KB and KB= 1,024 bytes) and similar computing environments: in the millions (or billions). Number of crusaders advocating "kibibytes", etc.: in the thousands (maybe). Number of people who actually consistently refer to binary byte sizes as a "Mebibyte": maybe a couple hundred?
I refer you to earlier comments; for example:
  • "After some double-checking and extensive web searching, it appears that the overwhelming majority consider a MegaByte to be a binary million [1,024 KB]...";
  • "not yet accepted and are simply ignored by ...This is the reality. Hardly anyone uses mebis. " ; etc.
- Liberty 23:34, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

That is not correct, Microsoft Windows uses different methods: [2]
The majority of Windows users doesn't know about binary prefixes and assumes they are decimal.
There for, having to use the prefixes in decimal sense should be a must, because almost nobody uses them in the binary sense.
How much people are crusading for keeping the old system with ambiguities,
compare that to the people who don't know about the binary prefixes.
(the millions, billions of consumers who probably got a few physics classes)
The unknowing consumers are getting confused about sizes their windows report and invent the hard drive manufacturers conspiracy theory.
Rebroad, isn't saying that you are used to work with it against NPOV? Floppy drive didn't used a million but 1024000B.
The reason you haven't heard of the new prefixes Rebroad is because it's a new standard, it just takes time to come to you.
This double meanings are ambiguous and should be addressed, either by clarifying every use in every article about capacities or
using a standard. After all, wikipedia isn't just for IT-specialists.
The new SI-prefixes are perfect for solving the ambiguous problem.
Thelennonorth (talk) 20:19, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
The new SI-prefixes are certainly not perfect for solving the ambiguity problem. The term "megabyte" along with the symbol MB are very commonly (overwhelmingly in my experience) used in the base-2 context. Simply declaring that the word and symbol are now base-10 is to declare the vast majority of computer science literature to be broken. Similarly declaring that it is always base-2 would cause the same problem in electrical engineering literature (so am told, this is not my field).
The only way to fix this properly would be to completely abandon the terms and prefixes. Using, say, the terms 'beemeg' and 'deemeg' along with the units 'bMB' and 'dMB' for binary and decimal would remove ambiguity while enforcing the idea that the prefix-less terms are context-dependent. (talk) 22:23, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
As shown here, in 'standards': (talk) 10:03, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Megabytes in Use" Useful? (June 2005)[edit]

I don't think the "Megabytes in Use" section is very useful, particularly the part about a megaybte storing roughly one book, 100 small images, or 1 minute of audio. Given that books come in all sizes, designs, and point sizes, this comparison is virtually useless. 100 small images? How small? JPEG? GIF? PNG? TIFF? 1 minute of audio as mp3 at 128kbit is indeed roughly 1 MB. As a WAV file, it's 10 MB however. I think this part should either be removed or replaced with a more clearly defined standard of measurement. pogo, June 2005

It should either be presented as "very roughly" or else made more specific, like saying 128kbit/s as you said. - Omegatron 02:45, Jun 20, 2005 (UTC)

Regarding "Adoption by the NIST" (Oct 2005)[edit]

A definition of the IEC proposal on the NIST does not, in itself, constitute advocacy of adoption, nor does it necessarily represent an official endorsement of the standard.

I refer you to the actual text appearing on the single page at the NIST that touches on the topic [3] (which, incidently, has an unclear authorship date). For example (emphasis mine):

"... the IEEE Standards Board decided that IEEE standards will use the conventional, internationally adopted, definitions of the SI prefixes. Mega will mean 1 000 000, except that the base-two definition may be used (if such usage is explicitly pointed out on a case-by-case basis) until such time that prefixes for binary multiples are adopted by an appropriate standards body."

I'd be interested in any references to actual, recent, implemented use of the newer terms in NIST activities... Just as a point of reference, note also that NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency... - Liberty 04:03, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

  • IEEE
    • Standard: IEEE 1541-2002, IEEE Standard for Prefixes for Binary Multiples
      • "1541-2002 (SCC14) IEEE Trial-Use Standard for Prefixes for Binary Multiples [No negative comments received during trial-use period, which is now complete; Sponsor requests elevation of status to full-use.] Recommendation: Elevate status of standard from trial-use to full-use. Editorial staff will be notified to implement the necessary changes. The standard will be due for a maintenance action in 2007." IEEE-SA STANDARDS BOARD STANDARDS REVIEW COMMITTEE (RevCom) MEETING AGENDA 19 March 2005
      • "1541-2002 IEEE Standard for Prefixes for Binary Multiples (Upgraded to full use from trial use)" [4]
  • NIST
    • "The IEC has adopted prefixes for binary multiples in International Standard IEC 60027-2, Second edition, 2000-11, Letter symbols to be used in electrical technology—Part 2: Telecommunications and electronics. ... Although these prefixes are not part of the SI, they should be used in the field of information technology to avoid the incorrect usage of the SI prefixes." NIST Special Publication 330 2001 Edition The International System of Units (SI)
    • "Because the SI prefixes strictly represent powers of 10, they should not be used to represent powers of 2. Thus, one kilobit, or 1 kbit, is 1000 bit and not 210 bit = 1024 bit. To alleviate this ambiguity, prefixes for binary multiples have been adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for use in information technology."
    • "The new prefixes will eliminate the present confusion between powers of 1000 and powers of 1024 since in the field of information technology the SI prefix names and symbols for decimal multiples are now often used to represent binary multiples." News briefs Section 1.9
    • "With significant input from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the IEC adopted kibi (Ki), mebi (Mi), gibi (Gi), tebi (Ti), pebi (Pi) and exbi (Ei) to represent exponentially increasing binary multiples. A kibibyte, therefore, equals 2 to the 10th power, or 1,024 bytes. Likewise a mebibyte equals 2 to the 20th power, or 1,048,576 bytes. The new prefixes for binary multiples, which parallel the metric prefixes, will increase precision in expressing electronic information." Representative's Report - April 1999

Sounds like an endorsement to me... — Omegatron 04:48, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

The facts on the ground are that the largest OSes (Microsoft's, POSIX (Unix, BSD, Linux, OS X...) use the binary system, and this it the computer arena where people most often come in contact with these metrics. At some (most?) CPUs run at binary-based speeds, e.g. the first 65c02 was 1.024 MHz, as I recall. Changed the page to reflect that.

