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Data Storage IBM Hardware

Some Hard Drive Nostalgia To Start Off the Year 163

Posted by timothy
from the for-auld-lang-syne dept.
ColdWetDog writes "It's the end of another calendar year and time for all sorts of retrospective pieces. Instead of going back to last year or even last decade, MacWorld has a quick slide show on the The Evolution of Hard Drives which more accurately would be described as 'A Dozen Pictures of Ancient Magnetic Storage Devices.' Still and all, it might be interesting to those young'uns who think that 10 Gigabytes is small."
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Some Hard Drive Nostalgia To Start Off the Year

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  • by Super Dave Osbourne (688888) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @06:20AM (#34729032)
    as of recently. Bought a RAID setup with 1.5 TB drives about 1.5 years ago. The same drives are selling at the same retail for the same price last week. I think this part of our history in drives will be recognized as a major stall in product development, innovation and consumer needs.
    • by thue (121682) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @06:49AM (#34729124) Homepage

      3TB drives have become available over the last 1.5 years. That is a nice improvement over the previous max of 2TB.

    • by stonedcat (80201)

      They're squeezing as much profit out of us as they can.
      If they started released 3, 4, or 5Tb drives at reasonable prices we wouldn't keep buying up these 1 & 2Tb drives like they're going out of style.
      It's almost entirely likely that these drives are almost effortlessly cheap to make now but there's no incentive to lower prices because we all need them.
      More accurately this part of our history will be known as "the great cashgrab" of the early 2000s.

      • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @07:47AM (#34729292)

        If they started released 3, 4, or 5[TB] drives at reasonable prices we wouldn't keep buying up these 1 & 2[TB] drives like they're going out of style.

        Since the issue with drives that size isn't about production ability as much as it is about the computers' ability to handle them properly, this just isn't true.

        Why bother selling something that will result in all the margins being eaten up by support calls, RMAs and constant bitching and complaining about something you have no control over?

        • by AndGodSed (968378) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @09:41AM (#34729686) Homepage Journal

          Agreed.

          Also, larger disk drives tend to become less reliable in my experience.

          I have a server where daily roll back backups is made to a 1.5TB drive every 24 hours. Given that I only do a rollback of Inetpub on that drive I get about 170 to 200 days worth of dailies out of it.

          I would love to slot in a 3TB drive or larger, but reliability is such that I would rather swop out the drive for a new one twice a year and put the full drive in a "storage" server at the office than risk losing a year worth of roll backs due to a drive failure.

          (Before anyone flags my backup method, we do have other backups on three other servers, but since these have 1.5TB drives for backup at the largest and they serve as backup/failover nodes for eight servers total every server has a rollback backup drive in it. We are a smallish setup that cannot afford a SAN setup, so we make do with what we have. That means that per server we can keep about 30odd days worth of failover backups on these servers. Again larger drives would be great.)

          Anything larger than 1TB also become problematic in a RAID setup, where I found the Seagate NS drives to be almost bulletproof - up to 1TB. I would not trust anything larger than that in a RAID array just yet.

          • I am using 320GB drives because of the reliability problems you cite.

            I have some bigger drives, (750GB and 1TB drives for unimportant stuff,) but my old LaCie 320GB drives (with a redundant set of mirrors) are my work-horses.

            I do incremental back ups hourly.

            I burn copies and store them off site weekly.

        • by yuhong (1378501)

          Yep, we are hitting another hard drive barrier imposed by the MBR and APM partition schemes. For some nostalgia, anyone remember the 504MiB, 8.4GB, or 128GiB hard drive barriers?

      • by mikael (484)

        Basic marketing .. it was like that 25 years ago with floppy disks. One time I went into the local branch of ComputerWorld to buy some floppy disks - they had a plastic box case of ten pre-formatted 3.25" floppy disks for just 100 pounds ($150). Just because there was a oil company up the road where admins/sysmanagers would come running out whenever a sales-exec needed to back up some files.

