Poll: Gigabytes vs. gibibytes

You may not know it, but the world of technology is split into two camps right now. For one camp, megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes are all powers of 10. Hard drive makers are part of that clique, as is Apple, at least since the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. For the other camp—the traditionalists, if you will—those same units are powers of two. On that side of the ring, we find Microsoft, memory vendors, and just about anyone who doesn’t know the difference.

Some of the folks who subscribe to the base-10 way of thinking use another set of terms to define the powers of two that were standard for so long: mebibytes (MiB), gibibytes (GiB), and tebibytes (TiB). That scheme follows the IEEE 1541 standard, which defines a MiB as 220 bytes and a MB as 106 bytes. You might see that standard followed here and there in some open-source apps, but it’s far from having entered mainstream usage.

In today’s poll, we wanted to see how TR readers split up between those two camps. So, we’re asking a simple question: would you say a PC has 4GB of RAM or 4GiB? Take your pick in the poll below. You can also vote on our front page.

Last time, we asked about the season’s best PC games. 5183 readers gave us their two cents, and just over half of them were split between BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins and Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. (The former won the contest with 27% of the vote.) At a safe distance behind the gold and silver medalists was Left 4 Dead 2 with the bronze medal, followed by runners-up Borderlands and Batman: Arkham Asylum. Other picks garnered 5% of the votes or less.

Comments closed
    • sigher
    • 10 years ago

    I notice I’m slowly getting more accepting towards that GiB thing, one day I might turn and actually use it.

    • ieya
    • 10 years ago

    If, as has been pointed out, the SI prefixes are lower-case – then surely we’re being good little boys and girls with our capital-letter K and G prefixes, since they’re clearly not SI then, are they?

    • sigher
    • 10 years ago

    I’d say a PC has 6GB not 4GB ๐Ÿ™‚

    • stmok
    • 10 years ago

    Its not that confusing…

    SI (base 10) => kilo, mega, giga, etc.
    IEC (base 2) => kibi, mebi, gibi, etc.
    JEDEC (base 2) => kilo, mega, giga, etc.

    I just follow JEDEC convention. I’ve always have.

    • just brew it!
    • 10 years ago

    I still use the KB, MB, and GB suffixes, even though I know they are potentially ambiguous; old habits are hard to break. Furthermore, having dealt with the binary-vs-decimal issue for 30+ years (hard drive makers have been using powers of ten to quote capacities since forever), it just doesn’t bother me.

    • Prototyped
    • 10 years ago

    kB, MB, GB, TB, PB, EB, etc. ought to be measured in terms of decimal prefixes.

    Why?

    Humans think more easily in terms of decimal! I propose that’s why Snow Leopard switched to using decimal sizes as well, to reduce confusion (since storage is sold in decimal sizes) for consistency, as well as to make it easier on users. So 1 EB is exactly 1,000 PB is exactly 1,000,000 TB is exactly 1,000,000,000 GB is exactly 1,000,000,000,000 MB is exactly 1,000,000,000,000,000 kB is exactly 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.

    By the way, on the OS X 10.6 command line, if you run a command like “df -h”, you still get binary units — using the SI binary prefixes.

    Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
    /dev/disk0s2 18Gi 15Gi 3.1Gi 83% /
    devfs 106Ki 106Ki 0Bi 100% /dev
    map -hosts 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% /net
    map auto_home 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% /home

    Meanwhile if you want decimal measures, another option to that command, “df -H” (uppercase h) gets you the decimal versions.

    Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
    /dev/disk0s2 19G 16G 3.3G 83% /
    devfs 108k 108k 0B 100% /dev
    map -hosts 0B 0B 0B 100% /net
    map auto_home 0B 0B 0B 100% /home

    In my opinion that’s the right way to do it. Use the decimal units by default, and if you need to specify binary ones, be explicit by using the binary prefixes.

    • bogbox
    • 10 years ago

    My HDD partition is 48.90 GO and RAM 1.6 GO.(european language )
    I think the byte is more correctly .I think the O is smaller than then byte. Don’t know how this is.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      …?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Can you please enlighten me on what exactly the ‘o’ in GO stands for? It’s kind of funny you guys use that but then use ‘bytes’ otherwise. I’m too lazy to look it up.

