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When 1 GB Is Really 0.9313 Gigabytes

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the internal-struggle dept.

Data Storage 618

An anonymous reader writes "When it comes to RAM, as every geek knows, 1 GB does not mean 1 billion bytes.. it means 2**30 (1,073,741,824) bytes. However, several decades ago "they" decided that GB, MB, and KB would be interpreted differently when it comes to disk drives; 1 GB means exactly 1 billion bytes. Ed Bott points out that Microsoft's marketers and Windows kernel developers aren't on the same page when it comes to these units: the marketers use the more generous decimal interpretation, while Windows measures and reports capacity using the binary (2**30) measure. Careful customers who bother to check what they've got have been known to get peeved by the discrepancy."

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618 comments

"they" can fuck off, the binary units are the only (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857053)

correct ones to use.

Re:"they" can fuck off, the binary units are the o (5, Informative)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857255)

Actually, when it comes to correctness: the International System of Units defines kilo-, mega- and giga- as powers of 10 instead, not powers of 2. I think it is much clearer for a user to define a megabyte as a million bytes. How memory is handled inside a computer is something developers care about, no user should be bothered with it. So all in all I agree with the marketing-people, albeit for different reasons.

Re:"they" can fuck off, the binary units are the o (5, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857325)

and by the same standards, 2^10 is a KiB [wikipedia.org]

and yes, why is this geek news when anyone with either a passing interest, or who has ever done a wiki crawl, will know this?

Re:"they" can fuck off, the binary units are the o (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857443)

A terminology they just up and made up later. I have never heard anyone actually use it.

Ask yourself, when is the last time you heard someone refer to mebibytes and gibibytes. Everyone uses metric prefixes.

Re:"they" can fuck off, the binary units are the o (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857425)

Please remind me: How many bits is there in an SI byte? Is it 10, 100 or 1000.

If your byte contains 8 bits, you are either using the binary sizes, or you are mixing things to fool the customer.

What. The. Fuck? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857059)

What the hell is this? It's common knowledge for, it's the ABC of computer literacy.

Are you going to post articles about "Hey, you can represent numbers and letters in binary code!!!1 How awesome is that?" next? Or how about "Newssite finds: You need to plug the power cord in to switch your computer on!"

Re:What. The. Fuck? (4, Insightful)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857345)

My thoughts exactly. This is an article appropriate for The Today Show or something where you are informing the illiterate masses, not something worthy of posting on Slashdot.

BTW, this reminds me - a couple of weeks ago on the Today show, they were talking about new cool comptuer terms. One they were talking about was "animated GIFs". I felt like I jumped into a time machine and went back 20 years into the past.

Re:What. The. Fuck? (4, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857405)

My thoughts exactly. This is an article appropriate for The Today Show or something where you are informing the illiterate masses, not something worthy of posting on Slashdot.

BTW, this reminds me - a couple of weeks ago on the Today show, they were talking about new cool comptuer terms. One they were talking about was "animated GIFs". I felt like I jumped into a time machine and went back 20 years into the past.

Slashdot is full of illiterate masses now

Re:What. The. Fuck? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857431)

Sadly, true. As demonstrated by how every other discussion turns into the equivalent of the Disqus forums underneath any CBS or other news article that is linked to by drudgereport.com. If I wanted to hear a bunch of brain-numb mouth-breathers go on and on about "durp durp O'Bozo durp durp ha ha" and "libtards and republicrats dur durr durr", I'd just be clicking on CBS articles and reading the unemployed racist trailer trash commenting at the bottom; not coming to Slsahdot.

Re:What. The. Fuck? (1)

Azure Flash (2440904) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857403)

Or how about "Newssite finds: You need to plug the power cord in to switch your computer on!"

I got a laptop. Sounds like bogus news to me.

so... this is old news (5, Insightful)

liamevo (1358257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857061)

Article is a forum post from 2008 talking about things we knew before then.

Why was this posted?

Even worse! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857075)

To make it even worse, the first comment in that forum states:

> this is common knowledge for most ppl here.

timothy should get fired. He's not doing what he is supposed to be doing in a very grossly incompetent, outright insulting, way.

Re:Even worse! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857179)

timothy should get fired. He's not doing what he is supposed to be doing in a very grossly incompetent, outright insulting, way.

