Information recorded on computers can be narrowed down to finite units, called bits. Bits, an abbreviation for the term 'binary digits,' are the smallest unit of information that the computer uses during operation. Bits can be grouped together to create larger bundles of information, called bytes, an abbreviation for 'binary units.' Eight bits usually are classified as a byte. One byte has a storage capacity of one character or letter. Obviously, your computer needs a larger memory than a storage capacity of one character. Consequently, bytes are collaborated to form larger units of memory, in the ascending measurements of kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes. These terms are somewhat similar to the decimal terminology, where 'kilo' is synonymous with one thousand, 'mega' is equal to one million, and 'giga' indicates one billion. However, this is not entirely correct in computer vocabulary. In computer language, these terms are used in a binary system rather than a decimal system. Therefore, kilo would actually mean two to the tenth power, or 1,024 . Still, if you're referring to a computer that has a memory of 256K, in which the K stands for kilo, the computer is capable of storing roughly 256,000 bytes at once. Megabyte also can loosely be translated as one million bytes, so a computer with 256M indicates that it has at least 256,000,000 bytes of memory capacity.
c2004 Bluestreak Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.