Gbps: a data transfer rate of one million bits per second.

The prefix gig makes this unit of measurement 1000 times the previous mega, and mega means one million. Therefore gigabits is a rate equal to one billion bits per second.

The use of this is relatively new because for much of computer history this high of a rate was impossible to achieve.

Modern interfaces can handle these new high speed data transfers though, such as SATA and Thunderbolt, but the most common is USB 3.0, the latest USB technology.

Almost everybody is familiar with USB’s, as they connect just about everything: TV’s, memory sticks, game controllers, mice, keyboards, charging cables, auxiliary cables for some cars, cameras, printers, copiers, scanners, and a million other things, we use every day.

The data transfer rate on them have gotten up to 5 Gbps, as opposed to the old 480 Mbps of the USB 2.0.  The lowercase “b” is Gbps indicates it stands for “Gigabits” rather than “Gigabytes.” Since one byte equals eight bits, 1GBps is equal to 8Gbps.

While storage capacity is typically measured in bytes, data transfer speeds are typically measured in bits. Therefore, Gbps is much more commonly used than GBps.

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