Nah, he manages to collect a bunch of random trash with an anti-Microsoft spin, so nerds can get their 2-inch hardons every day. I'd say he does the job he supposed to do.

Re:Even worse! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857201)

This.

Re:Even worse! (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857381)

timothy should get fired

You can't fire him. He's a 5-line perl script. All you can do is file bug reports.

Re:so... this is old news (5, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857077)

Article is a forum post from 2008 talking about things we knew before then.

Why was this posted?

Extra slow news day?

all our nerd-fu has left the building (2)

epine (68316) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857129)

Article is a forum post from 2008 talking about things we knew before then.

Why was this posted?

Recently I decided there were now so many of these ludicrous stories, it was a waste of time to post regularly. As of this very second, I'm beginning to wonder if it's even worth the bother to parse the daily Slashdot headlines.

Re:so... this is old news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857083)

Try reading the first link, that's from 09-02-2013. The other link is there as context. Your post is there because you rushed to get first and now look like a fool.

Re:so... this is old news (2)

liamevo (1358257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857101)

Rushed to get first? Nope.
Rushed to ask why the hell this was posted on slashdot as if it's news to us? Yes.

Re:so... this is old news (TFA) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857181)

Did you read TFA? Apparently not, as it's a horribly bad article.

It does not know what it is talking about as it wildly mixing the discrepancy from the binary/decimal conversion with a company advertising "64 GB tablets" but the user only has 50 (or whatever) due to the OS taking space. The linked articles from TFA make that very clear.

This entire post and the linked articles are just a mess of uninformed, confused mess and it should never have made it on slashdot. I wish we had a moderation system where you can click "This article belongs on slashdot" and "This article does not belong on slashdot" so the editors could learn what the userbase wants. And could get fired if their failure-quota gets too high.

Re:so... this is old news (TFA) (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857251)

You mean like http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org]

Re:so... this is old news (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857183)

Article is a forum post from 2008 talking about things we knew before then.

Why was this posted?

As a reminder of the present.

Re:so... this is old news (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857209)

Why was this posted?

It's been on deferral until enough time has passed since Steve Jobs uploaded himself to the iCloud. The author mentioned Apple, so it got tagged. Homeland Editorial was a little slow in picking up the intel. We assure you that we have fired the editor responsible for this. Also, the person who wrote that last sentence has also been fired, as well as his manager, his manager's manager, and the entire division. We take redundancy and outdated news very seriously here at NuSlash. We take redundancy and outdated news very seriously here at NuSlash. Please enjoy this refreshing Snark while we correct the problem.

Sincerely,

NuSlash(tm)
Proprietors of high quality tech derp.

Not old news (1)

gsslay (807818) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857241)

Article is a blog post from February 9th 2013. You are looking at a follow up link commented on previous debate about this continuing issue.

Complaining it's old news is like moaning that your newspaper has a report about drunk driving. Old news, but the story is it still happens and still affects people.

In this case the story is also that this situation is ridiculous and confusing. It should be sorted.

Re:so... this is old news (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857363)

Why was this posted?

Ed Bott wrote it. That proves, to all his detractors, that he can multiply.

Not news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857071)

Everybody here knows this.
TFA has nothing interesting to add

Still News (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857227)

Slashdot is not an education site, and this is still news, because nothing has changed. You simply don't hear about it that often, because your right, most people know about this marketing[decimal] vs real[binary] measured value, and the whole lies/justifications around it. This is simply a new spin on things...[I quite like the way the heading has chosen to show marketed:real] Microsoft [perhaps unfairly; everyone else does it] because they represent the real values within the OS, and lie about the real values on the packaging...something that is magnified [and fairly] that their OS occupies so damn much of these limited storage on their[not your] portable devices...including its own surface brand...and "No", external storage does not replace internal storage, like having USB slots does not replace internal storage on a Desktop PC; its a feature [a good one].

In context of this article today I am moving an OS from 100GB failing drive onto a 40GB Good one, and did not remove enough data [because I guesstimated wrongly] before cloning it, so after removing more data [I used bleachbit] I'm now re-cloning it; its set to finish tomorrow!?

Re:Still News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857339)

"this is still news, because nothing has changed. "

I think you may be confused about the meaning of the term "news".

We are days away from mining asetroids (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857079)

with 3D printers and this is a front page story?

