How Big Is a Bit?

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

bit: The word "bit" is short for "binary digit." A bit is the smallest piece of computer information.

byte: Most computers use combinations of eight bits, called bytes, to represent one character of data. For example, the word "cat" has three characters, and it would be represented by three bytes.

kilobyte (K or KB): A kilobyte is equal to 1,024 bytes. megabyte (MB) A megabyte is equal to 1,048,576 bytes, but it is usually rounded off to one million bytes.

gigabyte (GB): A gigabyte is one thousand megabytes.

terabyte (TB): A terabyte is one trillion bytes, or 1000 gigabytes.

Computer memory is usually measured in megabytes or gigabytes. This tells how much information your computer can store.

The speed of a modem (a device that connects two computers over a telephone line) is measured in bits per second, or bps. This tells how much information can be sent in a second.

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