        • crazybus
        • 10 years ago

        Octet, synonymous with byte. Otherwise what bogbox said doesn’t make any sense.

      • FubbHead
      • 10 years ago

      What european language is that?

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        Na’vi.

    • agawtrip
    • 10 years ago

    which came first?

      • stmok
      • 10 years ago

      Base 2.

      Base 10 is used by HDD companies so they can get away with offering LESS storage space. (They used to follow Base 2).

        • Krogoth
        • 10 years ago

        When?

        I thought HDD companies always had used the base 10 system. They are always correct on how they presented their HDD sizes.

        The real culprit is actually software writers (I am looking at you MS). They keep insisting on using SI prefixs to label binary values. OSS crowd have caught up with the program ages ago.

          • dwhess
          • 10 years ago

          The hard disk drive manufacturers changed to base 10 about the time of the 100 MB drive. Before then some used based 10 and some used base 2.

          They are still do not use consistent units. When will they start measuring the hard drive cache in base 10? I am looking forward to drives with 67.108864 MB of cache.

      • Prototyped
      • 10 years ago

      Who cares? Imperial came first, and is demonstrably less convenient than metric.

      Computers are tools meant to serve us, rather than the other way round. Let it go.

    • anotherengineer
    • 10 years ago

    cmon 100th post……………..doh

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 10 years ago

      I like “mebibytes (MiB), gibibytes (GiB), and tebibytes (TiB)”. Why? No reason, it just screws people’s minds.

      • ColdMist
      • 10 years ago

      Is that 100 in base 10 or base 2? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Peldor
    • 10 years ago

    If you want me to believe you when you say my GB isn’t really a GiB, I only ask you to prove it by counting all the bytes.

    • skitzo_zac
    • 10 years ago

    I would say I had 4GB, but that would be a lie. I only have 2GB ๐Ÿ™

    • Prospero424
    • 10 years ago

    I’ve had to explain why the math hard drive manufacturers use is different than that Windows uses to friends, family, clients and customers SO many times that I really do resent the base-10 system, but I still voted for “GB” because changing the terminology this late in the game makes no sense and will just confuse the layperson even more than they already are.

    So yes, base 2 is the proper method, but I and pretty much everyone else are still going to go around referring to both base-10 and base-2 figures using the same old “MB, GB, TB” terminology because when it comes down to it, it’s close enough for consumers not to worry about it.

    Sad, but true…

    • apaige
    • 10 years ago

    FYI, the prefix for kilo is lowercase k, not uppercase K (Kelvin). So it’s either kB or KiB.

    While the binary prefixes may sound silly when spoken out loud, what matters is making the clear distinction between base-10 and base-2 values. People say the base used is obvious depending on the context. O rly? Try to explain to people that 128 “kb” on their HDD is 128 x 1024 bytes, but 128 “kbps” in their MP3s and with their DSL line is 128,000 bits, not 128 x 1024 bits.

    What bugs me most is the confusion between the two, especially in the “MB is obviously base-2” camp. That confusion is hinted in what people consider to be round numbers. 500 GB (as in 500,000,000,000 bytes) is a round number. 500 GiB (as in 500 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes) is not. 512 GiB is (512 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes).

    As for HDD manufacturers, I don’t see a reason to give them flak anymore. They’re perfectly honest with the figures they publish. That 500 GB HDD really is 500,000,000,000 bytes, they even explicitely say so.

      • cygnus1
      • 10 years ago

      r[

    • colinstu
    • 10 years ago

    4096MB, k?

      • crazybus
      • 10 years ago

      Which is neither 4GB nor 4GiB. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      4GB = 4000MB
      4GiB = 4295MB

        • indeego
        • 10 years ago

        Oh no’s. Now we need a poll for character standards in browsersg{

        • green
        • 10 years ago

        4GiB = 4295MB
        … that doesn’t make sense does it? shouldn’t it be:
        4GiB = 3815MB (based on base 2 notation for MB)

        back in the day people were saying they were getting ‘short changed’ because a MiB is less than MB. so when HDDs were sold with 100MB capacity, people were saying it was actually 100MiB capacity which translated into 97.7MB (based on base 2 notation) meaning people were getting ‘less’ than advertised

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          I don’t mean to rain on your parade but you’ve got it completely the wrong way around.