Re:We are days away from mining asetroids (0)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857383)

Yah, and the Pope announced he's quitting. THAT's news for nerds.

Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (2, Insightful)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857089)

Yeah yeah, this is old news.. but nevertheless, this is one of the only things in the IT industry that really peeves me off.

Its not just Windows, but Linux and every other OS uses the base 2 notation for KB, MB, GB, TB, etc.

Why can't we just oust hard drive manufacturers for what they're really doing (ripping us off) and force them to just base 2 notation :/

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (5, Insightful)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857107)

If the computer industry can't adapt to counting the way of the rest of the world does, that's our problem. We should be pointing at whoever originally decided that they should usurp the already established term Kilo to mean 1024 and slapping them upside the head. Anything less is pure arrogance on our part.

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857155)

Because the rest of the world refuses to use the obvious and standarddized solution of using Ki and Mi.

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857283)

Why should they? It's not like enough of us are rushing to use those terms right now. The entire computer industry's historic dumb acceptance of an erroneously redefined numerical term makes it's our problem to fix, no-one else's.

Does anyone else remember a CS class when a lecturer papered over the cracks of this particular issue?

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857269)

Back when I first studied c.eng, it was drummed into us that base 2 units were ONLY to be used for references to perfectly binarily addressable devices. RAM as we have it today with word lengths that are also powers of two is one. CPU Registers another. Some displays at the time were as well, although no longer, and the origin there was RAM based.

All else, such as file sizes, card, tape or disk storage, network bandwidth, logic frequency and the like were strictly Base 10.

Then small systems crept in and base 2 assumptions began to spread. The 1980s brought hard drives marketed with base 2 units. In the 1990s people started to believe a 10MHz cpu was 1024*1024*10 Hz.

Now this century it's not uncommon to find self-professed geeks calculating say, theoretical throughputs based on the idea their gig-ethernet is 1073741824 bits per second, or that their CPU/RAM speeds use similar numbers in GHz.

it amuses and saddens me to see newbie geeks calling base 10 hard drive sizes "marketing units", when they simply haven't been taught correctly.

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (1, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857427)

Not all of us like kilo to mean 1024. I don't. However, there's a good argument for getting the world to switch to base 8 or 16 for the basic number system. That would trickier to achieve, but we would all be happier in the end, and everything would be consistent (I do like base 12 however, sigh...).

Re: Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (1)

Shadow Knight (18694) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857119)

Starting with 10.6 Snow Leopard, Mac OS X has used the base ten interpretation in the GUI display.

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857167)

And if someones owes you $2K you expect him to hand over $ 2048 right?

The errror was allowing base 2 notation to use k for 1024 when k had been defined as 1000 a hundred years before

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (1)

Everything Else Was (786676) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857329)

The hard drive manufacturers are using the units correctly. 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes

It's the units used in most operating systems that are inaccurate (although I've seen some Linux distros that use GiB, etc.). They use GB for numbers that are actually in GiB, and it is that difference that causes people distress. But no, it's the drive manufacturers fault! Perhaps they could make it clearer by labelling disks with both units... but let's not pretend they are being anything less than accurate in their labelling.

Putting their crapware on non-removable partitions and reducing the usable drive space, however, is another story!

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (1)

PybusJ (30549) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857335)

Well for one reason, the hard drive manufacturers have the ISO standards on their side.

There are well defined (though, unfortunately, rather ugly) prefixes for 2^10, 2^20, 2^30, 2^40: kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi. If people want to use base 2 quantities, then use the right unit and there isn't any confusion. Apple does the right thing in reporting sizes in base-10 units; GNOME also does the right thing and uses base-10 units, so I don't think you can say that Linux is in the same situation as windows here.

If lower level, or more admin-focused tools want to use base-2 notation then that's fine, just mark things Ki, Mi, Gi rather than kb, Mb, Gb. Many linux command line tools (such as ls -lh) are out of step here, but it's hard to change the output format for fears of backwards compatibility and people who parse the output in scripts.

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857349)

It's not just hard drives, it's bandwidth too...

[-b|--base value]
If you are graphing memory (and NOT network traffic) this switch should be set to 1024 so that one Kb is 1024 byte. For traffic measurement, 1 kb/s is 1000 b/s.
Source: http://oss.oetiker.ch/rrdtool/doc/rrdgraph.en.html

This is the format that's used by mrtg, nagios etc.