        There is always going to be some customer willing to pay whatever asking price just because they need to have the late

    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @07:50AM (#34729300) Homepage

      I think there's many reasons:

      1. People moving to laptops, desktops aren't that big anymore
      2. A lot of research and focus going into SSDs
      3. Increased use of streaming services
      4. Higher bandwidth means you rather delete and redownload later

      Obviously there's a lot of people that still need a lot of storage space, but having a single 3 TB drive over 2x1.5 TB drives is just not that important, if you need a bunch of them you're looking at $/TB not how many drives there are. I built myself a very plain "server" using a big gaming case, a PSU and mobo with many SATA connections and it got room and connectors for 10 drives. Right now it has a bunch of various disks from 250 GB to 1.5 TB so it's only 6-7 TB total but fully loaded I could now have 30 TB in it, which is massive overkill even for my packrat habits. Of course in the long run it would be nice to have 10+ TB drives but my willingness to pay a price premium for a slightly bigger disk is very low. I'd rather just add one more 2 TB disk than an expensive 3 TB disk.

      • I think #1 is the key.
        Rather than try to squeeze more data on each disk, manufacturers are now focusing on keeping the same size (1/2 to 1 terabyte) but shrinking the size of the drive to fit inside phones and iPads and laptops.

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          #1 does not account for servers and datacenters.

          That particular space is always hungry for more storage capacity. The difference between populating a 16 bay storage array with 3TB drives vs. 1TB drives is substantial. However, as many people have stated those 3TB drives have not been that reliable.

          We've been sitting on 1TB-2TB drives being the largest and most economical drive for quite some time now.

          • by nabsltd (1313397)

            #1 does not account for servers and datacenters.

            That particular space is always hungry for more storage capacity. The difference between populating a 16 bay storage array with 3TB drives vs. 1TB drives is substantial.

            That's why smaller is just as important for datacenters.

            You can fit two to four 2.5" drives in the same volume occupied by a single 3.5" drive. More drives mean more spindles, which generally means faster speeds. Smaller drives also mean shorter physical seeks, which sometimes means faster seeks. And, the two to four smaller drives generally use less power and run cooler than the single larger drive.

            So, as the smaller drives start to hold more data, datacenters win in every way: higher storage density, f

            • by EdIII (1114411)

              I get your point about how the technology pushing us smaller in the datacenter has been getting better. I guess I am looking at from the perspective of what I can buy today vs. a few years ago. Looking at it that way, I do think that my options have not greatly improved (stalled).

              Let's compare a 16x3.5 storage array and a 24x2.5 storage array and say they are both about $5,000 without drives.

              16 2TB drives cost around 4-5c/gig for consumer and 10-11c/gig for enterprise. That would get you 32 TB (loss depen

      • by AndGodSed (968378)

        You can also get PCI cards that have 4 to 8 SATA ports on them. You just need to be sure that your PSU can handle them/has SATA power ports for them.

        Easy to build a monster storage unit - the problems begin when you want redundancy to protect against per drive disk failure. In the end you would optimally want at least two gigs redundant storage per gig of storage.

        Which means for every 1TB drive you will look at at least one extra 1TB drive that is in a raid1 array to protect against data loss in a drive. Th

        • You can also get PCI cards that have 4 to 8 SATA ports on them. You just need to be sure that your PSU can handle them/has SATA power ports for them.

          A better choice now would be PCIe (generally PCIe 4x) SAS SCSI cards, easily available in 8-port designs for under $300, then use Linux Software RAID.

          RAID-10 with a hot-spare works extremely well.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      as of recently. Bought a RAID setup with 1.5 TB drives about 1.5 years ago. The same drives are selling at the same retail for the same price last week. I think this part of our history in drives will be recognized as a major stall in product development, innovation and consumer needs.

      It might just be because the dollar, euro, pound etc have tanked, making the drives appear to be the same price to you.

      • by AndGodSed (968378)

        I live in South Africa, and we paid about R1000 for a 1TB Seagate in January 2010, in November 2010 we bought them for R450 each.

        That is less than half in 11 months and still coming down.

    • by makomk (752139) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @09:26AM (#34729634) Journal

      3TB drives exist, but unfortunately there's not a huge market for them. Hardly any computers out there are actually capable of booting from them, and many can't even access them at all due to driver issues.

      • Hardly any computers out there are actually capable of booting from them, and many can't even access them at all due to driver issues.

        Hard drive manufacturers have always faced that issue. Why do you think we have partitions on hard drives? The file systems of the day could not handle hard drives of that size, so they were logically split into multiple virtual disk drives.

        • by Barny (103770)

          Yes, but the problem this time isn't with the file system, its with the partitioning system.

