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Miscellaneous News   Miscellaneous News : How big is this HD?
   posted by _Steve_ on 20-Sep-2003 21:26:56 (2236 reads)
US PC users have banded together to protest against "deceptive advertising" of hard drive capacity by filling a lawsuit against the world's biggest computer manufacturers.



Apple Computer, Dell, Gateway Inc, HP, IBM, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba Corp are named in the lawsuit, which seeks to attain class-action status.

Los Angeles residents Lanchau Dan, Adam Selkowitz, Tim Swan and John Zahabian have initiated the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Reuters reports.

The lawsuit objects to the notation used in describing the capacity of hard disk drives in manufacturers' promotional material. For example, a "20 GB" hard drive would only have 18.6 GB usable capacity, the complaint maintains.

This practice is deceptive, according to the complainants, who are asking the courts to grant an injunction to force vendors to curtail the practice. The lawsuit also seeks damages to be levied against the defendants.

Source: TheReg
    

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_Steve_ 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 20-Sep-2003 21:33:47
#1 ]
Team Member
Joined: 18-Oct-2002
Posts: 6782
From: UK

They obviously had nothing better to do, and completely ignored the fact that actually formatting the drive therefore losing space due to the filesystem allocating bits, would result in them not having the full x GB space available to them for their data.


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Anonymous 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 20-Sep-2003 21:52:13
# ]



Quote:
For example, a "20 GB" hard drive would only have 18.6 GB usable capacity,


I don't really see any other way you can do this, the usable figure changes with the disk format used, the standard way of quoting disk capacities has always been (afaik) specified as "Unformatted" capacity.

Even floppy disks have been quoted like this for years, the HD floppy disk is quoted as 2 Mb unformatted, but once it's formatted in a PC you get 1.44Mb, or format it in a classic Amiga and you get around 1.7Mb of usable space. Exactly the same happens with hard drives, on classic Amiga, try formating a hard drive with OFS, then the same drive with FFS and comparing usable space, you'll get two different answers. (you can't even say let's just quote PC formatting, Fat16,Fat32, NTFS, take yer pick, they will all be different)

Now where the hard drive manufactures are making a con is that some of them think that there are 1000 Mb in a Gb, not true, there are 1024, 1Gb is 1073741824 bytes, where some drives 1Gb = 1000000000 bytes (I've seen it say exactly that on some drives) It's a technicality, sounds like the sort of people who would take McD's to court because their coffee was too hot

 
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Seer 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 9:24:42
#3 ]
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Joined: 27-Jun-2003
Posts: 3725
From: The Netherlands

They obviously had nothing better to do, and completely ignored the fact that actually formatting the drive therefore losing space due to the filesystem allocating bits, would result in them not having the full x GB space available to them for their data.

Tho that is correct, many/all HD makers advertise with unfair math.. Like a drive is 203.912.880.128 bytes big = 200 Gb while it's more like 189 Gb without formatting..

It's the same with a 17" CRT monitor screen is not 17", but that is an accepted "standard"


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csirac 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 9:56:00
#4 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 10-Sep-2003
Posts: 333
From: Australia

This is all retarted. Not everything digital use multiples of powers of 2. Especially when talking about serial communications.

If you want to say "one kilobyte as in 2^10, 1024", you say 1KiB. If you want to say "one kilo-byte as a _kilo_ byte (1000)" you say 1KB.

Try running ifconfig on a linux box, it will give you upload/download stats in MiB, not MB.

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Anonymous 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 10:06:14
# ]



I would be more interested to know why when i buy a packet of chips it contains 70% air and 30% chips

Where are people's priorities these days

Rorschach

 
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gemini 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 10:12:17
#6 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 13-Jan-2003
Posts: 662
From: Unknown

I think what they mean is that in premanufactured PC's the POS (Point of Sales, the bit that give you the info on the machine) will state that there is an 80Gb hard drive in the machine. So when people get it out of the box some are surprised that there is actually 75Gb because the other 5G are taken up in formatting the drive and all the software on it.