Re:Yeah yeah, this is old news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857415)

I believe IBM was one of the last hold-outs still happy to sell hard drives using a base 2 notation. I may be misremembering this -- the hard drive is long unplugged -- but I've got a 40GB DeskStar from 2001 or so that actually delivered something like 39,7 GB

Terabytes (5, Informative)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857095)

It gets worse when you start counting terabytes. I recently bought a 2TB HDD and grown my mdadm raid array using:

mdadm --add /dev/md69 /dev/sde3
mdadm --grow --bitmap=none /dev/md69
mdadm --grow --raid-devices=5 --backup-file=/root/grow_md69.bak /dev/md69
mdadm --grow --bitmap=internal --bitmap-chunk=65536 /dev/md69
resize2fs /dev/md69

And I was surprised that my filesystem grew only by 1800 GB ! Still a bit more space for rsnapshot cron backing up all my family's PCs twice per day. But still... I wanted 2TB more, not 1.8TB.

Re:Terabytes (5, Insightful)

neyla (2455118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857353)

It does indeed get worse and worst with increasing size of the units.

The difference between 1 KB in base-10 and base-2 is 2.4%

The difference between 1MB in base10 and base2 is 4.9%

The difference between 1GB in base10 and base2 is 7.4%

The difference between 1TB in base10 and base2 is 10%

The difference between 1PB in base10 and base2 is 13%

The difference between 1EB in base10 and base2 is 15%

2.4% difference isn't a huge deal, but 15% difference is much more noticeable.

"Real GB" or "marketing GB"? (1, Interesting)

daveewart (66895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857103)

If there's a query about which units are being used, the question "Is that 'real' GB or do you mean 'marketing' GB?" is the way I usually phrase it.

Re:"Real GB" or "marketing GB"? (2, Insightful)

dosius (230542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857153)

Likewise I say "true GB" for 1024-based and "salesman's GB" for 1000-based. Because the 1024-based units ARE the true units, and the 1000-based units WERE created just to make hard drives look bigger than they actually were.

-uso.

Re:"Real GB" or "marketing GB"? (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857247)

1000-based units WERE created just to make hard drives look bigger than they actually were.

Invoke Poe's law.

I honestly can't tell.

GB or GiB is the proper question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857221)

Long ago, when manufacturers started making 1024 bit RAM chips, people found it easier to refer to them in common speech as "kilobit" chips. Every engineer knows that RAM chips come in powers of 2 and therefore what they really meant was 1.024 kilobit RAM. Later, some kiddies who didn't know any better started thinking that "kilo" actually meant 1024 but only for RAM chips, and then others thought that it meant 1024 for anything related to computers. Wrong. Kilo means 1000. Always has. If you want to talk in multiple powers of 2, the correct name for the prefix is kibi or mebi etc.

This National Standards Institute document explains the difference.
http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html [nist.gov]
Also Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mebibyte [wikipedia.org]

In summary, 1GB (Gigabyte)=1000000000 bytes, 1GiB(Gibibyte)=1 073741824 bytes.

Re:GB or GiB is the proper question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857377)

and a byte is 10 bits

Re:"Real GB" or "marketing GB"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857347)

If there's a query about which units are being used, the question "Is that 'real' GB or do you mean 'marketing' GB?" is the way I usually phrase it.

Do you ask about marketing km when you're asking how far something is? Or marketing Gb/s for your transfer rate?

Of course not, because SI has always been powers of 10, and storage capacity was always powers of 10. It's *only* RAM that was ever measured in powers of 2, and it was the fault of the OS's using powers of 2 for drives as well as RAM that confused consumers.

Re:"Real GB" or "marketing GB"? (3, Insightful)

equex (747231) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857419)

SI is irrelevant in this case, because it obviously does not meet the physical reality of a RAM chip. Some things are just not a multiple of 10, get over it.

Re:"Real GB" or "marketing GB"? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857421)

The 'real' GB includes England, Wales and Scotland. But politically, 'UK' is the correct term when including the region around Belfast.

GiB (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857113)

Finally adopt the official prefixes.
If you are talking decimal, use GB. If you are talking binary, use GiB.

Re:GiB (1)

polar red (215081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857143)

"official"
on whose auth ?

Re:GiB (4, Informative)

phluid61 (2501032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857203)

"official" on whose auth ?