    • Bought a RAID setup with 1.5 TB drives about 1.5 years ago. The same drives are selling at the same retail for the same price last week.

      You're getting some fuzz in your pricing because of the packaged-solution nature of what you're looking at. Bare 1.5TB drives have gone from about $129 a year ago to about $89 today. That's right on schedule, give or take inflation and exchange rates. The 2TB drives have replaced the 1.5's at about the same level.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Fry's didn't have 1 TB drives for $59 1.5 years ago.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      as of recently. Bought a RAID setup with 1.5 TB drives about 1.5 years ago. The same drives are selling at the same retail for the same price last week. I think this part of our history in drives will be recognized as a major stall in product development, innovation and consumer needs.

      I'd say the store you bought them from was overcharging.

      I bought a 2TB (single-disk) USB drive last year for over $200 (on sale). This year, they were available for $100 also on sale. 3 years ago I bought a dual-drive 1TB (2x5

    • Back in my day, we had 5MB (you read right 5 MEGAbyte,) hard drives ... and we were HAPPY. Back in them days we were glad for the price of a cup of tea; a cup of cold tea; without milk; or sugar ... or tea.

      Okay some people has 5MB removable platters (remember Digital Computer Corporation [DEC] and Wang MINI computers?) and my old man's shop had some IBM 3330 Winchester removable hard drives (capable of storing 50 megabytes,) but he worked for corporate big-wigs who were running billion dollar corporations.

      I

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Find a new retailer? Last year 1.5TB drives were selling for $169, this year they're selling for $89-99, and 1TB drives are selling for $49-79. 2TB drives are in the $99-135 range, and 3TB(with a SATA controller card) are going for around $200.

      If you're canadian and paying more then that, you have no excuse for being took(see canadacomputers, newegg, or tigerdirect). If you're american, you're just dense and have far more choices than most. If you live anywhere else(except japan and s.korea), yeah I kno

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @06:36AM (#34729072) Homepage Journal

    I know you have a quota, Timothy, but if it's obviously just an advertising focused slideshow, be the bigger man here, and don't buy in to it, and [i]just don't post that shit[/i]. I know your job is to drive more traffic to Slashdot, but don't take the shortcut of posting slideshows (Even if you acknowledge them in the post) - you're only killing slashdot's long term credibility by doing this. You've never been a good "editor" (ok, maybe on occasion you use spell check) but don't become the John Katz of bad news aggregator habits (i.e. linking to slideshows).
     
      Just don't do it, Timothy. Please.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      slashdot's long term credibility

      It's the 1st of January, not April.

    • obviously just an advertising focused slideshow

      I know it isn't fashionable around here, but did you even see the effing slideshow? It was mostly about old IBM tech from the 1950's. So unless the advertising was for RAMAC's, which you can't just buy anymore, I'm not seeing it.

    • OTOH that article has plenty potential, but Macworld editors seem to think that slide show presentations make it easy. No they don't. I'm likely to not play the TFA's clickfest to the end.

  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @06:39AM (#34729086)

    when just a few megabytes was considered large.

    By the way, anyone care to make a guess how big my Windows partition is?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      when just a few megabytes was considered large.

      By the way, anyone care to make a guess how big my Windows partition is?

      Bigger than your penis?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Joke's on you; he stores his windows partition on LaserDisc. So that's about 12 inches!

        • My 20GB Windows partition is on an 80GB Western Digital drive, so it should be possible to somehow figure out the length it takes up. By length, I mean the longest straight line that can be placed against the physical area taken up on the platter(s).

          • by t14m4t (205907)

            By the way, anyone care to make a guess how big my Windows partition is?

            Bigger than your penis?

            My 20GB Windows partition is on an 80GB Western Digital drive, so it should be possible to somehow figure out the length it takes up. By length, I mean the longest straight line that can be placed against the physical area taken up on the platter(s).

            Assuming *at most* that the 20GB tracks are on the outside of the 3.5" drive, I would say that makes - 3.5"? I'm not certain you would necessarily want to advertise that....

            • Maybe it is a bit more complicated. After all, don't harddrive platters expand depending on temperature?

          • I would define length as distance around the hard-disk data track, it would likely be some impressively large number.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      what version?
      3.11 max of 2GB
      98 max of 20GB
      XP max of 2TB
      Vista/7 max of 64TB

    • when just a few megabytes was considered large.

