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Why is a kilobyte 1,024 bytes rather than 1,000?

In the measurement units system, the prefix "kilo" is to multiply by 1,000, "mega" to multiply by 1,000,000 end "giga" to multiply by 1,000,000,000.

These are powers of 10:

  • 1,000 is 10 to the power 3,
  • 1,000,000 is 10 to the power 6
  • and 1,000,000,000 is 10 to the power 9.

Also, 1,000,000 = 1,000 x 1,000 and 1,000,000,000 = 1,000 x 1,000,000, so that a mega is 1,000 kilo and a giga is 1,000 mega.

But in usual computer science, it is not so: a kilobyte is 1,024 bytes rather than 1,000...

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