Full name: gigabyte
Plural form: gigabytes
Category type: computer data storage
Scale factor: 1073741824
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A gigabyte is a unit of information or computer storage meaning approximately 1.07 billion bytes. This is the definition commonly used for computer memory and file sizes. Microsoft uses this definition to display hard drive sizes, as do most other operating systems and programs by default.
Since 1999, the IEC recommends that this unit should instead be called a "gibibyte" (abbreviated GiB). The difference between units based on SI and binary prefixes increases exponentially — in other words, an SI kilobyte is nearly 98% as much as a kibibyte, but a megabyte is under 96% as much as a mebibyte, and a gigabyte is just over 93% as much as a gibibyte. This means that a 500 GB hard disk drive would appear as "465 GB".
Most users prefer to convert units using the most common definition, so this site uses the non-SI form.