      My first XT-clone had a 30MB RLL drive. My friends were impressed, as they had only 20MB MFM drives. The XT was replacing a PC-clone which had TWO 360kB floppy drives - the standard was to have only one. I recall being teased by colleagues some years later for buying a "mainframe" 486 with two 400MB drives (cheaper than getting one 600MB drive). Our home server now has 7TB of disk space...
      Damn, I'm not even on Geritol yet...

      • by kyrio (1091003)
        My personal computer has 6TB of disk space and it's 5 years old. HDD space isn't that special any longer.
        • by Hadlock (143607)

          No kidding; you can buy 3TB of space for what 100GB cost six years ago. Probably less if you factor in 1.5TB drives on sale.

      • by DJRumpy (1345787)

        I was just thinking about my old MFM drives as soon as I read the summary. I was given a box of motherboards (mostly 8086, 8088's and 286 boards), MFM drives, VGA cards, and 'memory' chips, which I spent a few years on playing with, building out, stripping down, and rebuilding. The MFM drives were usually 5 or 10 MB in size, and sounded like a canary if you're ear was up next to them. My first 3.5" drive was an ultra DMA 33. I want to think it was something like 250 MB, although my memory fails me on that o

        • by DJRumpy (1345787)

          Actually now that I think on it, those were CGA cards, not VGA...

        • by hb253 (764272)

          Our high school computer room had Apple II's (late 70's, early 80's). We were amazed when we got 140 K floppies. We were stunned when we got the first 5 MB "Winchester" drive.

          Those were the days...

      • My first XT-clone had a 30MB RLL drive

        Mine had a 40MB drive. It was an Amstrad PC1640-HD20, but the stock 20MB hard disk had been replaced with a 40MB one. It had 640KB of RAM, which DOS used quite nicely, but DOS 3.3 was still limited to FAT-12, meaning partitions could not be bigger than 32MB, so I had an 8MB C: for booting and a 32MB D: for everything else. It ran Windows 3.0 reasonably, although running more than one application at once generally popped up some kind of resource-exhausted dialog (memory, GDI handles, whatever).

        The fir

      • by Achra (846023)
        My introduction to computers was the Commodore 64 that I grew up with. The floppy-drive cost exactly as much as the computer itself did. My first PC was an IBM PC-XT, the 8088 replaced by the NEC V20, with a 20mb MFM harddrive, 640kb RAM and a Color Graphics Adapter. Dual half-height floppy drives as well! My dad brought home my first 1200 baud modem from a guy at work, a Hayes Smartmodem, and via this beauty met other like minded individuals. One of whom had an 80mb RLL drive and 8 MEGABYTES of ram 386DX.
      • by t14m4t (205907)

        I remember playing around with my dad's 10MB MFM on the Wang PC-clone (80386 at 20MHz and a Turbo button that would take it to 25MHz) that he borrowed from work in '85 when I was 7 (he worked at Wang as a computer imaging scientist and engineer). It was a half-height drive (which for those who don't know means it only took up a single 5" slot) and could store oh-so-much more than I could throw at it at the time.

        He also brought home an 85MB MFM full-height drive (two 5" bays) for me to play with to see if

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Quite true. I still have a couple of SCSI 9GB drives in a machine at work which is running at the moment.
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I just got finished installing a Quantum Fireball 18.2Gb yesterday. A frequent customer wanted to know if I had any older machines lying around because he needed a replacement for the PC he used to control his laser cutting table and I told him I had enough parts lying in the back to Frankenstein him something together. I slapped the Fireball into a 1.0GHz Celeron board I had left from a customer upgrade awhile back, along with 512Mb of PC100 and he is a happy little camper. Funny part is the XP Pro license

        • by toddestan (632714)

          I'd be a bit leery of a drive like that. I have a nice pile of ones similar to that, because I hate to throw out stuff that still works. My experience though is more often than not when I try to push one of those drives back into service it will appear to work fine for a few hours/days/weeks then crap out on me. For something that has to be around for a while, I would either get a cheap PCI SATA card and an inexpensive SATA drive, or seek out a new ATA100 drive, which are still available (though with a b

    • by Albert Sandberg (315235) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @07:30AM (#34729244) Homepage

      By the way, anyone care to make a guess how big my Windows partition is?

      If you're a true slashdotter, about 0 bytes.