The IEC. International Electrotechnical Commission (January 1999), IEC 60027-2 Amendment 2: Letter symbols to be used in electrical technology - Part 2: Telecommunications and electronics. * http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html [nist.gov]

Re:GiB (1)

J_Darnley (918721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857171)

Yes. A very good suggestion. I use that little, but very important 'i' when ever I know which prefix I'm using. Some software even does it too.

Re:GiB (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857187)

Agreed completely. The rest of the world refuses to achnowledge these units.
What is more interresting is why the harddrive manufacturers, who will surely be aware of these standardized units, don't mention them anywhere.

Re:GiB (1, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857393)

The United States of America can't convert to metric and SI units so it's not reasonable that they could convert to any standard. It is a country full of dumb arses (or, asses because they also cannot spell.)

Re:GiB (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857447)

And how much is a "stone", again? Because every time I read an article about a person in a UK paper, it gives their weight in stones.

Re:GiB (1)

swilver (617741) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857303)

Fuck that. They can use "decimal GB" or dGB as their "official" prefix. KB, MB and GB are base 2, and have been for decades. Live with it.

Re:GiB (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857337)

k, has meant 1000 since the 18th century. the other SI prefixes have been around in science longer than they have with computers.

Re:GiB (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857387)

Exactly. Consistency is more important than tradition in the long run. 1MB = 1 million bytes should become standard. The GP needs to live with that, as it is in fact better. Besides we have mibibytes and mebibytes if you still need the older, broken metrics.

Re:GiB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857355)

You'd think that G is always 2^30 when it comes to computer, but when it comes to communication speeds, G has always been 10^9, M has always been 10^6, etc. (Think 1 gigabit ethernet, 100 megabit ethernet, etc.)

Re:GiB (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857327)

On my KDE Linux most programs are very good about making this distinction. You can even choose which option you want system-wide.

Re:GiB (2, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857379)

Sorry, but that's rubbish. GiB was "invented" to justify the incorrect marketing. 1GB has *always* and forever will be 2^30.

Re:GiB (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857389)

Yep. I have a 465.66 gibibyte hard drive.

Shoot the bastards who ruined good base10 terms. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857133)

It's the 'they' who bastardised existing base 10 terms like mega, kilo, giga etc that should be slapped. They're base ten when it comes to data rates, mass, energy, power, distance, pixels, frequency... Oh except when it comes to bytes. Hell, even megabits are used as a base 10 measurement. Bytes though? One particular word length... That's special because of something something rounding.

If only Ihad a time machine to go have harsh words with the first people to adopt kilo as 1024

Base-2 prefixes belong with RAM, a naturally binary-only addressible device. All else makes sense as base 10

The Difference is More Apparent Now (2)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857137)

True, the discrepancy is old news but as capacity increases the difference is becoming more noticeable.

It would be so much better if "they" were persuaded to return to using the correct measurement.

Re:The Difference is More Apparent Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857277)

True, the discrepancy is old news but as capacity increases the difference is becoming more noticeable.

It would be so much better if "they" were persuaded to return to using the correct measurement.

No, it would have been so much better to see users actually grow out of this childish temper tantrum over some fractional space on their new 3TB hard drive they bought only because it was on sale and they're never going to fill anyway.

The only thing more noticeable here is how anal people have become over really stupid shit.

Re:The Difference is More Apparent Now (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857343)

Would you do the same hand-waving if you were getting short changed via misleading advertising when pumping gas into your car or withdrawing money from your bank account?

We have standards for measures in other forms of business, I see no reason why computers should be different.

Re:The Difference is More Apparent Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857411)

15% is not just some fractional space.

frist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857141)

First "fuck the pope" post!

GB vs GiB (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857149)

It's all quite well defined actually. GB = 10^9, GiB = 2^30, and so on.

Re:GB vs GiB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857369)

Which is a relatively new term, which means legacy apps, habits, and frequently modern code all use GB in the older sense. Which just makes life confusing because you have no idea which one the developer meant.

gogle does not like link building (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857151)

You should stop fleecing website owners

Why.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857163)

...is this still common practice? Call me naive, but I would hope that, by now, a large (or at least significant) portion of the "average consumer" body would be comprised of the generation that grew up learning about computers, and could therefore generate enough negative feedback at the markets to initiate a change away from this particular status quo. Then again, I look at CES and hope slowly fades...

