Computer Makers Sued Over Hard-Drive Capacity Claims

Chris Lockwood

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One obvious problem with this is that most people do not realize 1 gb is actually not the same as 1 billion bytes, so how is the customer being misled? I believe I've seen computer ads where the fine print said "20GB = 20 billion bytes" or the like.

How many people run out of hard drive space these days? Anyone else think it's odd this comes at a time when drives are so cheap? I can remember when a 500 MB (not GB) drive cost $500. They've gone from $1 per MB to a little over $1 per GB (a bit over 1/1000 the price) in less than 10 years, so let's sue them.
If new cars started costing $30, would these clowns be suing?
 

John_Berger

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How many people run out of hard drive space these days? Anyone else think it's odd this comes at a time when drives are so cheap?
I fail to see at all where your statements have any relevance whatsoever. This lawsuit is not because of money or loss of drive space, but because of improper labelling of the product as I have demonstrated above.

This whole lawsuit is based on principle. On the surface, it seems to be petty petty, of course, but the hard drive manufacturers' refusal to use proper terminology (real 18.6 GB) in order to mislead the public into thinking that their hard drives actually store more data (supposed 20 GB for the impression of 1.4 GB more than is really provided) is the basis of this lawsuit. It's a marketing lie - pure and simple - and this lawsuit is simply taking the manufacturers to task on that.

And by the way 1.4 GB is still a large amount of data, more than two CD-Rs. The fact that it's "only" 1.4 GB relative to 20 GB is completely irrelevant. It's still a hell of a lot of storage space that is being "lost", so to speak.

Can you tell that this has been pet peeve of mine for a while?
 

Glenn Overholt

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Drives have always been measured that way. Just like the old 1 meg memory chips. They were all 1.024's, actually.

If they are suing companies like Dell for misleading information, then more power to them, but that has nothing at all to do with the drives themselves.

You will actually end up with even less space after formatting the drive. The formatting itself takes up bits of space, even if you can't read the info on the drive, or use it in any way.

And we can do this all over again after the OS is installed. Anyone that calculates exactly how many files of a certain size will fit on the drive of a specified size should really have his/her head examined!

What would you get if you had a binary computer system? And it required no setup (formatting) at all? No wasted space! A drive would be usable 100%.

The drive manufacturer's have no idea what kind of OS is going on the drive. They just know how many bits are on it, and that is all they are responsible for.

Glenn
 

Vincent Matis

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I'm usually against many lawsuits because I found them to be a waste of paxpayers' money, but I support this one.
If somebody sell you 2 kg of meat when it really only weights 1840 gr, would you be upset too?

Cheers,

Vincent
 

Chris_Morris

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20 GB is NOT 20 billion bytes
Have you ever thought that maybe they are just using a simple equation for the J6P out there?
FWIW, of my two hard drives:
1- (came with the computer) Advertised as 10gigs, actual 9.3gigs
2- advertised as 40gigs, actual 41.9gigs
and I suspect 1 is lower because the OS is on there.
:shrug:

Chris
 

Matt Pelham

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I absolutely hate frivolous lawsuits, but this one is valid. If a hard drive is advertised at 20Gb, it should have that capacity for storage. Anything else is misleading. I hope they win.
 

Keith Mickunas

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This lawsuit is frivilous. Hard drives have always been measured this way, and it's noted in the adds. It's as stupid as the lawsuit over monitor sizes. Most of the adds, especially the hard drive manufacturer's adds, state they refer to 1GB as 1,000,000,000. Technically that's correct, Giga means billion, is a kilometer 1024 meters? No. Only in computer terms is a kilo 1024, hard drive manufacturers use standard numbering to make it look a bit bigger. Big deal, it's a well known fact. Furthermore, it's the hard drive manufacturers, not the computer manufacturers, who do this. Why sue the computer manufacturers? It must be because of ignorance.

Seriously though, who adds up their software and data requirements and says "I need exactly 120GB of HD space, no more, no less!" No one does that. You buy the biggest thing you can afford, and when that fills up you buy another bigger one.
 

Tony Whalen

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Mixed feelings on this one. Yes, it's frivilous. But the packaging IS slightly misleading. But is it worth spending taxpayers money on? No, I don't think so.

What's next... people are going to sue as they discover their 27" TV's only have 25" or so visible? Or their 17" monitor only has 15" visible? I'm waiting for it...
 

John_Berger

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You will actually end up with even less space after formatting the drive. The formatting itself takes up bits of space, even if you can't read the info on the drive, or use it in any way.
But that amount is very minimal. The actual overhead of applying a filesystem has become much more streamlined over the past few years with enhancements to NTFS, UFS, and so forth. There is minimal lost space due to file system allocation. The real overhead starts to hit when files are actually applied. In that case, block size comes into play which is affected by the type of file system that you use.

This lawsuit, however, has nothing to do with how the data is stored. This lawsuit is strictly about advertised storage capacity vs. actual storage capacity. What file system is applied to the hard drive is irrelevant to the argument.
 

Keith Mickunas

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Tony, the monitor one happened years ago. The manufacturer's all changed the way they labeled monitors, slightly, because of another stupid class-action lawsuit. The viewable dimension is now always clearly mentioned.
 