That's a decimal speed. A binary speed would be something like "1 MHz" = 1.024 MHz. — Omegatron 23:37, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
The claim that "Linux uses binary" is false in its generality. The kernel boot messages refer to disk sizes in decimal units, fdisk uses decimal units, etc.

Why is there a link to a picture of flies having sex?

Omegatron is right about endorsement.
Linux kernel has adopted the standard, see for yourself:
Apple's new Desktop OS's, starting from Snow Leopard also uses the standard,
Thelennonorth (talk) 20:29, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Usage objection[edit]

Someone inserted and someone reverted:

"Because of a traditional inconsistency, "megabytes" are often intended to mean mebibytes in common speech. This usage is not recommended as it creates confusion (see below) and has been facing increasing opposition by many technical standards and legal entities in the past few years."

Let's discuss this before putting it back in production. I'll state my objects to the addition first:

1. I think the entire addition is worded and structured poorly.
a. "Because of a traditional inconsistency" seems very vague and imprecise. Maybe it should be, "Because it has meant different things to different industries"
b. ""megabytes" are often intended to mean mebibytes in common speech. again seems vague and also seems to be a conclusion that should have a citation. I would suggest something like, ""megabyte" can mean either "megabyte" or "mebibyte" when used in common speech and even technical specifications."
c. "This usage is not recommended". What is "this usage"? Does this mean the term "megabyte" should not be used? Or does this mean "megabyte" should not be used when the speaker means, "mebibyte"?
d. "has been facing increasing opposition by many technical standards and legal entities". I think "increasing opposition" is a little extreme. The SI definition and the "mebi" prefix for the binary calculation are gaining support in various technical and international standards, but opposition implies something more.
2. Some parts of the addition seem speculative or make conclusions.
a. ""megabytes" are often intended to mean mebibytes in common speech.". Where is the evidence that this is the case? And what is "common speech"? Common to computer technicians, photo-journalists, and stamp collectors talking about system RAM, the size of the DVD rip they pulled of the web, or how much disk space they have left on their iPod?
b. "This usage is not recommended". Not recommended by whom? NIST, IBM, NASA, GAO, EU, UN? Certainly an encyclodedia isn't making such a recommendation.

The entire addition seems to be an objection to the use of megabyte with supporting argument. It's taking a position and promoting a particular POV. It might be a common POV, but "common" isn't necessarily "neutral". I vote to strike the edit. --JJLatWiki 16:57, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I think this is the best version:
The usage of "megabytes" is ambiguous, as they can mean either 1000 (the technically accurate definition) or 1024 submultiples (a "mebibyte"). The confusion originated as compromise technical jargon for the byte multiples, that needed to be expressed by the powers of 2 but lacked convenient naming. As 1024 (2^10) is roughly equal to 1000 (10^3), rougly corresponding SI multiples began to be used as approximate binary multiples. However, in the past few years a number of technical standards and legal entities (IEC, IEEE, EU, etc.) have addressed this ambiguity and discouraged the use of "megabyte" as a synonym for a "mebibyte" by promoting the "mebibyte" (MiB) instead. This shift is reflected in an increasing number of software projects, but most file managers still show file sizes as "megabytes" ("MB").
If you don't like it, please don't just delete it, but improve it. 07:20, 11 January 2007 (UTC)


I've again removed the sentence "So, technically, it is the operating system that creates the confusion, rather than the hard disk vendor." This sentence implies that the hard disk vendor is more correct than the operating system vendor in their choice of units, which cannot be established without the implied POV that the SI units are better than binary units. JulesH 14:45, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I weakly disagree. "better" would imply POV, but "technically" is neutral. Based on the current standard of "Mebi", "Gibi", etc, and the fact that kilo and mega meant 1000 and 1000000 long before computer programmers inappropriately used them to describe 1024 and 1024^2, I would have to argue that the sentence is technically correct. I would also argue that the hard disk vendors ARE more correct. Mega meant 1000000 long before it ever meant 1024^2, and rather than create an appropriate abbreviation for 1024^2, programmers decided to use mega for almost (but not quite) everything. So drive vendors have at least a couple hundred years of history to support there usage and even some scattered support within modern non-disk related, computing history. OS vendors have a few decades of spotty support for their use of mega, which is entirely (that I know of) isolated to their niche. I don't like the way the sentence sounds, but technically it is correct. --JJLatWiki 21:08, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I think the replacement sentence you've put in works a lot better. Thanks. JulesH 23:25, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
The hard disk vendors are more correct because they put the meaning on the box.
They say that a gigabyte means 1 000 000 000 bytes for them.
Reference: [5]
Thelennonorth (talk) 20:35, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Am I the only one to get the irony that physics now thinks in terms of bits, at Planck scales? (talk) 10:06, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Time ambiguity[edit]

"In the past few years, standards and government authorities including IEC, IEEE, EU, and NIST, have addressed this ambiguity by promoting the use of megabyte to describe strictly 1000² bytes and "mebibyte" to describe 1024² bytes."

This is unclear as to when "the past few years" is. 20 years down the line, it certainly won't be true. Does anyone know when IEC, IEEE, EU, and NIST began to promote the use of these terms? If so, it should be added in the article. Meviin 01:31, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

from the 1999 for the IEC (I believe that the 'full use' recommendation of the IEC was in actually in 2005) to somewhere at the end of this year for the EU... (I think that a European Directive was voted on recently (few weeks), but it's official publication is planed for Q2 2007. -- Shmget 02:28, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Mega = 1024[edit]

I'm very disappointed to find something so stupid on Wikipedia; every child in computer science learns that 1 Megabyte = 1024 Kilobytes, it's widely accepted in the computer science community to count in 1024 (2^10), Microsoft Windows & Linux use it to show storage capacities. So where does this 1000 come from ? stupid, stupid, stupid. Maybe it's better to throw wikipedia to the garbage can and buy a real encyclopedia.