Not this again. (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857165)

There is no big grand conspiracy of evil marketing people versus the grand world of computer people.

1G = 10^9 in every area.

1Gbit/s = 1e9 bits per second (noone complains)
1GHz = 1e9 cycles per second (noone complains)
1GT/s = 1e9 transfers per second (noone complaines)
1GB = 1e9 bytes (oh the horror! the evil marketing oh woe woe woe)

The only reason it that 1GB = 1GiB every caught on is because RAM really relies on a power of 2 address bus, so it's always very closely tied into powers of 2 and it's convenient to round that to its nearest decimal equivalent in order to talk about it succinctly.

There was never any reason to do it for anything else, and hard disk manufacturers pretty much never used GiB when they meant GB.

And even the venerable 3.5" floppy was an unholy mixture of KB and KiB multiplied together.

Re:Not this again. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857291)

1GT/s = 1e9 transfers per second (noone complaines)

I would have read that as "one gigatesla per second" and thought you were talking about magnetic fields near black holes.

Re:Not this again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857293)

And even the venerable 3.5" floppy was an unholy mixture of KB and KiB multiplied together.

Ah, the good old 1.44 * 1024 * 1000 byte "1.44 MB". That brings back memories. Not the best ones, but memories nonetheless.

Re:Not this again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857351)

As you say, RAM must use base 2. However, since we also have nifty features such as virtual memory, using base 2 for HDD sizes reduces complexity and the number of bugs a great deal.

Re:Not this again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857395)

Note that all the complaint-uninducing 1e9s you listed are "per second" -- that's how it has traditionally been. Storage is base 2, but transfer, particularly network transfer, is base 10. (But how long it takes to copy a 1 GB file at 1 MB/s is still an open question to me. 1074 seconds, 1024 seconds, or 1000 seconds?)

Re:Not this again. (0)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857407)

I really do pity you people with an American education. Really. Who is "noone", by the way?

Re:Not this again. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857435)

Who is "noone", by the way?

Aman who inaccuratelyhits the spacebar?

How to fix this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857213)

I like to go back in time a find the lazy bastard who refused to say 1.024K bytes when they made that first 1K chip.

Someone's not paying attention (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857219)

What's all that confusion. XKCD had that sorted long time ago:
https://xkcd.com/394/

Please pay attention!

Old - yep, and yet.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857229)

Why has no one learned?
"Kilo" is latin and literally means a thousand. But for some reason, people seem to think that "a thousand" shouldn't mean "a thousand" when suffixed by "Bytes" (though if it's bits, it's totally cool).
There's a completely legitimate and useful alternative set of numeral words for us, that actually mean the number we're looking for. Yes, I'm talking about the silly "Kibi, Mibi, Gibi, Tibi" terms. Yes, they are silly. But, they're contextually correct and do not cause the sort of ambiguousness that "Kilo" does if applied before "Bytes" og "Grams" does the way it does now.

I'd say the news value here is that despite the fact that the IT World as a whole had a problem, it came up with a good solution, but no one (or very few) use it.

Why?

Blame the marketers (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857235)

The fault lies 100% at the feet of the, typically, totally technically incompetent marketers.

Hard drives used, in the long ago good old days, to be measured in base 2 sizes. Back in the days of 20 Meg and 40 Meg and 80 Meg, they were measured using base 2 and so buying an 80 Meg HD, you got 80 "computer" Megs. This was also back in the days of 10+ different HD makers (lots of competition).

Then at some point an idiot marketer was looking for any edge to make his/her companies product look different than the competition. And they discovered that if instead of dividing the count of bytes by 1024*1024 they instead divided by 1000*1000, the result was a larger number. I.e., a 200 Meg hard drive could now be advertised as 209 Meg. Since 209 was larger than 200, they felt this gave them a "one-up" on the other guys. And once the first idiot marketer did this, the rest of the idiot marketers soon followed suit, because they could not have their own products looking "smaller" on the shelf, and the result is that now HD's are the only computer component that is advertised in base 10 sizes.

The idiot marketers are also why when you go to buy a hard disk that is only about 15 cubic inches for the disk itself you find the box to be about 5 cubic feet on the store shelf. Not all of that 5 cubic feet is for "padding". 99% of it is to make the box look larger on the shelf.

