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Thread: HEXUS.guide: Gigabytes and Gibibytes - What you need to know

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    HEXUS.guide: Gigabytes and Gibibytes - What you need to know

    When talking about a binary number like computer memory or processor cache, where the memory is made up of a series of memory cells that hold single bits of information, the number of memory cells is always power of 2. For instance, 1024 bits of memory, what you'd likely usually call a kilobit, is 2^10 bits. However, kilo is a prefix for base-10 or decimal numbers, so it doesn't actually apply to that figure when it's a representation of a binary number. The correct prefix is instead kibi, so 1024 bits is really a kibibit.
    http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews...lld19JRD0xMzc2
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    Eccentric Trend setter
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    When I first read that title on the front page, I thought it was a dig at bit-tech.net, lol.

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    Hexus.net Troll Dougal's Avatar
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    Mibs of ram? pah, GiBs here.
    Last edited by Dougal; 05-08-2005 at 01:35 PM. Reason: Wireless keyboard
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    DR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Kordir
    When I first read that title on the front page, I thought it was a dig at bit-tech.net, lol.
    Sorry for any confusion...

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Mibs of ram? pah, GBs here.
    wrong. GiBs of ram.

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    iMc
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    Cheers for the guide Kez
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    Mike Fishcake
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    I admire your dedication to technical accuracy, but realistically, it's never gonna catch on in the mainstream.

    Whether it's technically accurate or not, it's taken years and years and years for the average person to understand Megabytes and Kilobytes as a method of measurement of storage/RAM on PC technology. There's not a chance that your non-techy PC user is going to start adopting ever so slightly different terminology.

    Sometimes, whether we like it or not, technically innacurate language becomes accepted as the norm, and I think, considering the vast, vast majority of people are using Megabytes to describe the amount of RAM they have in their PC, I'm not going to start confusing people by asking them how many Mibibytes of RAM they want to upgrade their PC to.

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Fishcake
    Sometimes, whether we like it or not, technically innacurate language becomes accepted as the norm, and I think, considering the vast, vast majority of people are using Megabytes to describe the amount of RAM they have in their PC, I'm not going to start confusing people by asking them how many Mibibytes of RAM they want to upgrade their PC to.
    But start quoting in Kibinibbles - THEN you sound smart

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    Rys
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Fishcake
    I admire your dedication to technical accuracy, but realistically, it's never gonna catch on in the mainstream.

    Whether it's technically accurate or not, it's taken years and years and years for the average person to understand Megabytes and Kilobytes as a method of measurement of storage/RAM on PC technology. There's not a chance that your non-techy PC user is going to start adopting ever so slightly different terminology.

    Sometimes, whether we like it or not, technically innacurate language becomes accepted as the norm, and I think, considering the vast, vast majority of people are using Megabytes to describe the amount of RAM they have in their PC, I'm not going to start confusing people by asking them how many Mibibytes of RAM they want to upgrade their PC to.
    I don't buy it, not for one second. There's no real confusion if it's explained properly, and if people see it enough they'll start to take it on board. That happens with almost everything we write. From graphics architecture to CPU terminology to the correct binary representations of numbers.

    The correct terminology is close enough to what's incorrect for there to be little confusion when seeing it written, and it takes only a couple of spoken minutes to explain the difference.

    Everyone that uses a computer usually knows that binary is 1s and 0s. If they grasp that concept, they're most of the way there already. I'd rather stick my neck out and say, "well, hang on a mo, you're most of the way there but not quite" and correct someone, than leave them in blissful ignorance.

    To refuse to reeducate, and to further refuse to learn something new is to be shortsighted. Everyone reading HEXUS should be able to follow that article and take something from it, and that's what Steve and I aimed for when we worked on it. You obviously understood.

    Do what I do and write it correctly, then if someone says, "why the i?", explain it. Job done, you pass on some knowledge, the recipient learns something new. Surely that's exactly what HEXUS is here for? To educate its readers about computing? This is just one very tiny part of that greater goal.
    MOLLY AND POPPY!

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    Hexus.net Troll Dougal's Avatar
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    Try this one:

    Why is it that in france its Go Mo and Ko?

    Surely "byte" is international?
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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    because "bytes" would be pronouonced "beats", which, well, let's settle with the french term octets, okay?

    as for it being confusing, have you never had someone ask "why is my 80GB hard disk only 74GB"? that's a prime example of the difference between GB and GiB that is (it's 80GB but 74GiB)

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    Hexus.net Troll Dougal's Avatar
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    OCtets means 8 tho
    Quote Originally Posted by Errr...me
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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    yes they do. and a byte is 8 bits.

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    Rys
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    And the correct terms for France would be Gio and Mio.
    MOLLY AND POPPY!

  15. #15
    Mike Fishcake
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    Rys;

    I wasn't talking about usage of it on Hexus; I was talking about mainstream usage of it out and about, in the newspapers, on the high street and so on.

    I personally have no problem with using the terminology with other techies, the article was a revelation to me, and very interesting to read, but I'm thinking one step ahead (one step too far?) - I was thinking about this from the general public's point of view.

    What do we do when we see adverts in newspapers or shop fronts for PC equipment where the measurements are incorrect? Do we just like it and lump it because tradition has dictated that's how it's been measured, or do we complain about it and risk sounding like patronising pedants?

    I don't want to sound like I'm discouraging the reviewers on here from sticking to the correct terminology, but at the same time you can't expect people to change overnight when they've been using those terms for years and years.

    This is an interesting article, but as long as people promise not to beat me with a big beating stick if I ever use the phrase "megabyte" incorrectly, I'll be fine with it

    (Good god, I sound like a pensioner trying to get to grips with all this "modern money" )

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    I've been in IT for 20 years, and while that article is correct, it really doesn't help.

    Leave it be lads, leave it be.

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