            • green
            • 10 years ago

            yeah you’re right….
            but i’ll leave it there anyway
            and i should probably get some sleep

    • ShadowTiger
    • 10 years ago

    Alot of people are arguing about the legitimacy of certain terminologies…

    But we can agree on this:

    All advertisements and retail packages for hard drives should list a conversion from MiB to MB… and i dont mean 1 MB = 1000 KB.

    Good example: This HDD has 1 TB… which is actually 910 MiB in a Windows NTFS filesystem. (i made up that number)

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      Likewise, the software guys should start labeling the sizes correctly. MS still uses SI model for binary values! OSS caught on years ago.

      • Thue
      • 10 years ago

      It is not the hard disk makers fault that MS choose to use non-standard units. So the hard disk makes should not be forced to clean up after MS’s mistakes.

        • Farting Bob
        • 10 years ago

        Standards are all fine and dandy, but if the majority use a different format, there is little point to having the standard, or it needs to be changed.

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    Binary is the only way to go.

    • videobits
    • 10 years ago

    I really can’t decide which of the 10 choices to pick.

      • PinkCow
      • 10 years ago

      That joke is at least 100000 years old. And it’s 11 choices, anyway.

        • sigher
        • 10 years ago

        Good spot to re-use it though, fitting

    • blastdoor
    • 10 years ago

    I hate to say it in a way, but really KB, MB, GB, TB should all refer to power of 10.

    The reason I hate to say it is that when I was a kid I thought it was pretty cool to learn about base 2 from computers. It was just neat to count in a different way from what I was taught in school, and since I learned about it outside of school, it just seemed even more cool.

    But kilo means one 10^3, it doesn’t mean 2^10. We just have to learn to accept that…

    • Anonim1979
    • 10 years ago

    GiB please. Time to make some clean up in this industry.

    PS.
    Medieval obsolete systems FTW!
    Lets measure speed in furlongs per fortnights!

    Go -f- metric already and use proper SI.

    • kvndoom
    • 10 years ago

    Gib’s are for Quake. I’m amazed that people actually care and get defensive about it.

    • Ardrid
    • 10 years ago

    I would refer to it as 4GB. I am fully cognizant of the fact that a GB is not 10^9 bytes but rather 1024^3 bytes. However, it’s simpler to think of a GB as 10^9 bytes, which is why HDD manufacturers, most software developers, and the mainstream public do it.

      • Shining Arcanine
      • 10 years ago

      It is also cheaper for hard drive makers, as they can get away with lower density platters and look good in terms of numbers.

        • WaltC
        • 10 years ago

        I’m content with 4096 megabytes = 4 gigabytes, but some drive manufacturers make a point of saying that when they say “500 gigabytes” they do not mean “500 x1024 megabytes,” but rather “500 x 1000 megabytes.” That’s for raw storage capacity as opposed to formatted capacity, which will be something less than that, depending on the file system used, because the file system itself takes up formatted space on the drive. I don’t think this has anything to do with binary numbering.

          • bhtooefr
          • 10 years ago

          Actually, they mean 500 x 1,000,000,000 bytes. There is a difference.

          (Also, I tend to refer to floppy disks in kiB, because neither MB nor MiB are correct for those things.)

        • Ardrid
        • 10 years ago

        True enough.

    • Umbragen
    • 10 years ago

    I just want hard drives to format to the same capacity they sell as, aside from that, I don’t care.

      • crazybus
      • 10 years ago

      They already do, more or less. My 640GB drive has a formatted capacity of 640,026,669,056 bytes. My 500GB drive is 500,105,736,192 bytes and so forth. I should be really pleased that my “2GB” flash drive actually offers 3.8% more than advertised capacity.

        • zimpdagreene
        • 10 years ago

        So what format do you do to have the hard drive format with that same usable hard drive space?

