Sometimes consumers get confused with KBs, MBs, GBs and all other memory stuff. Storage space in computing is very important and let’s discuss the memory in your computer.
How Much Memory Does My Computer Have?
Storage space can be expressed in two different ways.
Binary vs. Decimal Numbers
We are dealing with decimal math system in our daily lives but never thought about it. The decimal system has ten digits (0-9) which can be used to express numerical values. Computers are based on binary numbers with just 0 and 1 with every electrical component they have.
The binary system consists of strings of zeroes and ones to express the numerical values. For instance, a digital number 4 would look like this in binary format: 00,01,10,11. The higher you go the more digits there will be added.
Bits and Bytes
A bit is the smallest increment storage used for the computer. It’s like a bulb which can on and off representing 0 and 1 only.
A byte is a string of eights bits and it’s the smallest unit to process data. That’s why storage space starts from bytes rather than bits. The largest decimal value we can show is 28 (2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x2 x2) or 256.
Let’s see how to convert decimals to binary numbers.
A Kilobyte or KB is a binary 1024 bytes. Here byte is used with prefix “Kilo” represents the thousand and the kilobyte is a bit larger than 1000 decimals and that makes some people confusing.
A megabyte in binary is 1.048,576 bytes and in decimal, it’s 1,000,000 bytes.
A gigabyte is (1,073,741,824) bytes. Here the difference between the decimal and binary is significant.
How much memory did you get?
The real confusion is created between the storage space we actually get and the storage space advertised by the manufacturers. Hard drives, flash drives, memory cards are described in decimal for simplicity whereas the real values are in binary.
So 1GB in binary is larger than 1GB in decimal and if you are using an 80GB hard drive your OS will show 7-8GB less of that.
The simple solution to this is that simply ignore this as there’s nothing hiding. You just expect the storage in decimals but it works in the form of binary.