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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone else ever feel a little peaved when they see that their hard drive space is significantly lower than the "advertised" size? Maybe there is more to this then I know (although I do know that some space gets taken away for a partition etc...) but I'm starting to get a little ticked off.

For instance. I just wiped my ipod clean under disk utility so I could transfer over all of my files to do the panther install and it said that I have 18.6 gigs available. What the hell?? What happened to the other 1.4!!??? I NEED that space!

And my hard drive on my laptop...suppose to be 80gigs...but it's only 74.5! That's a 7% loss!

It's seems that both are 7% losses. So what happened to the space?? :mad:
 

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This has been like this for the LONGEST time, including floppy disc's, but for some strange reason, nobody seemed to notice until now (All of a sudden there are class action lawsuits and crap)

the answer is simple, when your format your drive, the computer writes information to it, taking up space (At least, this is what I have been led to believe, but I am not a HD expert by any means)

When does the Class action lawsuit against Doritos start? I always buy a big ass bag of chips, but I open it up and its less than half full!

All I can say is deal with your loss, it has been happening for the longest time!
 

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As far as hard drive manufacturers are concerned, a gigabyte is 1,000,000,000 bytes. As far as your computer is concerned, a gigabyte is 1,073,741,824 bytes (about 7% more). Drive space is also lost to operating system overhead.
 

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For marketing purposes, companies round numbers down.

1000 bytes = 1 Kilobyte (KB)
1000 KB = 1 Megabyte (MB)
1000 MB = 1 Gigabyte (GB)
By these numbers, 1 GB is 1 Billion bytes. Your 20 GB iPod is 20 Billion bytes.

I don't know why exactly they do this, probably something about base 2 being harder for the average person to wrap their brain around than base 10, because the actual measures are:

8 bits = 1 byte
1024 bytes = 1 k
1024 K = 1 MB
1024 MB = 1GB
So in reality 1 GB is 1073742000 bytes.

The computer you are using doesn't listen to marketing though, so when it sees a disk that is 20 Billion Bytes (like your iPod) or 80 Billion Bytes (like your Hard Drive), it formats it based on the actual numbers, not the marketing numbers and you end up with an 18.63 GB iPod and 74.51 GB Hard Drive respectively.

Formatting and creating the file systems takes up a little bit of space, but not that much.

--PB
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The numbers make sense. And I guess the logic on the side of business does too. Just a little frustrating when you forget to remember to account for it.
 

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Hard drive manufacturers count each byte, and use "regular" math to do so. If IBM says it's drive is 1 billion bytes, it really is 1 billion bytes. "Giga" means 1 billion almost everywhere, including all scientific measurement.

HD manufactuers literally multiply the number of sectors by the number of bytes per sector.

MS and Apple's OS's count in binary math; if they say there is 1 Gigabyte they don't mean 1 billion bytes; they mean 1.07 billion bytes. In other words, they report the number differently than what you would get if you took the time to count them one-by-one.

Neither is lying to you; they use two completely different systems to report the exact same thing, which results in two completely different values for the exact same thing.

HD manufacturers usually understate the capacity in Base10; an "80GB" IBM drive really has about 82 billion bytes of storage available.

All HD manufacturers also state the binary (base2) total capacity in the product literature.

Computer Operating Systems insist on ignoring the Base10 value, and act as if the physical world didn't exist. At least OSX's 'Get Info" reports the actual number of bytes; I have a HD that is reported as:

Used: 13.66 GB (14,672,666,624 bytes)

In any case, keep in mind that the bytes don't dissapear. They're all there. They just use two different sytems to account for them.

Formatting isn't really an issue, it takes up at most 20MB on today's drives (it varies as the drives vary in total capacity), less than half the amount by which a binary GB exceeds a billion bytes.

The formatted empty space on your iPod works out to about 19.9 billion bytes. And that's after using up some space for formatting (not much) and an operating system (probably quite a bit more).

Now if you want to talk pure science fiction, look at the sound power ratings for car stereos, portable CD players, and portable televison sets. Most can't even put out 1/10 the power they claim.

Ever wonder why a 80Kg 32" TV has a handle on it? You can't carry it by the handle, but it's legal to wildly exaggerate audio power if it's a "portable device". Having a handle somewhere is enough to define it as "portable".

[ October 24, 2003, 07:49 AM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 

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I wrote about this recently, but PosterBoy's explanation in this thread is better (and shorter) than mine. ;)

You're not the only one who's annoyed. See this story on Wired.com.
LOS ANGELES -- A group of computer owners has filed a lawsuit against some of the world's biggest makers of personal computers, claiming that their advertising deceptively overstates the true capacity of their hard drives.
Things could be worse. Some computers (especially laptops) come with restore informaton stored on a hard drive partition rather than on CD. This makes it easier to restore in the event of a crash (i.e. you don't need to have the CD with you) but it makes a big chunk of hard drive space unavailable to you all the time.
 

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ooops, double post...
 

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I liked your comment on TV screens Sandy. I once bought a TV set that had a box that advertised two sizes, one for the US and one for Canada. How does a TV set change sizes between two countries?
 

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I read an article once that said a new term (gidabyte or something like that) was going to be introduced so that gigabyte would be the base 10 measure (1 billion bytes) and the new term would be the base 2 measure (1.073 billion bytes).

That was a couple years ago though, and obviously it doesn't seem to have gone anywhere.

--PB
 

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The term is used some places (mostly open source software, though). For example, <code>ifconfig</code> under Linux now reports received and transmitted byte counts in kibibytes (KiB), mebibytes (MiB), and gibibytes (GiB).

I've not seen the terms used anywhere else, though.
 

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Yup, I've seen that too jfpoole. Bittorrent uses the *iB system for measurement of size and speed.
 

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maybe time for a little short course in binary arithmetic?

who remembers their 2's complement arithmetic?
 

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" ... once bought a TV set that had a box that advertised two sizes, one for the US and one for Canada. How does a TV set change sizes between two countries? ..."

In Canada we have a law that states the TV screen's advertised size must be it's visible image size.

In the US, where there is no such requirement, the advertised size is the physical size of the tube; some of which is hidden behind the front bezel or blacked out at the edge and cannot be seen.

Thus a Canadian 32" TV is identical to a US 33" (sometimes even 34") screen in every way.

Many ehMac'er's won't remember this, but Apple for quite a while advertised all monitors based on the useable area. PC manufacturers rated their monitors based on a system similar to the US TV screen size; ie they included unuseable area.

After quite a few years of this, Apple relented and began using the same method; they were tired of consumers buying 14" monitors thinking it was bigger than Apple's 13" Trinitrons, which seemed expensive by comparison, being an inch smaller and all (or so it was believed in the marketplace, anyway).

Thus the Apple 13" monitor became the Apple 14" monitor overnight; the only change was the description.

What is most ironic about this is about 2 years later Apple was named in the lawsuit about monitor sizes (along with every other monitor manufacturer). The result of the lawsuit is the now familiar screen ratings for monitors, where they quote both sizes (eg: 17" with 16.1 VIS).

In all likelyhood, a similar agreement will be the result of the California Hard Drive suit.
 
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