          • crazybus
          • 10 years ago

          That’s the capacity Windows reports using regular NTFS formatting. Whether Windows neglects to include the “i” in GiB when reporting the binary multiple doesn’t really bother me that much.

        • Umbragen
        • 10 years ago

        Yes, I know there are more than 6.4 x 10e11 bytes in my 640GB drive, but 596GB does not equal 640GB.

    • esterhasz
    • 10 years ago

    A suggestion: get the IPs of the people who voted for GiB, cross-reference with their forum aliases, take the emails and send them promotional emails for useless shit. They’ll buy it.

    • pragma
    • 10 years ago

    – Ay bebe, comma heer shozus them gibibit.
    – Sir, I object, you drinkalot!
    – Mebi justabit, but dose modules youz look exbibit.
    – Sir, such conduct here is prohibibit!
    – Aw zhutup an lemme petabit. Ouch dat hurtalot.

    • Shinare
    • 10 years ago

    People know what you are talking about when you use KB or MB or GB. Seems to me that any fuss about the use/misuse of MiB vs. MB is more an issue of “I’m smarter than you” rather than actual incorrect usage. I expect all the “I’m smarter than you” folks around here to start replying to threads using KiB when they had not done so previous to this poll.

    • MarkD
    • 10 years ago

    Ah, just what we need, another system of measurements. Where’s the benefit?

    I am OK with the idea that a 1TB disk only yields 931MB of usable space when formatted with NTFS. If I thought I needed more, I’d buy a 1.5TB or 2TB disk, or two 1TB disks. I’m also figuring 1TB is approximately $100.

    It’s a meaningless distinction. Thumbs down.

      • dragmor
      • 10 years ago

      Move to a country that sells bandwidth by the MB or Mib and your opinion will change.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      I’d be pissed with a 1TB drive giving 913MB.

        • Peffse
        • 10 years ago

        ROFL…..

        You know, if I owned such a drive…. I might just keep it for being so awesome. If I had money to burn of course.

        • wira020
        • 10 years ago

        took me a while to notice… i’d probably sue them…

      • GreatGooglyMoogly
      • 10 years ago

      Actually, it would be removing an extraneous one, not adding a new one.

      I’m really torn on the issue. I’m fine with writing MiB and kiB (kilo should be lowercase) etc, but I’d feel like an utter tosser actually saying “mebibyte”. I’d actually prefer a complete overhaul with altogether new units.

    • tesla120
    • 10 years ago

    I never understood the base 10 BS, the computer operates base 2, and the consumer could care less, as long as the number is bigger than their last computer.

    I say normal names, in reference to the base 2 scheme.

    • Peffse
    • 10 years ago

    Here I thought it was Megabytes versus Megabits. Whoops.

    Maybe I’m thinking advertised speeds….

      • khands
      • 10 years ago

      a byte is 8 bits, Mega vs. Mebi is simply an attempt to designate base 2 vs. base 10. It would’ve worked if it had started 20 years ago.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      That’s a matter of capitalisation. Bytes are capital, bits are not.

        • Peffse
        • 10 years ago

        Wait, so there are MB, Mb, MiB…….. and…. Mib?

          • Scrotos
          • 10 years ago

          Correct!

            • Peffse
            • 10 years ago

            I’m… going… over…. there…

            Feel free to ignore the fetal position, I’m just stretching.
            And I’m not crying, it’s a deep breathing exercise.

          • jackaroon
          • 10 years ago

          In practical usage, I have never run into anything that gets measured or would be worthwhile to measure in “Mib,” so you can probably forget about that one (but there’s no harm in being mentally prepared to see it). I think measuring anything in Mib/Gib etc. is a dumb idea. I’ve worked at various ISPs (and one vaguely weird data transport company that is not an ISP) for the past 10 years or so, and anyone who’s measuring bits is going to use a normal decimal system. It’s just amounts of disk and RAM that use KiB, MiB, GiB. I guess it was convenient for a while, here at the end of the 32 bit era, because 4 GiB is exactly how much a 32 bit address can … address. So even though we’re not near the limits of 64 bit addressing, we’ll all remember how it kind of mattered for a while. Old farts can tell us about other points in history where it mattered, too, as the amount of RAM in PCs increased.