John_Berger

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Seriously though, who adds up their software and data requirements and says "I need exactly 120GB of HD space, no more, no less!" No one does that.
I just love this attitude of "it's only a factor if you need all of it".
This kind of attitude is so bizarre that I should get into the hard drive business just to sell to these kinds of people. I'll make a fortune! I'll sell 40 GB drives labelled as 100 GB drives to those people who would never use more than 20! Hell, they'll never know because they'll never fill it up, so I wouldn't be deceptive, would I? Sheesh.

This lawsuit is strictly about false advertising claims that the drive is capable of storing more data than it actually can. And, believe it or not, false advertising is still false advertising whether or not you need to use 10% or 100% of any given hard drive.
 

John_Berger

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people are going to sue as they discover their 27" TV's only have 25" or so visible? Or their 17" monitor only has 15" visible?
This is not the same, though. As I understand it, the diagonal is the measurement of the glass on the screen, which means that the diagonal measurements might by exactly right. However, because that tube is encased in its plastic shell, which ends up covering the outer edges of the glass, the viewable measurement is different.

Where this differs is that the TV tube is really, actually a certain dimension. It's just that not all of it can be seen because of the way that the tube is encased.

Hard drive manufacturers, however, are being totally deceptive in the capacity of the drive by improperly using legitiamte terms incorrectly in order to increase the perception of their products' value.

Where the differences come into play is that if you rip the case off the TV, you will get a TV tube with the measurement specified by the manufacturers. The physical tube IS the size specified. No matter what you do with a hard drive, you will never reach the capacity of a hard drive that is stated on the box. It's physically impossible due to their improper (and intentional) use of the term "gigabyte".

I understand why the analogy between TV screen and hard drive was made, but they're not totally similar.
 

MarkHastings

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You will actually end up with even less space after formatting the drive. The formatting itself takes up bits of space, even if you can't read the info on the drive, or use it in any way.
I see what you're saying, but it still doesn't account for the fact that they are boasting more than what you are getting.

Your examples are similar to buying steak. When you buy a steak with the bone attached, the weight is affected by the bone (i.e. you are paying for the bone even though you can't eat it) - this is similar to the 'Formatting' that you speak of that is unavailable to the consumer. Now I expect to pay for a 16 oz. steak when 2 ounces are bone and only 14 oz. are edible, but if they tried to sell me the same 16 oz. steak as a 20 oz. (thus increasing the price), then YES, I'd be pissed.

So, it doesn't matter if there's a portion of the drive that I can't use, that's not the point. The big picture is that they are marketing these drives for MORE than they really are.

Actually, even though you can't store info in that particular portion of the formatting, you can't really use the drive without it, so for all instenive purposes you ARE using that space and thus there is no deception at all. Maybe if they said the full 20GB is 'available' to store files, but do they?
 

Chris Lockwood

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> This whole lawsuit is based on principle.

Yeah, the principle of greedy lawyers suing big companies to line their own pockets. You know damn well that the consumer, the supposed victim here, is going to get next to nothing from this lawsuit compared to what the lawyers will get.

Again, I ask how are customers being deceived when most of them do not know what a gigabyte is? A lot of people talk about their computer having a certain amount of bytes & don't even know the difference between RAM and a hard drive.

Look it up in the dictionary. One definition is "One billion bytes." That's the definition they're using.
 

John_Berger

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I really don't give a sh*t what the dictionary says, frankly. The only reason why it's in the dictionary is because of common usage, not because of correct usage. The term "gigabye" was around long before the dictionary decided to include it and it was 1,024^3 back then, too.

"Ain't" is in the dictionary, too. Does that mean that everyone should start accepting it as proper grammar? Go to your local English professor and ask him. If the dictionary says that one million is actually equal to 999,000, should we just blindly agree with it because, "Oh, well, the dictionary said so!"

A gigabyte is 1,024 to the third power. That's it.

Thank you.
 

Keith Mickunas

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I understand why the analogy between TV screen and hard drive was made, but they're not totally similar.
Actually they're almost exactly the same because it's a matter of how you choose to measure the device then market it. Software people changed the meaning of kilo, mega, and giga when dealing with software. The fact is a 40GB drive holds 40 billion bytes, but not 40*2^30 bytes. A 17" monitor did not have a 17" display, just a 17" tube.

My opinion of these kinds of lawsuits is that they are frivolous because it doesn't affect how you use the device.

Car manufacturers sell cars with HP and torque ratings at the crank, not at the wheels. Isn't this misleading? No. You drive the car and decide if it's got the power you want. Much like you look at a TV or monitor and decide if it's big enough, or buy a hard drive based on it being big enough to hold what you need.

Heck, why don't they sue Microsoft while they are at it? If your system has only one drive, and you try and use it all, you'll bring your system to a crawl or crash it.

I could have participated in the monitor suit but I didn't. I'm an intelligent person, and I do research before I purchase anything expensive and know exactly what I'm getting. I'm not stupid. I guess I can't participate in this one because I don't buy PCs from those manufacturers, but I've bought over a dozen hard drives, and they've all been sold the same way. At least these idiots should go after the people who actually label hard drives this way.
 

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