Hence why there are no hard drive manufatures named above, only PC builders. What should be stated is that it has a 80Gb hard drive (which it does) and 75Gb free space.

I also agree that compaies should stop quoting a Kilo Byte as 1000 bytes. A kb is 1024, a Mb is 1024Kb and a Gb is 1024Mb. It is simple 8bit binary maths. Alot of people wonder why there 100Mb Iomega Zip disk only has about 90Mb space, half due to the file system and the other half due to Iomega saying 1Mb is 1000Kb, which is wrong! Computers work in Binary not decimal.

Gemini


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Seer 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 12:00:38
#7 ]
Team Member
Joined: 27-Jun-2003
Posts: 3725
From: The Netherlands

This is all retarted. Not everything digital use multiples of powers of 2. Especially when talking about serial communications.

If you want to say "one kilobyte as in 2^10, 1024", you say 1KiB. If you want to say "one kilo-byte as a _kilo_ byte (1000)" you say 1KB.

Try running ifconfig on a linux box, it will give you upload/download stats in MiB, not MB.


Maybe, but it is clear this is not the case here; I buy a 200GB drive I want 200 GB of UNFORMATTED space. That I lose a few when I format it, so what.. The amount you loose depends on the formatting used.

As long as HD's are measured in 1024 Kb/Mb/Gb in most OSes then an HD should be sold like such.


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Laser 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 12:51:34
#8 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 19-Jul-2003
Posts: 333
From: Norwich, UK

Quote:
If you want to say "one kilobyte as in 2^10, 1024", you say 1KiB. If you want to say "one kilo-byte as a _kilo_ byte (1000)" you say 1KB.


Sorry to be nit-picky here, but that's just plain wrong. One Kb equals 1024 bytes, like it or not. It is arguable that one kb (small "k", S.I. unit) could be 1000 bytes, but using it would just cause confusion.

There is, as other people have pointed out, the question over whether hard drive manufacturers are being less than honest when they interpret 1Mb = 10^6 and 1G = 10^9, because in the context of computers "M" and "G" mean powers of two sized things, although there your unofficial "GiB" units could help distinguish the two.

Take another angle: When you buy 512Mb RAM, you get 512x2^20 (=536,870,912) bytes of real RAM, yet a HDD of that size would be sold as 537Mb. Which one is correct?


In the context of the thread topic, though, I personally feel that HDD manufacturers should label their drives with UNformatted capacity, as that is the actual storage capacity.

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csirac 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 13:55:52
#9 ]
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Joined: 10-Sep-2003
Posts: 333
From: Australia

I forgot to mention, I agree HDDs should be sold in GiB, but to sue over such a pathetic things is ridiculous..

Quote:
Take another angle: When you buy 512Mb RAM, you get 512x2^20 (=536,870,912) bytes of real RAM, yet a HDD of that size would be sold as 537Mb. Which one is correct?


Sorry to also be nit-picky here also, but mega-byte has an upper-case B: MB.

Look at it another way. Data measured in multiples of 2^10 only really makes sense if the data is being addressed in a binary fasion. Your RAM example is a good case for this. EG. if you filled up your entire 32 bit address space, you would have 4GiB of data there.

On the HDD, though, there is no addressing (ignoring the IDE/SCSI protocols for a second) - if the bits are organised in multiples of 2^10 for each sector/track, it would be a coincidence. Data on a HDD is sequential, non-uniform and subject to physical limitations. In this case, measuring the absolute number of bits on a platter surface may not end up being a multiple of 2^10. Even if the size is a multiple of 2^10, that has no real significance and meaning, except that, these bits will end up in a computer where data storage _IS_ organised in a binary addressing scheme where powers of two are significant.

Then there is serial communications. Since 'bits' themselves are being measured in a sequential fashion, 10Mbps is not 10485760 bps, it's 10000000bps. A 56kbps modem is 56000bps. It doesn't make sense to organise a sequential data stream into KiB/MiB/GiB because from the point of view of the comms system, it only cares about bits, not bytes.

