# Apple, others, sued over hard-drive size claims

Posts: 3,833member
Here goes...

160 kilobits per second / 8 = 20 kilobytes per second

20 kilobytes per second * 60 seconds per minute = 1,200 kilobytes per minute

1,200 kilobytes per minute * 4 minutes (Apple's stated average song length) = 4,800 kilobytes per song

4,800 kilobytes per song * 1,024 bytes per kilobyte = 4,915,200 bytes per song

Number of bytes on 40 GB iPod = 40,000,000,000

40,000,000,000 bytes / 4,915,200 bytes per song = 8,138 songs

However, that's at 160 kbps. Since the inclusion of AAC, Apple has started measuring their song capacities at 128 kbps AAC. Putting 128 instead of 160 yields 10,172 songs.

If everyone used all 128 kbps AAC, the original "1000 songs in your pocket" 5 GB iPod (actually 1,017 songs in your pocket) would be able to hold 1271 songs.

Basically, a 160 kbps song, 4 minutes long, is 4,915,200 bytes, and a 128 kbps song of equal length is 3,932,160 bytes.

Maybe we should all start talking in bytes again so it all becomes clear. 40 billion bytes is 40 billion bytes.
Posts: 148member
First off, its disk space.. not memory.

Second, its all about the actual numbers.. you are not being mislead. Read the early posts in this thread, and you will understand.
Posts: 3,833member
Ebby, I think you'll just have to get used to it. Technically, a 250 gigabyte drive truly is 250 gigabytes, because "giga" is just a prefix meaning "billion." We should sue Microsoft and Apple for making operating systems that state the amount of space you have as 240.something "gigabytes" because it's not true. You have 250 gigabytes on a 250 GB drive.

What the OS reports is either called "gibibytes" or some people I've heard call them "giga-octets." That's what most people think of when they hear "gigabytes."
Posts: 7,112member
All the points about how hard drive size is calculated are valid, but my question is:

Why in the sam Hell are they suing the box makers? It's not as if Dell buys a "56GB" drive and turns around and sells it as a "60GB" drive while cackling evilly. The standard used to measure hard drive capacity applies universally - when the defendants in the suit buy hard drives, and when the plaintiffs go out to Best Buy and buy hard drives too. Even if you want to claim that the consumer is mislead by the fact that 1GB of hard drive space is not 1GB of anything else computer related (and believe me, this is an old complaint), how is it Dell's fault? or Apple's? Or IBM's? They buy the same* "60GB" drive you can buy yourself (as a "60GB drive") and sell it as a "60GB" drive, so there can be no intent to deceive or mislead on their part.

So what do the plaintiffs think they're doing? I don't understand it at all.

* As with video cards and chipsets, OEM hard drives can be different than the ones sold separately under the same model designation, and they frequently are, for the worse (which is why Dell has a terrible reputation for hard drive failures even though they use reputable brands and models of hard drives). But the way the capacity is calculated doesn't change.
Posts: 3,110member
Quote:

Originally posted by Luca Rescigno

Ebby, I think you'll just have to get used to it. Technically, a 250 gigabyte drive truly is 250 gigabytes, because "giga" is just a prefix meaning "billion." We should sue Microsoft and Apple for making operating systems that state the amount of space you have as 240.

This inflated drive size recently started to happen. I remember buying a Maxtor 36GB drive, popping it in my machine, recognizing all 36GB and formatting it to 34GB. I know formatting takes some space and I don't have a problem with that. But I think the number on the box should reflect the size of the disk before formatting. The whole problem is with these new drives that don't show the same unformatted disk size in a computer as on the box. Drive manufacturers are squeezing every last bit or marketing out of the drives any way they can.

However, there is too much suing going around and in this case I think the wrong companies are being sued. Apple, Dell and such do not build the drives. Maxtor, Western Digital and drive manufacturers should stick with "normal" calculations to determine drive size with out a court order.
Posts: 583member
The real gigabyte is 1,024 MBs. Marketing been changing it over to 1000 MBs so people will think drives are bigger then they are.
Posts: 3,110member
Yes! Yes! Exactly.

Why can't I discribe things simple like that!
Posts: 596member
Its not the size..

its how you use it

..with apologies to the original poster on /.
Posts: 464member
I had a blueberry slot-loading iMac with supposedly six gigs. It actually had over 300 or someodd megs more. I do not sympathize.
Posts: 1,901member
Quote:

Originally posted by ryaxnb

The real gigabyte is 1,024 MBs. Marketing been changing it over to 1000 MBs so people will think drives are bigger then they are.

Your getting closer but not quite there, because even 1000 MB is 1,024,000 KB, which in turn is 1,048,576,000 Bytes. So it is worse than you state. Drive vendors say the GB is 1,000,000,000 Bytes. The real, binary GB is 1,073,741,824 Bytes. That is more than a 7 percent difference. When we get to TB drives, the difference will be worse yet, almost 10 percent. On the old floppies, measured in KB, the difference was hardly noticed.
Posts: 8,254member
Quote:

Originally posted by ryaxnb

The real gigabyte is 1,024 MBs. Marketing been changing it over to 1000 MBs so people will think drives are bigger then they are.

You've been duped. Giga- is a metric prefix for one-billion. The minute you understand that, you'll know that the HDD manufacturers are doing nothing wrong.
Posts: 722member
Quote:

You've been duped. Giga- is a metric prefix for one-billion. The minute you understand that, you'll know that the HDD manufacturers are doing nothing wrong.

