850GB for $48!

If you believe this item at PC Magazine’s online comparison service, we have two miracles in one:

  • The biggest single internal disk just jumped from 750GB to 850GB, and it’s not from Seagate, it’s from IBM (also, it’s not SATA, it’s IDE/EIDE).
  • It costs a whopping $48, or less than six cents a gigabyte–quite a drop from the fifty cents or so that you’ll pay for that shrimpy little Seagate 750GB drive.

Ready or order a few? Not so fast. As with most things that look to be too good to be true, there’s a problem here. Set aside the 1.5-checkmark rating for the store. Drop down to the ads below the detailed description. Click on the link for the same model number–from the same vendor.

Hmm. It says 850, to be sure, and it says $48. But the suffix is MB, not GB. (And it’s IBM Lenovo, not IBM, but that’s irrelevant.)

$48 (including shipping) for a teeny-tiny drive (it’s 3.5″, notebook size, but by today’s standards 850MB is pretty scrawny, and you could get a higher-capacity USB flash drive for that money) doesn’t seem all that great: $56 a gigabyte.

This would simply be amusing–except that, if you do a search on the model number, most of the early results show the same “850GB” capacity, even though they lead to lots of “different” shopping services and review compilations. All of which seem to offer up the same item at the same price, some (but not all) with the same single review noting that it’s not as described.

As noted in a commentary on Wikipedia in the new Cites & Insights, at least one writer has praised Wikipedia for making it clear that truth is whatever most people think it is. (I’m paraphrasing, but not by much.)

On that basis, then, if we can substitute “most first-page results from a search” for “most people,” this drive really is an 850GB drive. That’s the truthiness of the situation.

Just don’t try to store more than one-tenth of one percent of that much data on it: That gets involved with that old-fashioned truth, the kind that has to do with physical facts.

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