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View Full Version : Do consumers ever read the fine print?


tomf87
Sep 22, 2003, 08:27 AM
http://www.theregister.com/content/54/32935.html

What in the world is this? A lawsuit claiming the consumers were deceived by hard drive capacities?

According to the article, these people didn't realize a 20 GB hard drive meant 20 GB unformatted capacity. If they would only read the fine print here:

http://www.apple.com/powerbook/specs.html (bottom of page)

Ironically, I couldn't find any of this info on HP.com or Dell.com.

shadowfax
Sep 22, 2003, 08:39 AM
as dumb as this lawsuit is, it'd be really nice if manufacturers did make hard drives that really did have the full 20, 40, 60, whatever GB capacity. i know it's in the fine print, but it's still a really cheap thing to do.

tomf87
Sep 22, 2003, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by shadowfax
as dumb as this lawsuit is, it'd be really nice if manufacturers did make hard drives that really did have the full 20, 40, 60, whatever GB capacity. i know it's in the fine print, but it's still a really cheap thing to do.

True. Hard drive manufacturers usually state their drive size in formatted capacity now. It's the computer manufacturers that are doing this, including Apple. I guess that is marketing (and I never understand marketing).

However, I'm not sure they could make a formatted capacity drive of exactly 20, 40, or 60 GB. I think due to the technical reasons behind the magnetic platters and what not that it would more costly than to just make a 56 GB formatted disk and state that.

Stojamow
Sep 22, 2003, 09:03 AM
What a world we have ! :mad:

shadowfax
Sep 22, 2003, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by tomf87
However, I'm not sure they could make a formatted capacity drive of exactly 20, 40, or 60 GB. I think due to the technical reasons behind the magnetic platters and what not that it would more costly than to just make a 56 GB formatted disk and state that. i dunno. however you do it, there will be a great deal of highly complicated math to figure out. i really don't think there'd be that big of a difference between making a 20 GB unformatted and a ~22 GB unformatted drive that would then format @ 20 GB.

ftaok
Sep 22, 2003, 09:39 AM
I don't think the lawsuit is referring to formatted/unformatted capacity. They are arguing the fact that the manufacturers are advertising 1GB as 1,000,000,000 bytes and not 1,073,741,824 bytes.

By using the 1GB=1,000,000,000bytes axiom, the manufacturers are actually overstating the capacity by 7.4%.

Fender2112
Sep 22, 2003, 09:42 AM
I think they (being hard drive manufactures) need to come up a standard and be consistant with it. It doesn't matter whether they choose a formatted of unformatted capcity. Pick one and stick with it. That way everyone is speaking the same language.

In the lumber industry everyone knows that a 2x4 is actually 1.5" x 3.5". It's the same concept.

The one that has always bugged me the most is monitors sizes. With flat panels becoming popular, you now have another twist to the sizing scheme. "Is that the actual size or viewable size?" Add to that the fact that laptops go a step futher. Is that a 15.2" screen or 15.4". Just call it a 15" and be done with it.

On a side note: Can someone explain why so much disk space is lost due to formatting?

tomf87
Sep 22, 2003, 09:53 AM
Originally posted by Fender2112
On a side note: Can someone explain why so much disk space is lost due to formatting?


Filesystem setup is the culprit I believe. The low-level format shows a drive may be 20GB, but after a computer sets it up for access, some of the space is reserved for FAT, MFT, etc...

Le Big Mac
Sep 22, 2003, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by Fender2112

The one that has always bugged me the most is monitors sizes. With flat panels becoming popular, you now have another twist to the sizing scheme. "Is that the actual size or viewable size?" Add to that the fact that laptops go a step futher. Is that a 15.2" screen or 15.4". Just call it a 15" and be done with it.


And that should remind everyone that the plaintiffs won a lawsuit over monitor sizes a few years back where the size was the diagonal size of the screen, not the viewable area. Now the fine print on monitors isn't quite so fine.

What's needed is a standard metric that everyone knows is standard. Honestly, I feel that a 2x4 is a rip-off because it's only 1.5x3.5, but at least I know. Untill HD and monitor manufacturers convince everyone that 40GB means 35GB, they ought to be a bit more honest and not rely on the fine print.

ftaok
Sep 22, 2003, 11:19 AM
Originally posted by Fender2112
On a side note: Can someone explain why so much disk space is lost due to formatting? Formatting a hard drive does not use that much capacity. I don't know what the exact numbers are, but it's not the 7% that the lawsuit is referring to.