~~Marc —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:12, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Check the real history. MB in floppy disk capacities really were 1 024 000 bytes. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 19:31, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
... and, whether you like it or not, in hard disk drives, 1 GB is 1 000 000 000 B. The computer industry has created the confusion. Wikipedia is simply explaining it as best it can. Thunderbird2 (talk) 09:44, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
And also 1 MB is equal to 1000 kB. I think what you were taught is 1 MiB = 1024 KiB.  [ Derek Leung | LM ] 21:33, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

The way I see it there isn't much confusion, either you know why there are two definitions and apply them according to the circumstances... Or you have no idea so it either a. shouldn't matter, or b. you learn what the situation is. People who bitch and moan that hard drive manufacturers are ripping them off are using phony naivety to get all worked up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Three definitions, actually: 1000×1000 (SI compatible) 1024×1024 (RAM/CPU compatible) and 1024×1000 (hybrid, used by some FDD/HDD manufacturers). SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 16:32, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
1024×1024 is "RAM/CPU compatible"? It is more than that: it is both historically and currently the predominant usage. Edam (talk) 15:34, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

We have the SI, which is very well established. As a standards committee we have ISO, which is THE authority on units and their naming. I think it's a BAD idea to settle these things on the web, by voting, where every TD&H can yell something. ISO cannot define kilo to be anything else than 1000 anymore, so in support of their inevitable decision:
1: Kilo = 1000 was first. Us computer guys /gals misused it FIRST, to mean 1024. So let's not keep investing in a lost cause, admit the error and correct it as soon as we can.
2: Users, in the age of terabyte disks and gigabyte memory, don't really care if their memory is a few percent larger or smaller than stated.
3: We can use mega=1000000 and leave mebibi etc for specialists and spec sheets.
4: What is the problem of printing "1.024 kB" ?
Erik6000 (talk) 08:34, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, for starters, if someone asks me how much memory is available for dynamic instances of object type X, and I answer two megabytes, then they will go away thinking that they can create 2048 dynamic objects each using 1024 bytes of memory... and they'll be correct. If you were responsible for setting the size of that memory pool and you set it to 2,000,000 bytes and answered the same question with the same answer, your application would fail at some point in the future, and it would be your fault.
Wikipedia isn't the venue for us computer gals/guys to correct things. It's the venue for us editors to document things as they are in the real world. Things like, for example, that this unit is ambiguous and has had three different meanings. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 14:27, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
For starters, you could also say million to avoid confusion anyway. Also when you need to have a minimum tranmission speed to transfer those objects for some purpose. You say to the network person: "I need xMB per second" then that person will use the decimal meaning because it's in his field. Storage: RAM's are binary HDD are decimal, hmm still rather confusing. Those new units are a neat thing to solve the ambiguity.--Thelennonorth (talk) 15:31, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
But the new units are only used by a tiny minority so Wikipedia doesn't force them down other's throats because Wikipedia reports the world how it really is.Glider87 (talk) 14:23, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

WP:BOLD edits[edit]

Kbrose has been making bold revisions to the article without discussion, and I've reverted twice. The essay was supposed to be WP:BRD, not WP:BRRRRRD. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:10, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't see any major differences between the version as of 2008-11-13 and the current version -- it seems to me that the "bold" (and inaccurate) changes were actually introduced by Likebox without discussion. Shreevatsa (talk) 19:16, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
It looked to me that Likebox just reordered the discussion. However, I'll concede that, provide that we add a note that the stadards bodies' efforts are apparently unsuccessful. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:36, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
This also is factually wrong. They are not unsuccessful. Naturally these standardization efforts take time, people don't like change. In other technical fields, the prefix Mega- means exactly what it should. In telecom, a T1 line always has transmitted 1.544 Megabits/s, that is 1,544,000 bits/s. It is about time, that a technical discipline like IT, adheres to existing standards and ends the confusion it has created. Kbrose (talk) 19:44, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you're right that it should be happening. However, it isn't happening. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:15, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
If it weren't happening, we wouldn't have these exchanges. Facts remain, that these definitions are in place, are being adopted increasingly in documentation, software, and only people who don't like them argue about it. WP should reflect on technical issues what the standards are, and also mention the history and the struggles of transition. I am sure there are better ways to present that, but the most recent changes were steps by refuseniks in a backward direction. Kbrose (talk) 20:26, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
This is false, and you should know it, per the Wikipedia debate as to whether these should be included in Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia was the most common use outside of the standards publications themselves, before the decision was made not to use them for the very reason that no one else was. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:19, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Furthermore, it doesn't seem to be the dispute should be in the lead. But that's a matter of opinion. What's not a matter of opinion is that Wikipedia, itself, was the most common use of the term. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:24, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
As for previous discussions, the most recent seems to be at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Archive/Complete rewrite of Units of Measurements (June 2008)#IEC Prefixes (Purplebox), it which it was stated that it was used in scientific publications, but not in "the real world". However, it doesn't seem to be being used, in reality, in scientific publications. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:00, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I reverted back to the pre-edit-war / pre-bold-edit version. Per WP:BRD, we've done the bold, revert bit, the next step is to discuss. Per WP:EW, the edit warrring needs to stop. Whichever way you look at it, proposed changes should be discussed here, and of course they should be verifiably supported by reliable sources. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 14:45, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Merge in Mebibyte ?[edit]

