When you buy a new SSD or storage drive with a specific capacity, how much do those drives really hold?
The first thing we look at when investing in a new drive is the capacity, the more your drive can hold, the better it is! But, the thing is, what exactly is a megabyte, gigabyte and a terabyte?
We are lead to believe that a megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes, a gigabyte is 1,000,000,000 bytes and so on. However, this is simply not the case.
A gigabyte is in actual fact 1,073,741,824 bytes, or 2^30 bytes. It became an industry standard to simplify this by rounding it off to 1,000,000,000 bytes, or a thousand megabytes.
As early as the 1960s, using binary addressing became a standard of measuring storage capacity in computing science. So, for example, if you have a 10-bit address (10000000000 in binary) There are 2^10 or 1,024 (in decimal) possible addresses, and not exactly 1,000.
So, manufacturing companies usually round off their capacity ratings to, let's say 250GB or 500GB, for convenience sake. But, in reality, you are getting something rather different, albeit reasonably close.
However, based on the math we just learned, you would assume that your drive then has 256GB and not 250GB, and 512GB and not 500GB, right? Well, it's becoming more common to find out that the true capacity is more like 232.83GB instead of 250GB, and manufacturers are getting away with it because it technically works out based on the true meaning of the term "gigabyte" and so on.
Take a look at the video below by YouTube channel, Tech Quickie, on How Much Storage Space Do You Actually Have On Your Drives?