Yeah, the OS vendors have been duping users in this way to make the drive manufacturers look bad. What I'm trying to illustrate is that it's a discrepancy, but I think it would be right to look at who it serves.
Posts: 8,254member
Quote:

Originally posted by thuh Freak

well, there is also some inaccessible portions of a hard disk, even after the difference between the metric and computer versions of Kilo, Mega, Giga (..). The file system (HFS, HFS+, fat32, ext2, ..) takes up a little piece of the hard drive too. also, when u format your hard disk (in Disk Utility), the program actually steals a few megs in separate invisible partitions for drivers and sometimes a bootstrap partition. if you use the command line utility 'pdisk' you can see these invisible partitions (NOTE: Be careful with pdisk, it can erase hard drives).

The MBRs, bootstraps, and other miscellaneous formatting level intricacies don't change how much data can be stored on the HDD. Besides they represent perhaps 20 MB of space taken out of today's 100+ GB HDDs.

If I created a filesystem that somehow used 1 megabyte of sectors for ever 1 byte of data, would the limitations of my filesystem be the HDD manufacturer's fault?

Amorph, they can sue the box-makers for a couple of reasons. Liability...The box-makers do advertise a capacity for the HDDs they use. It's a question of whether they know of the discrepant number games...conspiracy, in short.
Posts: 8,254member
Quote:

Originally posted by Mac The Fork

Yeah, the OS vendors have been duping users in this way to make the drive manufacturers look bad.

Well, what came first? Giga meaning 1000 or Giga meaning 1024? Yeah, thought so. I don't even think any of the GUI portions of OS X even expand the terms, KB, MB, GB, etc. for fear of this kind of litigious frivolity. They know they can't use the metric prefixes without contention from people who know the GBs reported by the OS are NOT Gigabytes...
Posts: 7,112member
Quote:

Originally posted by Eugene

Amorph, they can sue the box-makers for a couple of reasons. Liability...The box-makers do advertise a capacity for the HDDs they use. It's a question of whether they know of the discrepant number games...conspiracy, in short.

I still don't understand it, though. Why bother trying to establish some sort of conspiracy that everyone else is in on, whose discrepancies are well known and widely disclaimed, instead of going after the source of the discrepancy?

I guess this is why I'm not a lawyer.
Posts: 722member
Quote:

Well, what came first? Gay meaning happy or gay meaning homosexual? Yeah, thought so.

I will guarantee that a vast majority of computer users (even savvy ones) are familiar with Giga meaning 1024 Mega in the context of computer use. And that's what matters.

Quote:

They know they can't use the metric prefixes without contention from people who know the GBs reported by the OS are NOT Gigabytes...

Gibi- is abbreviated "Gi", not "G", to prevent such ambiguity.
Posts: 6,368member
As Eugene said, the giga = billion argument is valid, ergo 1GB = 1 billion bytes. Fine. Now, why does the computer measure 1 GB as something else, the binary 1,073,741,824 bytes as mentioned before? Shouldn't these gee-whiz newfangled abstract GUIs be able to calculate their storage capacity in metric terms instead of the computer-y binary or whatever you want to call that standard? I mean, there's this discrepancy, and I think the gist of the suit is that there shouldn't be one, not that the label of the box is wrong per se. Maybe the computer is wrong.
Posts: 8,254member
Quote:

Originally posted by Mac The Fork

Gibi- is abbreviated "Gi", not "G", to prevent such ambiguity.

NIST and the IEC approved those abbreviations in 1999, but there is no mandate and it's not common usage. As long as Apple is forthright with the values, they should be fine.

Check the System Profiler and you'll see Apple clearly points out the discrepancy. "Volume Size: 74.53 GB (1K = 1024) 81 GB (1K = 1000)" is one example.

Do a CMD-I on any particular file and you'll see something like:

"Size: 3.32 GB on disk (3,568,680,296 bytes)"

They are giving you all the info you need to know.

In fact, by saying that file is 3.32 GB, it's more an issue of misrepresenting the file sizes rather than the volume sizes. If anything, Apple is more liable than the HDD manufacturers, I guess, though the case is weak either way.
Posts: 1,901member
Quote:

Originally posted by Luca Rescigno

. . . Technically, a 250 gigabyte drive truly is 250 gigabytes, because "giga" is just a prefix meaning "billion." We should sue Microsoft and Apple for making operating systems that state the amount of space you have as 240.something "gigabytes" because it's not true. You have 250 gigabytes on a 250 GB drive. . .

It makes no sense to use megabyte to mean 1,000,000 bytes and gigabyte to mean 1,000,000,000 bytes as the drive makers do. It can only be rationalized as tradition. In binary systems, using the typical 1000 multiplier between each prefix would be confusing, hard to work with and introduce decimal points. Ugg. If you had 512 MB of RAM and added another 512 MB, you would have a total of 1.024 GB of RAM. But it is worse than that. You would never have a 512 MB RAM strip. It would be a 536.870912 MB RAM strip. With two of them you would have 1.073741824 GB of RAM.

I think it is reasonable to automatically use the 1024 multiplier between each prefix when we are dealing with binary numbers. Use 1000 when we are dealing with the base ten number system.