Any objections ? Megapixie (talk) 09:49, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Opposed. As long as all the multiples of the bit and byte units have their own article, this should obviously not be merged. However, I am for the DELETION (conversion to redirects) of all articles that discuss the multiples separately and merge them ALL into one article discussing the unit, as they all just discuss the same topic, a multiple of their respective unit. The customary or historic usages of these multiples in various fields can still be discussed in paragraphs. There is a lot of duplication in these articles regarding the binary/decimal controversy. Kbrose (talk) 16:49, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Seems like a reasonable approach to me. Step one might be the creation of a draft article in userspace... any other thoughts ? Megapixie (talk) 08:31, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Opposed. Megabyte is the contentious term. When I search for Mebibyte, I want to know about the Mebibyte, not the Megabyte (even if it is sometimes a synonym, it's not always and it would simply lead to more of the confusion the term is meant to eliminate). BossAnders (talk) 02:42, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Strong Oppose 1.) Megabyte is the more common term, and 2.) they cover two completely different aspects. Since these merge templates have become stale, I'll be removing them shortly unless there is further discussion. — Ched ~ (yes?)/© 08:02, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Oppose merge, support removal of template, per Ched. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 12:46, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Abstract Knowledge vs Useful, Accessible Knowledge[edit]

- I browsed to this page hoping to quickly clarify a simple and straightforward problem and instead stumbled across this wearisome, abstract from someone's Master thesis. I became mired therein. This page is uselessly tortuous. Please remember that such a commonplace subject as this is likely to draw many people for perfectly mundane reasons. Please modify the article so that it responds to simple, superficial inquiries (suh as my own) as well as to more indepth inquiries. Thank you. (Have not logged on in a few years)—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Are you sure you are on the talk page of the right article? This has one paragraph on what a megabyte is, and a section on its three (unfortunately) different definitions, followed by a list of examples. It's a pretty short article. What would you like to see in it? Shreevatsa (talk) 21:17, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

"Mebibyte" is rediculous[edit]

Anyone who has worked in the computer and networking industries long enough should not have much of a problem understanding which means which. Bandwidth is in metric bits, raw HDD capacity is in metric bytes, and memory is in binary bytes. If I tell people (who are confused) how to differentiate I advise them to use the following:

   "m" = 1000  (smaller sum), metric
   "M" = 1024  (larger sum), binary
   "b" = bit   (usually 1/8th of a byte)
   "B" = byte

If this makes sense to anyone, bandwidth would be in "mb", raw HDD capacity "mB", and memory "MB". It makes more sense than making up what sounds like computer "baby talk".

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Wdl71 (talkcontribs) 16:34, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

The SI (metric) symbol for 1000 is a capital M, not m. Nicer is Knuth's proposal to use "MMB", "GGB" etc. for the larger (binary) units. Anyway, this article (and Wikipedia in general) is merely to report what is (and the fact is that "MiB" and so on are standards now), not to make our own suggestions. Shreevatsa (talk) 18:32, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

I doubt that this will ever change/be sorted out. Everyone in the IT, except for hard disk manufacturers, uses Megabyte/Gigabyte in the classic sense - and will keep doing so because it simply doesn't make any sense to change it. Hard disk manufacturers will keep selling their stuff with the artificial definition because it makes their drives look bigger. I don't see any way how this could be changed/solved. The so called "standard" is no standard because the majority blatantly ignores it and goes for the definition that has been de-facto in place for tenths of years longer. I actually find the Wikipedia article pretty good because it clearly points out the difference between artificial definition and reality. Lodan (talk) 05:24, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Obviously, it is less ignored than you are aware of. Besides the hard disk manufacturers, there are the networkers/communication guys, bus guys, the DVD-, HD-DVD-, Bluray-manufacturers, the usb/memory stick manufacturers, the sd/xd/mmc card manufacturers, the pixel related stuff (12 Mpixel CCD sensor), the frequency related stuff (intel core i7 3.2 GHz), the speed related stuff (2 GFLOPs), time and size related stuff (milliseconds, 45 nm process) and software like Mac OS X that use decimal prefixes. It is rather easy to summ up the ones _not_ using decimal prefixes. That are CD-, RAM- and Chip manufacturers and a lot of software, particularily MS Windows.--GlaMax (talk) 08:59, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Megabyte equals two values?[edit]

It can contain a value of 1,000,000 or 1,048,572. How can something equal two values? A Megabyte equals 1048572. Do not use the back of a HDD box which contains *advertising* as a way to prove it equals something less. Otherwise I would believe 'coke is it'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:54, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

To repeat what Shreevatsa wrote above, "[T]his article (and Wikipedia in general) is merely to report what is". The term "Megabyte" is used to mean two different values. You don't like this; I don't like this. Tough, because that is how it is used, and so that is what the article must contain. HairyWombat (talk) 18:38, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

This is retarded and shoot yourself in the head please[edit]

This is absolutely retarded, you need to consult CS and EE textbooks to see what a megabyte actually is, and it's 1024 kilobytes, where a kilobyte is 1024 bytes (not 1000 bytes). Megabyte is not used to mean two different values. It is however used by marketing and advertising people and idiots who don't know what they're talking about. It doesn't matter very much when you're looking at a hard drive box, but these are not the actual values as they are defined in computer science and engineering textbooks, which should be given deference over anything else in this case. Furthermore, these are not fucking SI quantities. SI quantities and decimal bases are great for physics, but they are not useful everywhere, and as a result CS and EE use a binary base, just like they use a binary log. Get your fucking facts straight, this has brought Wikipedia credibility down in my eyes.

And yes, the big M is for 1024 KB, where K is 1024 B and B is a byte and the little m is for 1000kb, the little k is for 1000 bits, these are used as well and that is how they are differentiated, there is sometimes a need, usually in networks, to use decimal and this is how it is done.