          True Confession: I clicked GiB in the survey above, because it’s the only correct answer, and would prefer to say what I mean, but I would probably forget, most of the time, and say GB.
          It was wrong (but very forgivable!) for people measuring Nx2^10 values to hijack existing words and give them confusingly similar meanings. The difference will continue to matter as long as we’re using digital devices, and it’s better late than never.

            • sigher
            • 10 years ago

            There’s a reason why there are 1024 in a kilobyte, and that is the number of physical addresslines you need to address it, when you use 10 you have 1024 possible combination, so that’s not just some fanciful attempt at being nerdy or something.
            The problem is when you go over that and suddenly switch to 10folds in your meaning, that is a bit confusing and not completely logical/consistent.
            But if you want to change that and use seperate terms please think up something better than that GiB people, come on now, that’s such an MS-style solution, or even cisco-style, ouch.

        • Entroper
        • 10 years ago

        That’s a good convention to use, but I wouldn’t expect it to be followed (or even understood) by the majority. One slip of the pinky finger on the shift key, and you’ve got the wrong one. If it’s important to make the distiction, write it out. Of course, if you’re in marketing, it may be important NOT to make the distinction. :-/

        I also try to avoid using confusing units like MBps. If I’m talking about network bandwidth in bits, it’s Mbps, which is the most common unit and abbreviation. If I’m talking about hard drive transfer speed, it’s MB/s. Looks different enough not to be confused with the other one. I guess it’s kinda like mph vs. m/s.

    • gbcrush
    • 10 years ago

    Gib-ib-bytes.?

    I’ve seen “GiB” before, but I always write “GB” and I always say “Gigabytes” when I read it out.

    I read “Gibibytes” and I picture /[

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      that’d be gigagib, right?

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        Say that ten times fast.

        • glynor
        • 10 years ago

        That’s like the next level above “ULTRA KILL (kill… kill… kill…)” from Unreal Tournament 98. But you only get it if you blast them with a Rocket, Flak Cannon, or Impact Hammer.

        That’d be awesome.

      • sigher
      • 10 years ago

      gigitybytes

    • bcronce
    • 10 years ago

    They can start to use base10 numbers when your L1/L2/cache lines/registers are in base10

    I’d like to see a 60byte cache line or 64,000 bytes of L1 cache or a 200bit SSE register

    • MJZ82
    • 10 years ago

    it seems everything is in N-ibibytes but we just call them N-egabytes.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      You’re missing hard drive manufacturers who never use binary so they can sell you less for more.

      • DreadCthulhu
      • 10 years ago

      You must not have seen very many hard drives than. Every HD I have seen uses decimal notation for measuring capacity, going back to the first hard drive IBM made back in the 1950’s.

    • flip-mode
    • 10 years ago

    Over 9000?

    • pakotlar
    • 10 years ago

    Then dad would be right

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Reply fail.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        Troll success.

          • indeego
          • 10 years ago

          Thread Expansiong{<.<}g

            • khands
            • 10 years ago

            Luv Bug

            • JokerCPoC
            • 10 years ago

            …….Nutz

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    MiB/GiB as well as abandon miles for kilo’s. And yeah I’m a red blooded American. (Type Og{<-<}g)

      • JokerCPoC
      • 10 years ago

      Ditto, Traditionalist here too. *[

    • emorgoch
    • 10 years ago

    I’d rather that they all just go with MiB/GiB etc, and they all drop MB/GB so that there’s no confusion.

    Computers use Base2 to represent everything, so we should respect that, and report everything in Base2 values. But it should be made explicitly clear that that’s what we’re doing. So in a sense, everyone is doing it wrong, because no one uses MiB/GiB in there documentation.

    • Spurenleser
    • 10 years ago

    I’d most certainly include a space between the unit and the number.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Like I said. If you bother to follow IEEE standards, at least stop /[

    • Sargent Duck
    • 10 years ago

    I guess I fail at being a “techie”, I’d never heard of this “Mib” or “Gib”.

