Prefixes for Binary Multipliers


The nonstandard use of standard SI multiplier names and prefixes in the computer field has caused a great deal of confusion. For example, does a 6 megabyte file contain 6 000 000 (6 x 106) or 6 291 456 (6 x 220) bytes?

This confusion has now been resolved at least for those willing to adopt an international standard.

In December 1998, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), an organization that is closely associated with ISO (the International Organization for Standardization), approved standard names and prefixes for binary multipliers.

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) has published the full set of standard names and prefixes for binary multipliers at one of their web sites. Click on Go to view the NIST description.


View NISTdescription of IEC binary multiplier prefixes NIST Description of IEC International Standard Prefixes for Binary Multipliers