One could argue for hours how units should work.. guess it's a bit like the imperial/metric argument in a way. I think to save ambiguity it should be GiB, MiB, KiB etc. to save confusion. That the HDD manufacturers happen to be using an SI unit in an ambiguous manner such that they could "get away with it" if everyone accpets GiB, is irrelevant. It is misleading to the average Joe, especially if his OS tells him one thing and the sticker on the HDD says another.

I think you will find many people "in the industry" are changing/have changed to the GiB/MiB/KiB notation, which can only be a good thing. There has to be a clear distinction; having the meaning "implied" has confused people for far too long

- Paul
[Edit: apparenlty I can't multiply]

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csirac 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 14:04:42
#10 ]
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Joined: 10-Sep-2003
Posts: 333
From: Australia

Quote:
in the context of computers "M" and "G" mean powers of two sized things, although there your unofficial "GiB" units could help distinguish the two.


GiB/MiB/KiB IS official - it's in the IEC 60027-2 publication. A quick google found this:
http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html

So nyer

- Paul

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herewegoagain 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 15:20:16
#11 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Jan-2003
Posts: 3270
From: Charlotte, NC

Quote:
It's the same with a 17" CRT monitor screen is not 17", but that is an accepted "standard"


Well, I'm not sure how far the lawsuit went, but at least in the US, monitor manufacturers lost a consumer VS. manufacturer suit about the listed monitor size.

Because many 17" monitors only had a little over 15" diagonal viewing size (and similiar ratio for 15", 19" etc.), they now have to post the "viewable size" in the specifications.

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Seer 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 15:44:04
#12 ]
Team Member
Joined: 27-Jun-2003
Posts: 3725
From: The Netherlands

Well, I'm not sure how far the lawsuit went, but at least in the US, monitor manufacturers lost a consumer VS. manufacturer suit about the listed monitor size.

AFAIK, here (Netherlands) it is still normal to advertise a CRT as 17". Maybe somewhere you can get a spec sheet, but most of the time you have to hunt it down yourself or look it up on the packaging (and most shops don't display those and most just say 17" CRT )

Anyway I'll only buy TFT or similar screens, never a CRT for me anymore..


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Laser 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 23:17:21
#13 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 19-Jul-2003
Posts: 333
From: Norwich, UK

Quote:
Sorry to also be nit-picky here also, but mega-byte has an upper-case B: MB.

You sure about that? It is certainly popular to write that lately, but I was always taught (and ISTR seeing a dictionary definition somewhere) that "bytes" is lower-case "b".


Quote:
Look at it another way. Data measured in multiples of 2^10 only really makes sense if the data is being addressed in a binary fasion.

I do see your point.

However, to have two different quantities described by the same unit is confusing to say the least. Digital stuff is binary by nature. As both a programmer and a digital hardware engineer, I have a hard time dealing with non-powers-of-two.

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Laser 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 21-Sep-2003 23:21:35
#14 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 19-Jul-2003
Posts: 333
From: Norwich, UK

Quote:
GiB/MiB/KiB IS official - it's in the IEC 60027-2 publication.
So nyer

Heheh! OK! Whatever, but this is the first I've ever seen of such a unit. Damn good idea though, for the exact reasons we are discussing.

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Martyn 
Re: How big is this HD?
Posted on 22-Sep-2003 13:28:41
#15 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 161
From: South Derbyshire, UK

The thing is, it comes to this -

Technically the HD manufacturers are right - a gigabyte IS 1,000,000,000 bytes, just as csirac said.

1073741824 bytes is 'officially' a Gibibyte.

The problem is that isn't what the users and the industry are used to using - IT IS misleading. I find it a real pain to have to convert between the two to find what it is I'm really buying.

And it also caused me real problem this year when i bought a new HD and came upon the ATA interface limit which depending how you count is 128 GiB or 137 GB.

And yes - the acronyms should be MB & GB for mega- & giga- (no! wait! I mean Mibi & Gibi!!) bytes.

A Mb is megaBIT, Gb gigaBIT.

See how bloody confuding it is?!!!

Martyn.

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