2008/5/1 Niall O Broin <niall at linux.ie>:
> On 30 Apr 2008, at 20:48, Michael Watterson wrote:
>>> > basically it's because memory chips use pwr of 2 due to binary addressing
> ( 1024 = 10 address lines)
> > Disk drives however count with decimal pwrs of ten
>> Disk drives don't count with anything, but disk drive sector addressing is
> just as much power of two related as is memory. There's one and only one
> very simple reason why manufacturers of disk drives are quite happy to be
> technically correct in their usage of gigabyte to mean 1,000,000,000 bytes
> and that's marketing - if engineering produces a disk drive which can store
> 100,000,000,000 bytes marketing wants to sell that as a 100 GB (gigabyte)
> drive rather than a 93 GB (gibibyte) drive.
>> This difference in capacity between what manufacturers (which speak in
> gigabytes), and what operating systems (which speak in gibibytes) say has
> existed for a long time (witness the 1.44 MB diskette) but users knew that
> operating system formatting used up some space on the disk, so when they
> installed a 100 MB disk drive and ended up with the operating system saying
> there was ~95 MB available that wasn't such a big deal - it was only ~4 MB.
> But when you buy a 100GB disk drive and end up with the operating system
> saying there is ~93 GB available that's 7GB you appear to be short and a
> significant number of people know that this is a fairly big chunk of space
> (of course an even more significant number of people wouldn't know a byte if
> it bit them, but they're not germane to this discussion).
>> This is evidently such a cause of confusion / annoyance to the punter that
> a computer store I visit occasionally has a sign up on the wall explaining
> this, presumably to head angry customers off at the pass.
Just to get on a soap-box for a bit... One argument I've had with disk
drive manufacturers is how they are trying to co-op gigabyte's meaning
to gibibyte. one gigabyte is 1024 megabytes is 1024*1024 kilobytes is
1024*1024*1024 bytes is ... Trying to pretend that the 'real' meaning
of gigabyte is a decimal, when the rest of the computing world has
standardised on the base-two meaning is pure HD makers' marketing
While the original language meanings may differ, computing has been
built around the names having base two as their base. Customers are
right to get angry with people about this (I know this has been
something I've been arguing about since I got my first winchester
drive) and should demand things be marked correctly.
ahem, anyway /soapbox
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