      • Uh huh. Maybe if everybody wasn't posing as a Linux user just to sound cool.

      • Ah yes the classic No true slashdotter [wikipedia.org] fallacy.

      • by Cimexus (1355033)

        I'm pretty sure most true Slashdotters have multiple machines running a variety of systems. Personally I have:

        - Two linux boxes (one headless server, one desktop)
        - One Windows 7 box (gaming and multimedia)
        - One Windows XP laptop (employer standard issue, bogged down with eleventy billion anti virus and firewall apps that make it incredibly slow)

        - One MacOS laptop ...plus various other appliances (e.g. NAS, UPnP media players) that mostly run embedded *nixes of some description.

        Any Slashdotter that is even r

    • Circa 1972 DEC RK05 Disk Drive. 2.4Mb in a removable case.
      Contained the PDP-11 DOS V8 + Compilers + Source to apps.
      All loaded from Paper Tape.

      This was replaced by the RK06 (28Mb)
      Then we had the RL01/RL02 10Mb/20Mb Winchester Technology.

      The Good Old RP06's (CDC drives rebadged) of 256Mb. You could make them dance over the floor in Diagnostic Max Seek mode.

      Them were the days.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Mine is 8GB, just enough for a basic installation, for the rare case that I actually need to run some legacy stuff like a BIOS upgrade.

    • >>>when just a few megabytes was considered large

      Yep. My Commodore Amiga 2000HD and 500 have a tiny 20 megabyte hard drive. That was considered a huge step-up from booting the OS off a floppy. Of course it didn't take long to fill that space, so most of us still used floppies to store all our musics and vids and demos.

      • Floppies were those square things we shoved into computers, right? After that, came CDs. Then USB sticks. Correct?

        Let's see. Floppies were square, and squares have 4 corners.
        CDs are round, and thus could be considered to have 1 corner.
        USB sticks are straight, like a line, sort of, so, they have 2 corners? I see a pattern: Minus 3, and take the absolute value.

    • My first Unix server had two 660 MB drives in it (5.25 full height), seemed like an infinite number since my pc was just rocking a 40MB HD at the time.

      Seems funny now, but between the drives, RISC processor and 64 MB of ram, it was the shit in 1990

      • Given how impressive computers are today compared to those a decade or two ago...

        Can you imagine the good or harm that would be done if some time traveler from today were to bring a laptop to Bill Gates of the 1970s? (Maybe one installed with Vista.)

  • First one I ever saw was an 80MB drive which was attached to a network server and shared among ten Mac Pluses in an office. We thought that was a pretty hot system, 1986.
    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      I still have the 10MB 5.25" from my first XT compatible. Those old drives make nice bookends.

      • by toddestan (632714)

        I still have my 21MB Seagate ST225. Still works too. It's fun to fire it up every once and a while, as that drive has a very distinct sound to it.

  • Massive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @06:57AM (#34729142)

    it might be interesting to those young'uns who think that 10 Gigabytes is small.

    10 Gigabytes is small. Today. I have a 2TB drive that is massive enough for all of my current personal needs, but I remember a few years back when I bought a massive 200GB drive to supplement the 40GB internal I had in my laptop, and those were more than I needed at the time. Before that, I had a massive 8GB drive in the machine I used for everything. Before that, a massive 80MB one that handled everything I threw at it. Before that, I had a massive 40MB drive that exceeded my needs. That's as far back as I go, I'm afraid, but I would never say that any of the drives I had were small. In fact, if I had to choose a word, it's quite obviously "massive".

    • yup, i started out with a 40mb drive in a 386, back then i had no concept of disk space, and it never ran out ( i was like 8 or something), through the years drives got bigger and bigger, and now i have an 8 TB media server at home, which is halfway full. The only reason that it might take more then this year to fill it all the way up is because we just moved and got a slower net connection now.

      so yeah, for anything but a bare-bones OS install and some basic office suite software, 10 GB IS small

    • by Jim Hall (2985)

      Okay, I'll show my age here:

      Our first home/personal computer was a Franklin ACE/1000 (clone of Apple II.) So the storage was 360k floppies. This was early '80s.

      Later (~1985?) we bought one of the many IBM-PC clones. Still had those 360k floppies, but also a 10MB "hard card". That was huge for the era. No more keeping a separate stack of floppies for games, another stack for my documents, another for my brother, mom, dad. Everyone just got their own area to store stuff in, on the "hard card".