    I find in normal conversation that I just use “4 gigs” and allow my audience to fill in the rest. But if I were to say it out long hand, then I’d definetly use “4 Giga-bytes”

    That being said, most everybody knows what you mean. If I’m talking to a non-tech user and they say they have a 2.5gigabyte cable connection, I know they meant giga/[

      • bhtooefr
      • 10 years ago

      Careful, Mib would be mebibit. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 10 years ago

    Every other field uses kilo, mega, ect to mean powers of ten; certain portions of the computer world having an exception to that just causes confusion, especially since other parts of the computer world use the SI prefixes correctly; for example CPU clockspeed or networking speeds.

    Can you say using decimal gigahertz and binary kilobytes to measure a CPU’s clockspeed and L2 cache make any sense?

    Now, binary prefixes do make sense for certain computer parts – solid state memory (RAM, processor cache, SSD) since those are built in power of two sections. Since binary is different than decimal, it makes perfect sense to have a different set of prefixes for binary powers. The kibi, mebi, gibi ones sound a bit silly, but work just fine.

      • Entroper
      • 10 years ago

      You make a key point with regard to clock cycles. If we have a 64-bit wide bus at 100 MHz, it is convenient for us to be able to say that it transfers 800 MB/s instead of trying to convert it into units based on powers of 2.

      I usually don’t bother with the -bibytes measures, because it’s usually clear what you mean based on what you’re measuring (for the above reason).

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    I’d voted for the second option, but neither is correct. Values and units should /[

      • Scrotos
      • 10 years ago

      l[

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        Bait successful!

          • Mourmain
          • 10 years ago

          Achievement unlocked!

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    I’d say “4 Gig” in day to day talk.

    I’d write “4GB” (or “4 GB”) on a forum or other chatty website.

    I’d expect “4 GiB” from software these days so I know what it is talking about explicitly, but it should only use that for things that are measured in strict powers of two (memory capacity mainly).

      • GFC
      • 10 years ago

      Same. I say Gigs too. x)

    • Fragnificent
    • 10 years ago

    This whole thing is friggen retarded. This stuff has been in Power of 2 format since the beginning of computers…why change it? If people are too dumb to use the correct numbering system, or know how data is organized, then too bad. I’m tired of computing stuff changing to “make it easier for the non-techies.” Ugh. </rant>

      • VaultDweller
      • 10 years ago

      The SI prefixes have had power of 10 meanings since long before the beginning of computers.

        • ew
        • 10 years ago

        Agreed. Computer people have been using SI suffixes wrong wrong the whole time. I’m completely in favor of different suffix for powers of 2.

        • Shining Arcanine
        • 10 years ago

        Actually, the base 10 interpretations were done because people realized that 10^3 was very close to 2^10, that 10^6 was very close to 2^20, etcetera as a consequence of the change of base formula log(2) / log(10) = 0.301…

        It makes for a simple approximation, but it never was the other way around with integrated circuits. However, if you deal with one of Charles Babbage’s computers, then it would be the other way around.

        • heinsj24
        • 10 years ago

        Storage is not an SI unit.

        So let’s stop using SI prefixes for anything not a base SI unit (metre, kilogram, second, ampere, kelvin, mole, and candela). I’m eying you blood-pressure, electrical energy and Centipedes.

        BTW: I voted for the traditional GB; not the bastardization that is GiB. The real problem is conversion from the base 10 storage used by storage manufacturers to base 2 used by the OS. Is this why the conversion to metric failed in this country – laziness and ignorance?

          • grantmeaname
          • 10 years ago

          what about SI derived units? watts, amperes, volts?

            • heinsj24
            • 10 years ago

            My sarcastic side would say “No” – new prefixes needed… kw is now kwaW. This is only to make it easier for “laymen” to know what you are talking about.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    I voted 4GB but that’s because, as stated in the first paragraph, memory vendors are in the power of 2 camp. So it’s implicit when saying ‘4GB of RAM’ that you mean 4GiB or 4096MB.

    For HDs I go by how they’re advertised too. So a 500GB drive is not 488GiB (I think I got that right.)

