hdd error or size interpretation problem?

i have a somewhat puzzling problem i would value some insight n:
i have installed a maxtor DM9+ 120GB ata133 hdd on an asus a7n8x m/b [rev 2, bios 1004].
The bios recognises the hdd model number correctly.
On winXP setup, XP identifies it as a 122million bytes drives and then says it is a 117thousand MB drive.
I have tried many different partition sizes from 30gb to a single full-size partition and for some reason it reserves/doesnt format 8mb.
This i can live with if it is the norm.
Then, strangely, after XP installs, in windows it identifies it as a 114Gb drive.
Asus probe quotes the same bytes numbers [122mill] and says it is a 117mb drive, yet sisoft sandra and 3dMark2001 both also identify it as a 114Gb drive.
I understand that there is a difference in convention between using 1024 and 1000kb as 1MB and that should account for having 2 different drive sizes [ie maybe 120 vs 117]
but i dont understand why i have 3 potential different drive sizes it maxtor selling a "120gb" drive and then XP calling it in turn a 117234MB and als also a 114Gb drive.

please could you shed some light.
I have done 3 reinstalls already. it is a new machine an hdd and i need to know if it a XP oddity but normal, a bios problem [unlikely i think if it identifies the correct model number?]
or else a dodgy drive i need to rma.

i would really appreciate some input.
2 answers Last reply
More about error size interpretation problem
  1. All hard disk manufacturers have agreed to define 1 GB as 1000 MB instead of 1024 MB as it is recognized by any software as well as simple binary calculations.
    Consequently your hdd is perfectly recognized by BIOS as well as OS.
    When you buy 120 GB, you really buy 117.187 GB or, it is the same, 114440 MB.

    <font color=red>you don't need a faster computer, you need faster fingers for your hand</font color=red>
  2. As Unoc pointed out you are seeing a difference in the definition of "K". For reasons known only to the marketing geniuses, hard disks specify 1K as 1000 bytes when the entire rest of the computer world sees it as 1024bytes. It gives the drive makers a bigger number...

    That 8mb you can't partition and format is a bug in Microsoft's installer. It's been there since Win-NT first came out. If memory serves, this was originally to allow enough space for MSDOS to be installed later... but it's still hanging around, even in XP.

    Also don't forget directories, sector tables etc. occupy disk space, even on a drive with no files on it. So right after it's formatted you will get a somewhat smaller number for the free space on the disk. NTFS actually reserves 10% of the disk for it's Master File Table, Fat32 can use up to 15% of the disk for it's File Allocation Tables and directories.

    So, I'd say "Don't worry about it"... Just set everything up and enjoy your system...

    ---><font color=green>It ain't better if it don't work</font color=green><---
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