Thank you, now go punch yourself in the face, whichever dumb ass or dumb asses wrote this article and thought it was actually OK.-- (talk) 05:29, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the language in your post doesn't exude much credibility for anyone to take you seriously or even contemplate your arguments, except for the recognition that you are obviously not a qualified contributor. Textbooks are secondary (interpreting) sources, and do not supersede standards body determinations and definitions, arrived at by consensus among industry professionals. Kbrose (talk) 15:25, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
So, you just made a more polite version of "go shoot yourself" and it's all better? This is starting to look like Youtube. (talk) 10:08, 2 December 2015 (UTC)


IMO, this and all of the articles related to memory capacities should be rewritten. Despite what the article says, if you ask most technical people they will tell you that a MB is 1024*1024 bytes. They will also tell you that Mb is 1000*1000 bits. The usefulness of base decimal arithmetic is not universal, for example the use of a binary logarithm is quite common when discussing algorithms. Even though Mega- is an SI term, it shouldn't be Wikipedia's job to dictate that it is exclusive to SI measurements, Wikipedia should fairly document what the term "megabyte" has been used for, lest readers be confused when they encounter a situation that contradicts the reality that Wikipedia would have them believe: that mebibyte is a term that is actually used in practice and is useful (I've never seen this term used) and that megabyte really is predominantly associated with 1000*1000 bytes.

At the very least, the use of MB as 2^20 bytes deserves a significant portion of this article and the proposed standard of MB as 10^6 bytes should be documented as such - a proposed standard instead of having readers believe what is actually not true. I think the idea of mebibyte, even though I disagree with it, is OK to document, but this and the other articles seem to me to be written in a way that claims that these terms are simply the end all and be all of memory sizes when that simply isn't the case.

Also, to preface the definition of megabyte in the article with "The term "megabyte" is ambiguous because it is commonly used to mean either 10002 bytes or 10242 bytes." is unnecessary. Instead of saying that the term "megabyte" is ambiguous, simply state the different uses and contexts where each use might occur and probably some information on which terms are more common and the instances where certain terms might be more likely.

--Rahennig (talk) 18:33, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree so I made some changes that you suggested.Glider87 (talk) 14:00, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Alan.A.Mick (talk) 21:19, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Just to chime in, the context in which mega(byte,bit) is commonely used with the decimal base is electrical engineering where data communications or transfers is the context. The context in which the binary base is used is in computer science and engineering where memory size, address or capacity (either volatile or nonvolitile, backing or primary) is the context. I work as a software engineer in space applications (satellites) where I often deal with both contexts. When the wiki first introduced readers to the membibyte and related terms, some "important people" pointed it out as posibly being useful. I tried using it both internally and in presentations to organizations such as NASA and the IAF, and it inverablly caused confusion. Nobody (all highly technical and fully immersed in this field) was familiar with the "mebibyte" terminology. Noone else used it. I stoped using it. If the base is important or ambigous, I always just put (2^20) or (10^6) in parens to claify. Actual practitioners who have a very strong interest in precise and unabmigious terminolgy just do not use the "mebibyte" terminology.

I cannot confrim that. Back in my university's network department days, we nearly exclusively used prefixes in its decimal meaning (as usual in transfer rates). In those exceptional cases we needed the binary meaning, it was quite common to use kibi, mebi or gibi. However, this is half a decade ago and may have changed now. --GlaMax (talk) 09:18, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

POV-pushing crap[edit]

This article is a bunch of POV-pushing crap why are so many people like crap!. Some of the I.P.s active here might be the same old ones who have been banned because they couldn’t stop advocating that the world adopt the IEC prefixes (MiB and KiB). This article is in need of a serious rewrite. Unfortunately, most of the serious wikipedians just roll their eyeballs at this article and give up on it because of what the I.P.s are up to. What a mess. Greg L (talk) 21:10, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

It may be confusing to the lay audience but...[edit]

Megabytes being 1024 kilobyte may be confusing for people coming from the field of science where the prefix kilo conventionally means 1000 and all mathematics is done in base 10; but there is a reason why, in the field of computing, kilo conventionally means 1024. It's all to do with how data is stored and how processors compute data. Processors compute data in powers of 2. A system bus carries information in powers of 2. Not because we're trying to be difficult in the computing industry but because data is easiest to store, compress and work with when represented in binary. As such computer memory needs to be in multiples of this fundamental unit. So, as a programmer, you need to construct your code to work with these fundamental units. As a computer engineer, you need to create your hardware to work with these fundamental units. For instance, RAM is always in multiples of 1024 bytes because it has to be. You could store your data next to a decimal scale but if you did then the processor would constantly have to swap data in and out through the bus and from memory and from slower storage mediums such as a hard drive. Take a 64 bit bus, and you've got a 128 bit file (16 bytes). Easy peasy, you pass it in in two chunks and none of the data is redundant. Say you had a file of 100 bits. You pass it in two chunks and you've got 28 bits of redundant data. It creates a bottle kneck in the processing of the code. So all data is stored and worked on in multiples of 8. Say then you wanted to know how big a file is. Say you wanted to know how many thousands of bytes a file is made from. The calculation to do this is more complex (and consequently takes more time and processing power) than it is to work out how many thousand and twenty fours of bytes a file is made. This is why in the industry of computing, data is worked out in mutiples of 1024. It takes less time to process the file size. Not only that but all files are made up of multiples of 8 bits. So every file size is divisible by 8 without leaving a remainder. This allows you to store the file size in bytes as an integer, and to convert the value to kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, etc with a simple and quick bit-shift operation (the quickest operation there is). If the convention in computing was to represent file sizes in decimals that would mean calling on the Arthmatic Logic Unit, a much lengthier operation, every time we wanted to convert from 1000 to 1000x1000, and so on. From the stand point of any computer professional, there is zero value in enforcing a decimal size convention. It ignores the fundamental unit on which binary computers operate. It ignores the fundamental benefits of storing data next to powers of 2. The only people who benefit from using 1000 over 1024 are sellers of hard disk drives who can flog you a "1TB" HDD which is actually 1000*1000*1000*8 which is 70GB less in size than it should be. The international standards organisation is incorrect. Unlike science which is primarily based in base 10 math, computing has adopted the convention of base 2 math. To computer professionals it will ALWAYS be 1024 because it would be counter-productive to work from a convension of 1000. This article sould primarily reflect the convention of the industry which coined the term. With smaller sections on the pedantry of a standards organisation, the false advertising of hardware vendors and the voices of a lay mob. (talk) 18:48, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