    One standard, and the IEC standard is the most accurate, for all would really be best though but the base-10 camp would be in a quandry: change all their advertising to IEC standards or acutally have to add some capacity to their products.

      • Entroper
      • 10 years ago

      You almost got it right. A 500 GB drive is about 488 million KiB, but it’s actually 477 thousand MiB, and 466 GiB. It’s even worse when you get to terabytes. 1 TiB = 1.1 TB.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        I just took 500,000 and divided by 1024. I guess you have to take 500,000,000,000 and divide by 1024*1024*1024 – take it to the lowest level (bytes) and refigure it from there.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          anything other than 500,000,000,000 would not be 500GB (in base-10 numbering)

          • crazybus
          • 10 years ago

          It’s much simpler to go 500*10^9/2^30

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      edit: replied in the wrong place

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Oh, and Apple is straddling the fence, as 4096MB of memory is still 4GB according to the About This Mac screen in Snow Leopard on my Hackintosh.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, from what I understood the ‘power of 10’ presentation for memory capacity on OS X 10.6 is only for show. Under the hood it still counts in power of 2

        • Entroper
        • 10 years ago

        They’re being consistent, just not using the GiB/MiB abbreviations. 4096 MiB are exactly equal to 4 GiB.

          • Tamale
          • 10 years ago

          not quite, they say 4096 MB, when they should say 4096 MiB. There is a difference still, it’s just not quite as much.

            • Entroper
            • 10 years ago

            Like I said, they’re consistent, but not using the standard.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          I think my “memory capacity” he actually means disk space.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    gibibytes sounds like my dad trying to talk about tech.

      • Scrotos
      • 10 years ago

      Agreed. Sometimes the “correct” way of talking about stuff isn’t what most people understand. I think with computers and the large history of marketing and referring to capacities there’s a huge momentum for not changing the designations as it would only confuse people more.

      And seriously, someone looks at “4 GB” and understands that it’s more than “2 GB”. If the entire industry changed overnight, cool. But I don’t want to have to explain to people that one ad talking about “2 GiB” versus another talking about “4 GB” isn’t a typo and just because there’s an extra letter with the GiB, it isn’t “better” than the 4 GB during some painful transition process.

      I think the US should dump imperial and go to SI/metric but there’s too much momentum for imperial for it to ever work. I think the same thing is going to keep the GiB and MiB junk away from the masses and only in the hands of the anal retentive and pedantic with regards to computer stuff. Lawsuits against the hard drive companies were already tried and ok, it changed the way they “meant” GB versus what they meant before, but the OS’s still report it the other way and honestly no one cares and no one’s suing the OS makers to get them to change, either.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        l[

          • Scrotos
          • 10 years ago

          Meh, conceptually it’s the same to me. A change in how people measure stuff. Maybe if we weren’t using mixed units, Ball Aerospace wouldn’t have programmed one of the Mars landers to plummet straight into the surface of the planet before deploying parachutes. Fun fact! I used to work at Ball Aerospace!

          I think the main problem for both is that there’s too much inertia for it to ever happen. For the imperial stuff, yeah, there’s also lots of tools and existing plans and materials that use that system, too, so it’d be even harder than a GB/GiB switch.

          My BOLD PREDICTION is that the GiB stuff will never catch on in any meaningful way.

        • Grahambo
        • 10 years ago

        Fact: People who don’t care enough to know the difference are not gonna care enough to learn it, nor need they. What matters is that similar products use the same convention, which they do. As long as Joe Schmoe doesn’t have to compare a 4GiB ram kit to a 4GB kit, it really makes no difference. Even if hard drive manufacturers were going to switch, they’d have to all do it at once, because none of them would want their 465GiB HD sitting next to a competitors 500GB drive at the same price point when suzy-homemaker walks into best buy.

        Furthermore, anyone who legitimately NEEDS to know the difference (ie. hardware engineers,) already does, and knows enough to differentiate between the two when relevant.

        Conclusion: The point purely academic.

        • jpostel
        • 10 years ago

        The US school systems don’t uniformly teach SI/metric, but I know my kids are learning it at school. There is also the significant cost change is to change all the road signs to km.

        Maybe our new robot overlords will make us change.

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