Re:Blame the marketers (1)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857259)

Mod this dude up.

This is exactly how all this nonsense started (I should know I'm an old fart and remember all this happening)

Re:Blame the marketers (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857287)

This is exactly how all this nonsense started

No, the nonsense started because someone thought it was a good idea to buch the meanings used in the rest of the world and use kilo==1024, not kilo==1000.

Re:Blame the marketers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857305)

No, Mod that dude down.

This 'nonsense' started with the first hard drives I ever worked on in the early 1970s. Hard drives have always been Base 10. For a small time in the 1980s with piddling operating systems that couldn't differentiate between sane units, hard drives went to Base 2 measurements, like so many other units are heading and compounding the problem.

Marketers probably did start one-upping, but I'm glad they did because a HD isn't a naturally binary-only addressible device. Measurement of their storage capacity belongs in base 10 and always did.

WHY? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857249)

Because fuck you that's why!

Who's going to stop us from being misleading? You? Yeah right.
You're just a consumer with zero power beyond running your mouth and generating useless text nobody will read.
Not buy our product? Good luck with that. You'd have to live in a cave to avoid being fucked over by us.
Everyone screws you this way. It's the industry standard fucking.

Now shut up and go buy something. Peon.

BREAKING NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857261)

that's some breaking news...

Not rocket science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857279)

Typical troll article: "When it comes to RAM, as every geek knows". Yeah right.
If the media itself doesn't care about 10^9 vs. 2^30 presentation then SI units should be used.
SI units here mean GB, if application specific is needed it is GiB, from IEC.

Should not be that hard.

As every geek knows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857357)

Yes, we already know this.
In fact, we knew it:

several decades ago

I'm not sure why this was posted. Did someone come here from Reddit again?

And the problem is getting worse too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857359)

The difference is nicely illustrated by this graphic http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Binaryvdecimal.svg [wikimedia.org]

Back in about 1994 (1)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857367)

Back in about 1994 I was at a Microsoft conference and they were giving away free copies of Windows NT to anyone who could answer how much NT could address (the address bus was 32 bits at the time). I answered correctly with the answer 2^32 bytes and got my free copy of NT (still in a box somewhere in storage). So at least at that conference I was at MS recognised that the correct quantity was 2^32. So, something seems to be wrong with this article.

welcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857371)

to the 20th century, mr. tfa author (and the morons at cbs-owned zdnet)

there's NOTHING NEW HERE... we've known about the differences between decimal and binary storage units for ages. standards bodies even finally separated the two some 12-15 years ago, so we have units like gibibytes (binary) and gigabyte (decimal)..

the ONLY THING MICROSOFT IS DOING WRONG, is not using the correct abbreviations (e.g. gibibyte is GiB not GB) for their binary units as reported by windows. but at least they do report total sizes down to the byte in a drive's properties panel along side the simplified unit sizes.

DRIVE MANUFACTURERS STARTED THIS MESS... so BLAME THEM for any and all confusion.. THE IRONIC THING is that while they use decimal units for megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes, they're all still based on the byte, which is NOT a decimal-based unit -- it's binary, based on powers-of-two, just like the megabytes and gigabytes of old that they were so desperate to get rid of in the name of marketing. if they used 10 bits to the byte instead of 8, a so-called 500 gig hard drive (4 trillion bits, aka 465.7 gibibytes) would "only" be 400 gigs.

not billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857397)

billion is a wrong english word, because normally a billion is 10^12, only in english its used wrong. so please do not use this number word.

Slow Day What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42857439)

1995 called it wants the "Microsoft uses deceptive practices" post back Timothy. Please post something interesting like how to fix pen pressure sensitivity drivers so they actually work with PhotoShop on Windows 8 tablets with pens. [youtube.com] Not to mention the other tablets with Windows 8 that do not measure up to the job as yet.

The Question is, how is something produced (1)

allo (1728082) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857441)

RAM: if they make a bigger module, they usually just double the number of chips on the module -> 2^x. Another reason here is, that you have a nice address, which ends with all zeros (or fills the complete addressfield), when your maximum address is a power of two.
Harddrives: they are produced independend from such considerations, you have like 100 GB, 500GB, 3 TB ... all of them do not fit in a nice 2^x scheme anyway. Thats the reason, they are produced in GB and not in GiB units.

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