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HD space
Authored by: tricil on Mar 09, '08 10:42:27AM

are we talking formatted capacity?

I have a 500GB external eSATA drive and a 200GB internal drive in my MacBookPro

700GB on paper total, yet 651GB formatted

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HD space
Authored by: frgough on Mar 10, '08 07:53:48AM

Formatted capacity is almost exactly the same as stated capacity. You are falling into the common error of treating the space reported by the OS with the space reported by the manufacturer as being measured in identical units. They aren't.

It's confusing because software developers use the same name, but it's a completely different unit of measure. (kind of like pounds troy and pound avoirdupois).

So, in ISO units (that used by hard drive manufacturers and every technical field in the world except software engineering), your hard drive is 700 gigabytes, and about 698 GB formatted.

In the the funky world of software engineering were the giga prefix means 2^30 instead of one billion, your hard drive is 651 GB formatted and about 653 GB total space.

If you want proof, take a look at your drive in Disk Utility. Ignore the GB value and look at the actual bytes. It will say something a little over 700 billion bytes total capacity and slightly less than 700 billion bytes formatted.

As a physics and chemistry person, it has annoyed me no end the stubbornness with which software engineers continue to refuse to use the standard ISO prefix values even though they use the abbreviations.

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HD space
Authored by: wallybear on Apr 13, '08 03:40:33PM

Yes, but as computers are binary machines and use drive space in power of 2 units, manufacturers should specify (as occurred in the past) drive sizes in GiB (Gibibytes = 2^30 bytes) as this is the actual usable space.
Instead what happens now is that you buy a 500GB drive thinking to have 500GiB available space, only to discover you have only 465GiB.
If computers uses drive space in chunks of 512,1024 or 4096 bytes, it's useless and deviant to give drive size in power of 10 sizes.

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