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Saturday, September 20, 2008

The great HD scam

I'm in the market for a new backup hard drive. It's been years since I've purchased a hard drive and prices has plummeted significantly while storage capacity is on the rise. The thought of a 1TB drive was merely a pipedream when I last purchased.

I went over to my local Best Buy and picked up a 750GB drive (for the purpose of this post the brand is not important - we'll assume its a major well known brand). It's a plug and play USB 2.o drive. I'm not here to review the drive but to call out the giant HD scam that companies are pulling on society.

If you were to buy a 750GB and the drive was blank when you started how many usable GB would you expect to get? This seems like a simple and stupid question . . . you would expect to get 750GB, it says it right on the box. Unfortunately you'll only get a certain percentage of that capacity. For example I got roughly 698 GB. It all has to do with math but the bottom line is that the consumer is getting less than advertised, approximately 70.3M / GB less.

Manufacturers think we can't think in actual numbers so they advertise in base 10 numbers. I would feel less cheated if the box said 700GB on it. It would be more accurate to the actual space I'm getting and should I put some crazy file system on it I may even get more out of it (then I'd feel like a super genius . . . MORE THAN ADVERTISED!!).

My message here is really Buyer Be Ware . . . your 750GB drive doesn't get you 750GB


Unknown said...

So far as I am aware, most, if not all, hard drive retail boxes have fine print somewhere on the box explaining that the usable capacity is 5-7% less than the big number on the box. I agree that it's crappy, but they're not lying. They just require you to have really good vision.

Rick said...

Interesting when you get 64 Meg of RAM it is really 65.536 Meg of RAM since they state it in based 10 but actually build it in base 2. So you scam the RAM maker out an extra megabyte of memory when you by RAM that offsets your feeling of being scammed on the hard disk. But....

A 750 GB Seagate disk is 750,156,374,016 So actually you are getting over 156 MB above the 750 GB... what was that complaint?

Unknown said...

Oh for crying out loud - not THIS again! There are two ways to count Bytes: decimal and binary. 1 KB is NOT 1000, it is 1024. 1 MB is not 1,000,000, it is 1,048,576. 1 GB is not 1,000,000,000, it is 1,073,741,824.

There is your 7% right there. The advertising on the box ALWAYS speaks in DECIMAL units to make the drive look bigger, but the computer always reports the size in BINARY which makes the drive look smaller. There is no actual difference in the number of Bytes.

My Main drive reports as:

Capacity : 931.4 GB (1,000,070,627,328 Bytes)
Used : 687.7 GB (738,409,631,744 Bytes)
Available : 243.7 GB (261,660,995,584 Bytes)

So my Terabyte HD has over 1 billion Bytes, but that is equal to 931.4 GB.

BTW, 6 X 9 = 42 [in Base 13]

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