Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hard drive manufacturers: bite me

Dear hard drive manufacturers of the world:

When will you stop lying to everyone?

Case in point: I just bought a 320 GB hard drive to replace the 120 GB one in my computer.

This is what I get when I plug it in:

Hmm, that new hard drive certainly isn't 320GB. In what bizarro universe does 297=320?

What about that 500 GB external hard drive I got last month? Nope, 465.

465=500? I love this math! I'm cutting my car payment and rent checks by 8-odd percent, post-haste!

Yes, I realize the technical cause of this: I know that a "bit" does not equal a "byte." Thus, the formatted drive is not as large as advertised. So what?! That's my point!

"But it IS 500 GB when it's not formatted for use..." I KNOW! That's not an excuse, that's mealy-mouthed technical gobbledy-gook. What good is an unformatted drive? It's useless, that's how good.

When your box says 500 GB in 144 pt 72 pt bold slab-serif, I think I could be forgiven for expecting it to hold 500 Giga-something-usefuls!

That damn pesky evidence

How long until we, as customers, finally call hard drive manufacturers on their lies? When everyone plugs in their first shiny 1000 GB drive to discover it only holds 920? That's a entire placeholder digit you've been robbed of!

It's a set percentage that you're losing every time, so it's only going to keep looking worse as drives get larger, gang.

(Side note: why, after 30 years, do we still not have one single hard drive format that works flawlessly on both a Mac and a Windows PC? Did someone not think that'd be useful?)

Is there any other product that can get away with this? Boxes of cereal and bags of chips come to mind, with their "Contents may have settled" (read: the bag is half empty) warnings.

Am I off my rocker? Is this not a big deal? Any other products that instantly become 8% less useful as soon as you want to use them? Let me know in the comments.

Another aside: I feel a little remorseful about using a picture of a Seagate drive box, because, discounting the capacity lie, their packaging is refreshing and, frankly, delightful. Scan their boxes when you're at the store next time. And check out their instruction manual:

1 comment:

Jake (your brother) said...

nerd info alert:

computers store and measure and then report unused memory as powers of 2, for whatever reason. so a computer doesn't look at 1 GB as 1,000,000,000 bytes, it looks at it like 2^30 bytes, which is 1,073,741,824 bytes.

If you multiply the ratio of reported to actual (i.e. what the computer reports as available times 1.073741824) then you'll find it pretty damn close to as advertised.

i have absolutely NO idea if that means you can actually save ~500 GB on your HD or if it's still actually just the 465 reported. either way, there's some sort of treachery afoot, whether by manufacturers or the heinous powers of 2 or whatever.