To quote what Shreevatsa said above: "This article (and Wikipedia in general) is merely to report what is (and the fact is that "MiB" and so on are standards now), not to make our own suggestions." Like it or not, it is the case that the SI prefixes are used in their "decimal" sense in many areas of computing (not just hard drive space). Also, like it or not, the IEC and other standards bodies have adopted and promoted the binary prefixes Ki, Mi, etc. It is Wikipedia's job to document these points, with references. This article does that. And as far as I can tell, it is not promoting any position regarding which practice is more correct or desirable. Merely mentioning the fact that e.g. specifications of hard drives, transmission rates, and CPU clock rates use SI prefixes in their decimal sense is not promoting such usage, it is merely descriptive. Nor is mention of the IEC binary prefixes in any sense promoting their use. It would be out of place for this or any other article on WP to do any such advocacy of a position. It is also out of place to argue such points on this or any other WP talk page. Jeh (talk) 07:41, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely wrong. Mentioning Ki, Mi, etc, if not used in the real world (other than by the standards committees), is promoting their use. It appears that that is accurate; not even IEEE, a member of IEC, is promoting their use in their journals. I'll check the article and make appropriate corrections. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:21, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I have no idea whether the IEEE does or does not promote use of IEC standards in its journals. What I do know is that authors of publications in scientific journals (including IEEE journals) use IEC prefixes as their preferred method of disambiguation where they wish to make unambiguous statements. That is what matters. Wikipedia’s attempt at disambiguation is complicated, and editors don't use it. Wikipedia needs to decide for once and for all whether it wants to disambiguate. If it does it should use the method of first choice in the real world, and abandon its own (failed) experiment. If it does not it should make that clear in its guidelines to editors. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 09:43, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Arthur Rubin: They're not absolutely unused in the real world; but cases are very rare, expecially among major software writers. I think we can mention the IEC prefixes without "promoting" them, but I can see how this article could be seen as giving them somewhat WP:UNDUE attention, particularly as the article title is "megabyte", not "SI-prefix-inspired term for either one million or 1024 squared bytes".
This article should, however, absolutely note that there are three interpretations of "megabyte" in common use (well, two; floppies are hardly common any more!). And then I think one short graf along the lines of

In an attempt to resolve this ambiguity, the IEC adopted (and other orgs approved) what are now referred to as the IEC binary prefixes, including "Mebi" for 1024 squared. Thus "mebibyte" or its abbreviation "MiB" was to be used in, for example, specifications of RAM capacity, which traditionally used "megabyte" to mean 1024 squared. However, actual use of these binary prefixes is very uncommon.

would be appropriate. This should probably be the only mention of "mebibyte" in the article; it should not be scattered around the article as it is now.
You might want to take a similarly critical pass at Kilobyte, Gigabyte, Mebibyte, etc.
Dondervogel: The issue of whether or not WP should use the IEC prefixes when not writing about the IEC prefixes, or the related SI-based prefixes by way of comparison, has already been decided; see WP:COMPUNITS. I see no attempt here to revive use of IEC prefixes on WP, other than when writing about the prefixes themselves (which is the case here), or otherwise outside of the exceptions already given at WP:COMPUNITS. I do believe that whoever scattered "mebibyte" around so much around this article was taking too much advantage of the "when writing about them" exception and I trust Arthur Rubin will make appropriate changes. Jeh (talk) 10:11, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I would object to use of the text "However, actual use of these binary prefixes is very uncommon" in this and related articles. Instead I suggest "Use of these binary prefixes, while common in scientific articles where unambiguous notation is sought, is uncommon in other media." Dondervogel 2 (talk) 13:12, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Citation for use in scientific articles? (And, I don't mean a few examples of use in scientific articles other than discussing the standard.) Journal editorial policy about the use would be helpful. If IEEE (a member of IEC, and allegedly supporting the use) journals do not use the term, then we probably shouldn't. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:02, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
AFAIK, IEEE allows article submissions to use IEC or traditional binary prefixes for units of data; it does not insist on either. WP has already decided that the IEC binary prefixes should not be used in WP articles, and nobody is trying to change that here. WP does grant exceptions where the primary sources for the article use them, or when the prefixes themselves are the topic. Since "mebibyte" is a word for the same thing for which "megabyte" is often a word, I feel strongly that something like the paragraph I suggested above is appropriate in this article. Do you feel that that paragraph, used as described, would still be "promoting" the use of "mebibyte"? Even if the the word "mebibyte" appeared nowhere else in the article? Jeh (talk) 20:47, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
@Arthur Rubin: This search reveals 187 hits in 2013 alone, all in scientific journals, including IEEE journals, e.g., zur JacobsmUhlen, J., Kleszczynski, S., Schneider, D., & Witt, G. (2013, May). High resolution imaging for inspection of Laser Beam Melting systems. In Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference (I2MTC), 2013 IEEE International (pp. 707-712). IEEE.. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 20:55, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
And this search is even more revealing: 643 hits for 'MiB GiB IEEE' e.g.,. Pakin, S. (2008, April). Receiver-initiated message passing over RDMA networks. In Parallel and Distributed Processing, 2008. IPDPS 2008. IEEE International Symposium on (pp. 1-12). IEEE, with more than 100 in 2013, e.g., Howell, Jon, et al. "Missive: Fast appliance launch from an untrusted buffer cache." submission to USENIX ATC (2013) . Dondervogel 2 (talk) 21:17, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Making a megabyte 1000 is like the time Indiana tried to make Pi 3.2[edit]

It's just wrong. (talk) 01:00, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

I can state without referring to references, and yet with considerable confidence, that absolutely nobody has proposed "making a megabyte 1000". Jeh (talk) 23:24, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Making a megabyte 1024 kilobytes is like the time Indiana tried to make Pi 3.2. It's just wrong. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 10:04, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Well duh, Pi is exactly 3. Or so the joke goes. "Amen!" (talk) 10:09, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

binary again[edit]