      I think our next

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Yeah same here - in fact I've never even used >50% of any hard drive I've ever owned come to think of it. I've always had way more space than I need.

      I quite clearly remember only ever using 11 or 12 MB on my IBM AT which had a 30 MB HDD.

      Never went past 400 MB on my 486DX4/100 (with 850 MB Maxtor HDD)

      Never went past around 1.4 GB on my Pentium 2 (which had a 3.2 GB Quantum Fireball).

      Next machine I had was a Dell laptop (while living in college for a few years). It had 80 GB but I never used more than arou

  • The magnetic disk invented by IBM in the early 1950s contained 100 concentric tracks on each side. Each track stored 500 alphanumeric characters, yielding a total storage capacity of 5 million characters

    100x500=5 million?

  • Memories of my A600 with its 20MB internal drive. Stopped me having to load Monkey Island II off 12 (?) disks. Neat, but probably not worth the money it cost at the time.
    • "The developers of Monkey Island 2 made using the Amiga version's 11 floppy disks relatively smooth,[9] but also noted that installing the game on a hard drive is recommended." -wikipedia. And I thought Dragon's Lair on 6 disks was a lot! DL had full-motion video..... why did Monkey Island need so much disc space?

  • I think the mafiaa will succeed at limiting disk space before technical limits are reached. The often misquoted "64k is enough...." will soon be "1TB is enough..." well, unless you're storing the latest hollywood blockbusters in their full HD glory
  • required both an "interface board" (SCSI on one end, ST-412 on the other) and a "host adapter" board (SCSI on one end to connect to the interface board, and the system bus on the other to connect to the SSB mini on the other end). Thing sucked power, made enough heat to cook eggs, and the whole setup cost nearly $2,000 in 1985.

    Later, in 1988, was shocked and awed to pick up a used 10MB ST-506 hard drive for $300 locally from a business going out of business.

    In about 1994, I remember once again being shocked

  • In 1975, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln computer science department got a 16-bit minicomputer. The hard disk drive took up the bottom couple of feet of a rack. The thing I remember about it was not the storage capacity, but the time it took to spin up. In order to help maintain a constant speed, the unit had a 30-40 pound steel disk mounted on the shaft below the disk platters to provide rotational inertia. Took somewhere between two and three minutes to bring that sucker up to speed.
    • by wbean (222522)

      Thank you, thank you. I have spent many hours in two minute increments waiting for those drives to spin up and I never knew why it took so long :)

  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @12:17PM (#34730394)

    Punched cards don't belong in the "the evolution of the hard drive"... they weren't used for online storage but rather for a combination of data entry and for data transportation (in which, latter, role they might be considered a precursor to floppys and nowadays USB drives which fill that role).

    Punched cards belong to the era of batch computing (submit job, come back later and collect results), before being "online" (initially on a mainframe/minicomputer terminal) became common/possible. Rather than sitting at a computer terminal typing your program in an editor, you'd instead sit at a card punch machine typing your program onto punched cards (one line per card); each keystroke caused that character pattern to be punched onto the card, and, since you can't "unpunch" a card, there was no backspace key - if you made a mistake youd have to feed in a new blank card and could hold down the "copy" key to copy the old card up to the point of your mistake (this rapid copying/punching made a very loud noise like a machine gun).

    Once you'd punched your cards you'd put a rubber band around them to keep them in order (if you dropped them, there were sorting machines that could resort them based on numbers punched into the cards), then submit them to the computer operator who, when your time came (no multitasking), would put the cards into a card reader where they'd be read into computer memory for execution. Your printed output (maybe a syntax error, or core dump, or your results if you're program was working), together with your card deck, would be returned to you later when it was available. If you wanted to change your program you could now insert/remove punched cards from your deck, and resubmit the job. Core dumps (printed on fanfold paper, which you'd stretch out across the floor) originated from this batch era, since without the ability to debug your program online (as it runs), this was one way (other than print statements) you could debug them between batch runs.

