What is the Difference Between Mbps and MB/s?

Hey there! Wondering what the difference is between Mbps (megaBITS per second) and MB/s (megaBYTES per second)?

Mbps vs MB/s Explanation:

When we look at hard drive transfer speeds or any data transfer speed in general, there are 2 commonly used units: “Mbps” and “MB/s”.

Mbps stands for MegaBITS per second, while MegaBYTES per second are written as MB/s or MB per second (note that the letter “B” in “MB/s” is capitalized, in contrast to the lowercase “b” in “Mbps”).

But how many BITS are in 1 BYTE? There are 8 bits in 1 Byte!

How to Convert from Mbps to MB/s:

  • As we just learned, there are 8 bits in 1 Byte. So 1 B = 8 b. Notice the difference in capitalization!
  • This also applies to Megabits vs Megabytes, as well as Gigabits vs Gigabytes!
  • So 1 Megabyte (or “MB”) = 8 Megabits (or “Mb”)
  • .. and 1 GB (or “Gigabyte”) = 8 Gigabits (or “Gb”)

Here’s a diagram showing an example of Mbps vs MB/s:

Example of the difference between Mbps and MB/s

As you can see, 1 MB = 8 Mb

How many Bytes Are in 1 Bit?

There are 8 bits per byte: therefore, the ratio is 8 to 1. The same is in correlation to Gigabits that are expressed as Gb and Gigabytes that are expressed as GB.

When you see that the b is lower case, you will note that this is referring to bits.

When the B is capitalized, you will realize that this is referring to bytes

For example:

  • 1MB = 1 megabyte.  But 1Mb = 1 megabit

Internet speed is usually measured in Megabits or Gigabits (Mb or Gb), not megabytes or gigabytes (MB or GB).

Difference between Mbps and MB/s is that 1MB = 8Mb
The difference between Mbps and MB/s is that 1 MB = 8 Mb, and 1 GB = 8 Gb

Hard drives almost never achieve maximum throughput

Although in the context of hard drive speed, if you want to know a hard drive’s true speed then you must test the drive yourself. HDDs also slow down dramatically when they are reading or writing small files.

Why? Data on the platter’s outer perimeter is read faster than data on the inner rings. As the drive becomes more full, naturally it slows down even more.

Consider that a drive with 7200 RPM should outperform a FireWire 800 connection because the peak data transfer is normally above the output power of FireWire 800, which is 98 MB/s. But this only happens in very rare situations. Usually, the drive will serve up data at a much slower pace.

Larger files go more quickly than smaller files

A drive works more quickly and efficiently while transmitting larger files because the drive can read and write them. For smaller files, the drive uses a lot more time to find the files, which is why the drive is slower.

SSDs seem to be able to handle small files much better because no moving parts are need to find the stored data. But smaller files still do slow down SSDs.

What is the difference between Mbps and MB/s?  In this example, you see KB/s, or kilobytes per second.
Here’s an example of many small files taking a long time to copy in a Windows 10 PC

Graphics. Transfer speed

Below charts shows different connection speed of hard drives, connections types and network configurations in megabytes per second. These are typical speeds for maximum throughput when transferring big files. Small file transfer will be significantly slower, particularly for conventional hard drives

Transfer speed by connection type
Transfer speed by device
Transfer speed by Network