The number that the lawsuit refers to is due to what the manufacturer calls a GB. There's a 7% difference between the manufacturers definition and the "real" definition.

Formatting won't account for 7%.

ftaok
Sep 22, 2003, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by Le Big Mac
And that should remind everyone that the plaintiffs won a lawsuit over monitor sizes a few years back where the size was the diagonal size of the screen, not the viewable area. Now the fine print on monitors isn't quite so fine.

What's needed is a standard metric that everyone knows is standard. Honestly, I feel that a 2x4 is a rip-off because it's only 1.5x3.5, but at least I know. Untill HD and monitor manufacturers convince everyone that 40GB means 35GB, they ought to be a bit more honest and not rely on the fine print. The monitor guys have to reveal what the viewable screen size is. That's why you'll see stuff advertised as a 17" CRT (15.8" viewable) or something like that. It doesn't matter for LCD screens since the entire panel is viewable (unlike a CRT which hides a good portion under the plastic).

As far as I'm concerned, using 1 GB=1,000,000,000 bytes is fine because everyone uses that definition. That's the standard metric. This case has no merit because the fine print is there. Who wins, that's something else altogether.

shadowfax
Sep 22, 2003, 11:26 AM
Originally posted by ftaok
Formatting a hard drive does not use that much capacity. I don't know what the exact numbers are, but it's not the 7% that the lawsuit is referring to.

The number that the lawsuit refers to is due to what the manufacturer calls a GB. There's a 7% difference between the manufacturers definition and the "real" definition.

Formatting won't account for 7%. i've looked at the formatting space on my 20 and 40 GB hard drives on the ol' winbox. it's 8 MB. lol.

that's definitely right, they have been using a really cheap definition of "GB..."

tomf87
Sep 22, 2003, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by ftaok
Formatting a hard drive does not use that much capacity. I don't know what the exact numbers are, but it's not the 7% that the lawsuit is referring to.

The number that the lawsuit refers to is due to what the manufacturer calls a GB. There's a 7% difference between the manufacturers definition and the "real" definition.

Formatting won't account for 7%.

It's more like 5-6%. I've got a 30GB, formatted is 28615MB.

tomf87
Sep 22, 2003, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by shadowfax
i've looked at the formatting space on my 20 and 40 GB hard drives on the ol' winbox. it's 8 MB. lol.

that's definitely right, they have been using a really cheap definition of "GB..."

Are you referring to the 8MB free? That's reserved for Windows use to convert the drive to a dynamic state (i.e. software RAID).

Windows 2K and Windows XP do this.

shadowfax
Sep 22, 2003, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by tomf87
It's more like 5-6%. I've got a 30GB, formatted is 28615MB. splitting hairs......


as for the formatting thing/8MB, my bad :)

ftaok
Sep 22, 2003, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by tomf87
It's more like 5-6%. I've got a 30GB, formatted is 28615MB.

atszyman
Sep 23, 2003, 08:27 AM
Originally posted by ftaok
I don't think the lawsuit is referring to formatted/unformatted capacity. They are arguing the fact that the manufacturers are advertising 1GB as 1,000,000,000 bytes and not 1,073,741,824 bytes.

By using the 1GB=1,000,000,000bytes axiom, the manufacturers are actually overstating the capacity by 7.4%.

ftaok has it correct. Anyone who works in hardware design knows that due to the binary system sizes are always measured in a power of 2. Now if you go by this standard when you buy a 60 GB HD you should expect 64,424,509,440 Bytes instead of 60,000,000,000 bytes which HD manufacturer's go by so you get gyped out of over 4 billion bytes of HD space. They refer to a Byte as 8 bits of data, and I remeber that a KB was always 1024 bytes so if they are going to go by that standard 1GB should be 1,073,741,824 bytes. You can't just pick and choose how you label things. Imagine if food packagers started using random scales for measuring the weight of food and called them all pounds. Wouldn't you be angry when your one pound package of ground beef only turned out to be .9 pounds?