    ***

    Other than removing puched cards from this "evolution", they should really have stared it with reel-reel mag tape which was the original online storage media, and should really have put removable disk packs in there someplace (disk packs were common with PDP 11/23, etc minicomputers in the early Unix days, and consisted on your disk platters on a spindle in hard plastic housing with a handle on it - the platters were seperate from the drive itself into which you inserted the disk pack. Since disk packs had to have an opening for the disk heads, you were able to smell head crashes where the disk head had crashed (due to a dust particle or whatever) into the surface of your platter and ground it up :-(

    ***

    I was waxing nostalgic over computer storage myselkf the other day. My first home computer c.1978 used a 300 baud (10 bits/char => 30 char/sec) audio cassette for storage, and I well remember the first 5MB personal hard disks (an external unit about the size of a shoe-box) that appeared in the early 80's. It makes me appreciate the 8GB of RAM ($100) I just popped into my latest PC, not to mention the 1TB hard drive.

    • Punched cards belong to the era of batch computing (submit job, come back later and collect results), before being "online" (initially on a mainframe/minicomputer terminal) became common/possible. Rather than sitting at a computer terminal typing your program in an editor....
      ** rest snipped ***

      What's sad to me is that you had to explain this. It wasn't all that long ago that we still used cards - we still had the capability to run card decks into the late 90's. And get o

    • I was waxing nostalgic over computer storage myselkf the other day. My first home computer c.1978 used a 300 baud (10 bits/char => 30 char/sec) audio cassette for storage...

      250bps for Level I BASIC, 500bps for Level II.

      Man, that upgrade to a 100kbps floppy was like a dream come true...

  • I hate slide shows (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hittman (81760) on Saturday January 01, 2011 @12:53PM (#34730580) Homepage
    Want to make me leave your page in an instant? Promise something tantalizing, then present me with a slide show I've got to click through.

    See ya!

  • Despite being a fortune level company, there's a lot of scourging for hardware. I happen to have a pile of hard drives I offer to people who come looking, and start out with "I have a 120 you can have."

    They then reply "120 G? Great!"

    At which time I'm forced to admit it's M.

  • Lame article... which is really just a reprint of photos from IBM Storage Archives [ibm.com] site.

    I bet the author's email to IBM asking permission to use the photos went something like this:

    Dear IBM Archives Group:

    I am an author at MacWorld and I have no more ideas for what to write about since bloggers have better sources on the iPhone/iPad/iPod/iOS than I. I'm in desperate need of source material and I came across your archives website. Since most of my readers thought storage was build by Apple, I'd like to sho

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Saturday January 01, 2011 @01:33PM (#34730880)

    Funny. My first _three_ computers didn't even HAVE hard drives. Crap I'm old.

    • by Relayman (1068986)
      You're not that old. My first "computer" was an IBM 402 accounting machine that weighed around 4,000 lb. It ran with a 1/2 hp motor but you could hand crank it through its cycle. I had to actually fix an adder on that machine. I was 15 when this happened.
  • I have over 50 VMs - every major version of RH, Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, DOS (not so much anymore), Windows (back to Win 95, but mostly Win98 and newer). I use these for testing installation of various packages that I build/release for industry. That, plus multimedia will guarantee many more TB's of disk storage for me. I have found the reliability to be a factor in any drive > 1TB from any manufacturer. They all suck. I have had drives from WD, Seagarbage, DeathStars all fail if > 1TB. I am just put
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Like many MacWorld articles, there's a story to go with the slideshow ...

    http://www.macworld.com/article/156757/2010/12/computerhistorymuseum.html

  • Using current technology I wonder how much storage a 24 inch platter would have.
  • by CptNerd (455084) <adiseker@lexonia.net> on Saturday January 01, 2011 @10:23PM (#34734494) Homepage
    I remember the old Winchester drives, that got 40 MEGAbytes of storage by using two 20 Megabyte platters...
  • ...about microdrives.

    16GB Hitachi Microdrive Microdrives spurred greater innovation in handheld devices, such as Apple's iPod. When the iPod was first released in 2001, it had a 1.8-inch hard drive with 5GB of capacity. By 2006, the iPod was equipped with a microdrive that held 160GB.

    First up, I'm not sure there ever was such a thing as a 16-gig microdrive. I think they topped out at 12 gigs or so (at least one product, the Trekstor Vibez, has a 12GB microdrive in it), after which flash memory ate up the market and it became counterproductive to invest in miniaturized mechanical storage.
    I might be wrong here, but then every google hit I can get for "16gb microdrive" returns people asking how to replace the drives with 16GB compactflash cards, USB thumbdrives named

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