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When will 1GB be one gigabyte?

By ungua ยท 14 replies
Mar 16, 2012
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  1. Every time I order a new hard disc or SD-card or whatever I get a bit angry and a bit disappointed at how regulators and the industry mismanage consumer trust in what e.g. "32GB" stands for. Why can't they agree on that 32GB on the package should show as 32GB of available space in a device? 29.xGB available space, as shown in my phone, is close to a 10% loss of space, and the larger storage devices get (1TB harddisc for instance), the bigger the gap will be.

    I am fully aware of the discussion around the "gibibyte" and all that raindancing. But, honestly, if I were to sell my slowish Volvo with 136 horsepower and say in the ad that it has 1000 "harsepower", coming up with a way to calculate that, how legit will that be? So I wonder if you people know about any consumer group out there that needs a fistful of dollars in support every now and then, in order to fix this bs?
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I believe that's down to the formatted usable space, not the hard disks capacity.
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,409   +3,422

    Then you should also be aware this has been an argument for over a decade and barking about it will get you nowhere.

    It has become a marketing scheme that will likely never change. They want you to think you are buying a larger number value. The same concept is used behind selling items at a $#.99 value. As if we are not capable of rounding prices in our head, what an embarrassment to the level of our intelligence.
  4. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Your 29GB showing on your phone probably does not include the OS.

    I think you'll find a lot of car manufacturers inflate their top speed or 0-60mph figures.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    For Leeky and slh28 - You 'lose' the space because when manufacturers say it is 1 TB they are meaning 1000 GB (rather than 1024 that the OS goes by) or 1 trillion bytes. So it is caused by 1000 being equal to 1024 in the manufacturer's marketing department.
  6. ungua

    ungua TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    Thank you for your replies!

    The phone example is about a SD-card that is removable, it does thus not contain any OS-data and is shown at 29.xGB capacity both in the phone and on my PC. It is just like SNGX1275 says, it is a counting issue. And, man, if counting was that hard, we wouldn't even have those devices now... So I am looking for rationality here, and how to promote it.

    Which leads me to my next point: I am barking, yes, but not just. As this has been an ongoing debate for ages (in computer time, if also time is counted flexibly), I wonder who represents reason here? There are lobby groups, right?

    ...and I agree to the x.99 price idiocracy, especially in countries like mine, which has had a 0.50 coin, which is even abandoned now. Were I a communist leader, I would abolish that, too. :D And, yes, car companies do fake their information, too - even boot space data - but probably not by 10%. I'd like to change all that if I could, but right now I just wonder about this gigabyte, gibibyte, gobobyte, gagibyte-thing.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,409   +3,422

    Technically hard drive makers are labeling their drives correctly, ever since the introduction of the Binary labeling. GigaByte is one billion bytes not one billion binary bytes. Free space is shown as binary bytes, which as you already know is the Gibi prefix (bi for binary).

    Decimal values have 3 place holders for each prefix.
    • Kilo = 10 to the power of 3 equals 1000 (10 variations per placeholder to the power of 3 placeholders)
    • Mega = 10 to the power of 6 equals 1000000 (10 variations per placeholder to the power of 6 placeholders)
    Binary values have 10 place holders for each prefix.
    • Kilo = 2 to the power of 10 equals 1024 (2 variations per placeholder to the power of 10 placeholders)
    • Mega = 2 to the power of 20 equals 1048576 (2 variations per placeholder to the power of 20 placeholders)

    If I am not mistaken the use of the binary prefix was not widely adopted and considered by many as a failed attempt. I hope you can see there is no way to change the 1024 multiplier for a binary number system. This is why I stated earlier that labeling would likely never change.
  8. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TS Maniac Posts: 380   +8

    1 GB is equal to 1024 Megabytes. When something is said to be 32GB it is, and never will be a true 32GB (For hard drives, storage devices)

    A hard drive is set up in a fashion that 1GB = 1000MB, and there for you those 24Megs, this adds up over time.

    As well, when using a storage device there is always a portion of it that is used, for drivers, function, instructions, the controller to tell what ever device you connect to it what size it is, and what type.

    All of this takes space. You will never ever have a drive that says XXGB and have it equivilant to it, it's just how it works.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,409   +3,422

    That would be 1GiB is equal to 1024 Megabytes. (An "i" for binary representation)

    1GB without the "i" is equal to 1000 Megabytes.
  10. Catalhoyuk

    Catalhoyuk TS Member

    Western Digital has a PDF explaining their Advanced Format hard drives and in there it shows a pretty decent explanation of why hard drives don't show up as 1GB for 1GB hard drive.

    "Each sector has a gap, Sync/DAM (lead-in) and error
    correction information. Legacy architecture is very
    inefficient for ECC (Error Correction Code). It requires
    lots of overhead to support multiple blocks of ECC. "


    Not sure how much (if at all) this affects flash media
  11. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TS Maniac Posts: 380   +8

  12. ungua

    ungua TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    I see the point, and it is adequately explained on Wikipedia, too. I don't know if I miss something, but there is no reason not to align the two ways, by decree? If everybody counts the binary way, everybody would be talking about the exact same thing all the time. Nothing to lose there...
  13. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,798   +459

    That notation was introduced after the fact... MS obviously don't subscribe to the same school of thought otherwise they'd have done something about windows explorer.
  14. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

  15. ungua

    ungua TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    ... that probably just makes it a matter of time before MS follows? Problem partially solved then.

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