Although the ISQ standard for megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes, the JEDEC standard is 1,048,576, and the latter usage is still more common for memory, although memory units as small as a megabyte are uncommon, except in the context above: "Well, for starters, if someone asks me how much memory is available for dynamic instances of object type X, and I answer two megabytes, then they will go away thinking that they can create 2048 dynamic objects each using 1024 bytes of memory... and they'll be correct. " — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:47, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

This example is certainly total rubbish, as programming in any high-level language does not care whether its memory sizes fit any particular binary boundary, other than a minimal storage unit boundary. These kinds of examples are manufactured purely to support a certain POV. Any good programmer these days will question the meaning, if it isn't clear. You are assuming every programmer is stupid. Everywhere one looks in newly written software these days one finds increasing use of either correct metric usage, or binary multiples. I can't even count the pieces of software I run across that uses the units correctly. Kbrose (talk) 19:18, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
You might want to read carefully the JEDEC Standard No. 100B.01. It's available via free registration. The interesting part is on page 8. First, it mentions mega-, but only as a "prefix to units of semiconductor storage capacity" and not as a prefix for general units of information. Second, It doesn't recommend to use a binary value for the megabyte, it merely acknowledges its usage as one, just before explaining that it's a deprecated usage. Here is the exact text: "The definitions of kilo, giga, and mega based on powers of two are included only to reflect common usage. IEEE/ASTM SI 10-1997 states “This practice frequently leads to confusion and is deprecated.” Further confusion results from the popular use of a “megabyte” consisting of 1 024 000 bytes to define the capacity of the familiar “1.44-MB” diskette." Further, it mentions the IEC prefixes (mebi-, etc.) as alternatives, and we can suppose they do so for their lack of ambiguity. Compvis (talk) 08:57, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Some (possibly relevant) links [6] [7] [8] [9] Dondervogel 2 (talk) 10:00, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Deprecated by standards bodies is not necessarily the same as deprecated in the real world; and Dondervogel's sources show that better than the sources I would have used. Source 2 says 2^20, and source 4 says "yes" when asked whether it's 10^6 or 2^20. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:30, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
My revert was based on your edit summary "On the contrary, it is clear that the binary usage is NOT being deprecated". The "real world", as you call it, does not use the language of deprecation, so I assumed you were talking about standards bodies. The sources are not intended to make any particular point, they are there only to provide input for discussion. To be honest I'm not sure of their relevance here, because they are (mostly) about the meaning of "megapixel", whereas I suppose what is disputed here is the definition of "megabyte". Perhaps what we really need are sources that answer the question "how many bytes in a megapixel?" Dondervogel 2 (talk) 17:44, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Arthur, it seems to me like we both work from about the same basic facts, yet we reach different conclusions. Let me explain my take on this. From your page, I gather that you are from the US, and as is well known, the US is not the strongest proponent of the SI, and is one of the last countries not to have adopted it. It seems to me like you and your country fail to grasp the true importance of the SI. Indeed, the SI is probably one of the strongest standards in existence, only second to things like math, music, several languages, etc. if you count those things as standards. Do you understand that throughout math, science, engineering and commerce, kilo means 1,000, and mega means 1,000,000, etc. with absolutely no exception? That is, except for this truly whimsical field that is computing/information technology. And actually, not even the whole field, a small part of it (compare megahertz, megapixel and megabyte), and not even in a consistent way (see kilobit vs kilobyte). Actually the US seems quite used to have units with different meaning depending on the context such as in the primitive US customary units (gallon US vs UK, mile statute vs nautical, etc.), but this is absolutely not the case with SI! The SI puts an end to many of these confusions. Arthur, I'll say it as politely as I can, but you have to broaden your horizon, consider the world, or if you prefer the english-speaking world. It's much bigger than the US, and it doesn't have its reluctance to adopt a sane measurement system. As soon as you take into account the greater context, you will only be able to see the use of SI prefixes in a binary sense as unwise, erroneous, and rightfully deprecated. Compvis (talk) 08:19, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

I don't know how much clearer the record can be, when even JEDEC states explicitly that the binary interpretation is deprecated. Silencing the fact, and erasing it from documentation make no sense. JEDEC does not forbid the incorrect usage obviously, as they know that manufacturers have large investments in equipment that is expense to retool, and therefore have long lead times for such changes. Some manufacturers apparently already are converting, with dual labeling. Yes, it is indeed standards bodies that deprecated usage, not the public. The public just follows suit, which may take a long time, that I grant. It is rather mind boggling how backwards these editor think, to keep the incorrect usages in place for no obvious benefit. It only prolongs the confusion aspect in the general population. Surely knowledgeable folks know very well the difference and anyone implementing software based on specs these days, examines which meaning is the correct one to use. To be honest, for knowledgable people these day, the uncertainty of which units are implied is indeed greater than ever, one can never be sure what is meant without examination, but this should be only a transition period. Prolonging the incorrect usage make no sense, because the train to conversion has been on track for 15 years. There is no reversal, and it is time that these refuseniks see the light. Kbrose (talk) 19:02, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

(ec-self) The way "deprecated" was written is correct' I was wrong as to the JEDEC standard, but I am not wrong in that the "binary" definition is actually used by manufacturers and by people in general. Some evidence has been provided that it is less used, but "historical" is incorrect. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:41, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
I do not believe that anyone has suggested or tried to state that they weren't used as widely as they still are. Reading the articles on this topic, one cannot come away with an impression that they aren't, virtually every article points out the conflict, in almost excessive manner. As far as the historical aspect is concerned, I wrote that the use arose for historical reasons, which is entirely true and accurate, as such a need had it occurred today would have met a different solution, as the higher order prefixes are over 20% inaccurate, enough that nobody would accept the solution of reusing the metric prefixes. But in the 60s, they only had to deal with the small difference of 2.4 %. That is the historical aspect, not that the units are of historical nature, as the sentence properly identifies. Kbrose (talk) 01:49, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Specific editing proposals[edit]

"Original" (before last week)[edit]