1K = 2^10 or 1,024
1M = 2^20 or 1,048,576
1G = 2^30 or 1,073,741,824

Le Big Mac
Sep 23, 2003, 08:37 AM
Originally posted by ftaok
The monitor guys have to reveal what the viewable screen size is.

right, because of a lawsuit.


As far as I'm concerned, using 1 GB=1,000,000,000 bytes is fine because everyone uses that definition. That's the standard metric.

if it were standard, then a 40GB drive would format to about 40GB. The problem is the drive makers and the OS makers use different definitions of a GB. I don't see how you can say one of them is "right." The drive makers knowthat their "40GB" drives will have only 37GB according to any OS's measurement of capacity. How is that not deceptive (putting aside the existence of small print, which may or may not be read or understood)?

If you went to buy a gallon of gas, but the gas station used a definition that made a gallon 5% smaller, you wouldn't think anything was odd? Even though there's a small label on the pump saying note: these gallons are different sized gallons ?

crazytom
Sep 23, 2003, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by Le Big Mac
If you went to buy a gallon of gas, but the gas station used a definition that made a gallon 5% smaller, you wouldn't think anything was odd? Even though there's a small label on the pump saying note: these gallons are different sized gallons ?

Most people don't understand that the price for a gallon of gas is cryptic, too. Most people say, "Oh, gas is $1.45 today"....what most don't realize is that it is actually $1.459....that is as good as $1.46 in my book (buying 10 gallons comes to $14.59).

This lawsuit is just silly. I knew when I got my 200GB HD that it wouldn't format to 200GB. It came out to be 189.86GB. But, whatever. If things are standardized and clear, I'm all for it.

"Object in mirror may be closer than they appear."

kylos
Sep 23, 2003, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by Fender2112
On a side note: Can someone explain why so much disk space is lost due to formatting?

One more time.:) (A little more detail)

Computer filesystems are divided into blocks for referencing data, sometimes 512 B per block. To simply reference all the blocks on a modern, 5B numbers must be used for each block address. That's 1% of the drive if the numbers are used only once. A decent filesystem will store even more info to achieve faster access to your info. So it isn't hard to imagine that to create a more robust and fast filesystem, 5% of your drive will be eaten up during cataloging. 512B blocks are only one type of block used to retrieve info. On some Unix systems 8192 B is the largest block that can be read in one operation. These different sizes are used simultaneously.

ftaok
Sep 23, 2003, 09:45 AM
Originally posted by Le Big Mac
if it were standard, then a 40GB drive would format to about 40GB. The problem is the drive makers and the OS makers use different definitions of a GB. I don't see how you can say one of them is "right." The drive makers knowthat their "40GB" drives will have only 37GB according to any OS's measurement of capacity. How is that not deceptive (putting aside the existence of small print, which may or may not be read or understood)?[/SIZE] ? All of this litigious behavior is ridiculous. There are very few instances where lawsuits are required to protect the consumer. This is not one of them.

Where does it end? Should we start suing McDonald's because their Quarter Pounder doesn't weigh 1/4 lbs "after" cooking? After all, I'm not eating raw meat, so why weigh it before cooking?

Next, we'll be going after Kodak, Fuji, et. al. because 4x6 prints aren't exactly 4x6.

The fine print is there. It's enough. The problem with the monitor guys is that they weren't putting in the fine print. Hence, the lawsuit that requires them to do so. They're still labelling a 15.8" viewable monitor as a 17" monitor.

tomf87
Sep 23, 2003, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by Kyle?
One more time.:) (A little more detail)

Computer filesystems are divided into blocks for referencing data, sometimes 512 B per block. To simply reference all the blocks on a modern, 5B numbers must be used for each block address. That's 1% of the drive if the numbers are used only once. A decent filesystem will store even more info to achieve faster access to your info. So it isn't hard to imagine that to create a more robust and fast filesystem, 5% of your drive will be eaten up during cataloging. 512B blocks are only one type of block used to retrieve info. On some Unix systems 8192 B is the largest block that can be read in one operation. These different sizes are used simultaneously.

He's right. This is not something new that suddenly appeared. This has been going on since floppy disks. The floppy actually does hold 1.44MB of data. It's just that 1.38MB is available to the end user after the OS uses some of it to store information on what is on the disk for future reference.