Are hard drives never as large as advertised

hard drive

From all the hard drives I have bought, they never seem to be as large as the advertised size; from 320 GB down to 290 GB, from 500 GB down to 450 GB, etc. Is there a technical reason for this?

Best Answer

The technical reason is that the hard drive manufacturers sell you capacities in metric units. So a GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes by the metric system. However, computers measure the drive size in powers of 2. So 1GiB = 1,024MiB, 1MiB = 1,024KiB, etc. What this means is that 1GiB = 1,073,741,824 bytes, a difference of 73,741,824.

So when you install your 1GB (for the sake of example) drive, the OS only sees 0.93GiB, and this is the cause of the discrepancy.

(If you've never seen the abbreviation GiB before, it's a new notation adopted to denote powers of 1024 as opposed to 1000. However, most operating systems will report GiB as GB, confusing this issue even further)

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