However, in the computer and information technology fields, several other definitions are used. A common usage is to designate one megabyte as 1048576bytes (220), a measurement that conveniently expresses the binary multiples inherent in digital computer memory architectures. Less common is a measurement that used the megabyte to mean 1000×1024 (1024000) bytes.[1]


However, in the computer and information technology fields, several other definitions are used that arose for historical reasons of convenience. A common usage has been to designate one megabyte as 1048576bytes (220), a measurement that conveniently expresses the binary multiples inherent in digital computer memory architectures. However, most standards bodies have deprecated this usage in favor of a set of binary prefixes,[1] in which this measurement is designated by the unit mebibyte (MiB). Less common is a measurement that used the megabyte to mean 1000×1024 (1024000) bytes.[1]

Possible compromise[edit]

However, in the computer and information technology fields, other definitions are used. A common usage is to designate one megabyte as 1048576bytes (220), a measurement that conveniently expresses the binary multiples inherent in digital computer memory architectures. However, most standards bodies have deprecated this usage in favor of a set of binary prefixes,[1] in which this measurement is designated by the unit mebibyte (MiB). Less common is a measurement that used the megabyte to mean 1000×1024 (1024000) bytes.[1]

This version has no advantage over the new version. The new version correctly identifies the incorrect usage with the tense "... has been to designate..." which is proper grammar for a situation that started in the past and is ongoing. Changing that to present tense is wrong, at least it is incomplete in terms of history. Also, leaving out the phrase ... that arose for historical reasons of convenience, is no improvement as it removes a explanation of the reason for such usage, albeit short. The binary interpretation indeed started as a convenience long time ago, whence historical. Previously, all prefixes were interpreted in metric fashion.

I see no reason to change from the new version, as it accurately reflects the situation and history. Kbrose (talk) 19:54, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Alternative Proposal[edit]

However, in the computer and information technology fields, other definitions are used. In the 1980s, when the first hard drives were developed, the megabyte meant one million bytes. When semiconductor memory first exceeded 1 megabyte, due to the binary multiples inherent in digital computer memory architectures, it became common to use this term to mean not 1000000 bytes but 1048576bytes (220). As of 2014, most standards bodies deprecate this usage in favor of a set of binary prefixes,[1] in which this measurement is designated by the unit mebibyte (MiB). Less common is a measurement that used the megabyte to mean 1000×1024 (1024000) bytes.[1]

Well, normally, you use the units defined by the people who actually use them. You know, like how horsepower is an automobile unit and ... Nevermind, we all know how this'll go. It'll be physical standards bodies versus the entirety of programmers, everywhere, for the near future. They just waited until all the low-level programmers became as rare as unicorn horns, to make this move about 10 years ago. People defining words have a clear personal agenda - they want to 'own' the right to scientific culture. In 40 years, all the old programmers will vanish. There is an irony that base-10 units for physics are themselves arbitrary since humans have 10 fingers. Us mere mortals are limited to integers. 2A04:1980:3100:1AAB:FCA6:64A7:43AD:A309 (talk) 10:26, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
BTW apparently, the word meaning "not to live anymore" is censored. Oh well... 2A04:1980:3100:1AAB:FCA6:64A7:43AD:A309 (talk) 10:27, 2 December 2015 (UTC)


(Add new proposals before this section)

Suggestion not related to 1000 vs. 1024[edit]

There are two things missing from this article in my opinion. 1. Discussion of the difference between megabyte and megabit. I know this seems related more to the general articles on bits and bytes, but there is quite a lot of confusion as to what a 5Mb/s internet connection entails. Many people think that this implies a 5MB/s download speed, and I think a discussion of the distinction here would be useful. Alternatively or in addition, it may be a good idea to merge this article with megabit, since we already have bit and byte for the distinction, and afaik megabit is only used in a couple of contexts.

Notably megabit includes a statement on this point, but a person who thinks that Mb/s implies MB/s in file transfers will never find the information38.97.97.99 (talk) 22:59, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

2. Discussion of Mega base pairs, a frequently used metric in genetics, and variably represented as MB and Mb. This has a direct conversion factor to MB. I can't believe they aren't using Mbp or something but it is what it is. The first time I came across this term I tried to look it up and I am just directed to MB. If no discussion, there should at least be a disambiguation link or whatever it's called at the top of the article to Base_pair#Length_measurements. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:48, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

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Acronyms of binary and metric multipliers[edit]

There is a problem with the way we write the acronyms of metric multiplier and Binary multipliers. The acronyms of metric multiplier is always written in uppercase, while Binary multipliers are written in uppercase. Example megabyte is often written MB, but is suppose to be written as mB. Same apply to Kibibyte, instead of writing kB (with small k), write it with a big Letter "K". NOTE: Bytes is always capitalized (B) while Bits is always written in lowercase (b).

The following is how we suppose to write metric multipliers and Binary multipliers:

Metric multipliers:  Kilobytes =kB,  Megabytes = mB,  Giga = gB,  Tera = tB

Binary Multipliers: Kibibits = Kib, Mebibits = Meb, Gibibits = Gib, Tebibits = Teb — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shatikajj (talkcontribs) 16:05, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

No, that is wrong. Kbrose (talk) 23:38, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
Shatikajj: No. You are flatly wrong about this (except for B = byte and b = bits).
The SI (International System of Quantities) prefix for one billion is G, not g. The SI prefix for one million is M, not m. In fact, lowercase m means "milli"-, one one thousandth (e.g. one mA = one milliamp, one thousandth of an amp). It is true that some use the convention of k = 1000 and K = 1024 when writing about memory or file sizes, but this is not supported by SI and is far from universal, and could not be extended to M since m was already in SI as "milli-". I saw you recently edited Gigabyte, changing the prefixes in accordance with your mistaken ideas. I have reverted that edit. Please do not continue to edit in this fashion. You will be reverted, and if you persist, you may be blocked from editing. Wikipedia follows SI, not somebody's idea of what we should be doing instead. Jeh (talk) 13:25, 7 March 2017 (UTC)