For the heck of it

Monday, March 06, 2006

Where are the missing GBs?

Ahem... GBs as in GigaBytes and not Guest Books! Let me ask you a question - how many times have you observed that a flash disk or a hard disk drive, provided you with lesser storage space than advertised, after you partitioned and formatted it? I guess everytime, right? After months of speculation, just yesterday I bought an 80GB Samsung notebook drive to use it as my backup mobile hard disk. The drive claimed a data transfer rate of 5,400rpm (rotations per minute) and came with an 8MB buffer (onboard memory). The storekeeper offered me either this one or a Toshiba hard disk, which came with a data transfer rate of 4,200rpm, one year warranty and no buffer at all. In contrast, the Samsung one came with a 3-year warranty. The price difference between both the drives wasn't much and so I settled for a 80GB Samsung hard disk. I also bought an external USB hard disk casing to go with it and paid 400 AED (Arab Emirate Dirhams) for the entire deal.

Nice deal ofcourse. But once I partitioned the drive into two and formatted it, I was in for a surprise. One of the partitions showed me a usable storage space of 38.9GB and the other showed me 35.4GB. I paid for 80GB hard disk space and in return I get only 74.3GB. Where did the remaining 5.7GB go???

Well, there's nothing wrong with the hard disk it seems. There are various possibilities as to why a hard disk would show lesser storage capacity than it's actually supposed to show. Experts say that as a general rule, you can expect to lose about one-quarter of the space on a disk drive to things such as formatting and hidden partitions. You'll probably lose a smaller percentage on a smaller disk and more on a larger one. You might also lose toward the high side if the disk is the main disk on a system that came with the operating system installed and toward the low end if it's a second or third disk you've installed after you bought the computer. In other words, if you got 225 Gb out of a 250 Gb disk, you beat the guesstimate.

According to industry experts the missing capacity goes into several places such as contributing the space for setting up file tables, hidden partitions, storing critical system files, and so on. Also, its no brainer that one megabyte (MB)equals 1,024 kilobytes (KB), by industry specifications 1 MB is measured as 1,000,000 bytes. This might also be another reason, why your hard disk ends up showing lesser number of MBs.

Read more about it here...


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