5MB Hard Drive

This is apparently a 5MB hard drive for a IBM 305 RAMAC produced in 1956:

5MB Hard Drive
image © popular-pictures.com

We have came a long way since then. Compare this to the 5.25″ 1TB LaCie Big Disk™:

LaCie Big Disk
image © lacie.com

This little external drive that can probably fit in a larger pocket holds over 200,000 times more memory than the RAMAC disk. And this is not even the top of the line hardware – it’s just the high end of the affordable range.

I wonder if in 50 years we will be laughing our asses off at these puny Terabyte drives, seeing how we will likely be measuring our memory needs in Peta or Exabytes by then. That is of course if the Moore’s Law holds, and CPU speeds and memory specs keep doubling every 18 months.

[tags]hard drive, ramac, ibm ramac, 5mb, 1tb, terabyte, pentabyte, exabyte, disks, memory[/tags]

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14 Responses to 5MB Hard Drive

  1. Wikke BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I thought Moore’s law came to an end within the next few years, and that it changed to the number of cores per chip :-).

    I once saw a movie on the internet about that 5Mb in action. Very sweet, all those mechanics and relays.

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  2. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Well, every year they say that Moore’s law will end within the next 5-10 years but that never happens. It will end eventually, but it is really hard to predict the advances in computing that lie 10 years in the future.

    Yes, technically, we are getting closer and closer to the physical limit of what can be done. But then again, someone may discover new materials, manufacturing techniques or some other new revolutionary thing tomorrow that will extend Moore’s law some more.

    Maybe I’m to optimistic, but I think that Moore’s law will not stop working as soon as everyone expects.

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  3. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I just got a 250 Gig LaCie External Harddrive last week for the boyfriend.

    I don’t think anyone can ever that the physical limit of what can be done is near, because we have yet to evolve into magical wizards and fairies. Yes, you heard it first, I am counting on the future of humankind to be full of pixie dust, flying carpets, and computer memory that stores itself into tiny crevices of the 7th dimension.

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  4. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Well, people are working on quantum computing – which is pretty darn close to magic if you ask me. There was article on Slashdot a while ago about a quantum machine which could theoretically produce a result to a fairly complex algorithm without actually running it, because quantum entanglement or something like that.

    We are still many years away from any sort of practical implementations of course. But if this technology pans out, then the only physical limit we are facing is atomic size of the particles used to form qubits.

    As for magic, there is Clarke’s third law. Pixie dust, is of course the all present utility nano-dust, programmed for fixin our gear, and healin our bodies at the molecular level.

    Flying carpets are of course the coveted anti-grav technology that science fiction was promising us for years now, but we can’t seem to figure out lately.

    7th dimension might be opened up by experimenting with quantum wormholes (which can also be used for the FTL travel that we have been promised).

    Of course by that time, we will likely be ruled over by a beneficent post-singularity AI god, who will operate our nano, and do all the understanding of the mysteries of the universe for us.

    One thing that terrifies me about the future though is the unavoidable emergence of trans genetically modified furries. Ugh…

    But yeah, future will probably be fun and very magical. :)

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  5. Wikke BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I just got a 250 Gig LaCie External Harddrive last week for the boyfriend.

    He will never be able to fill it! ;-)

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  6. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I could easily fill it in a few months. Three words: backups, torrents and pr0n. That stuff eats space like crazy. ;)

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  7. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    My boyfriend uses Garageband (a multi-track studio on the Mac) to record his music. The files usually run up to gig each, depending on how many tracks are on the song. His iBook only has 40 gigs on it, so it filled up immediately. Oh, yeah, and the pr0n.

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  8. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Absolutely – any kind of video or sound editing eats enormous amounts of space.

    My laptop only has a 20G drive, but I’m nowhere even close to filling it up. I use that machine mostly for work, so there are no movies, music or pr0n on it. And since it is a fairly old machine running Ubuntu I do not have any high-end games on it either.

    My home WinXP machine has 2x 160G (two independent drives though, not RAID) and I have roughly 1G, 2G, 8G and 25G free space on each of the different partitions. Sigh…

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  9. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Well, then, someone’s gonna have to delete some pr0n…

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  10. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Well, pr0n is the first thing to go when I need space. But there is some other stuff like games, movies, book scans and pictures that I don’t want to loose.

    Oh, and I have bunch of virtual machine images for VMWare that I don’t use and should probably delete. Each of these things is several gigs at least…

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  11. Bob UKRAINE Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Hi. I have two 40GB Maxtor 34098H4 hard drives, one of which died completely three months ago. The BIOs will not recognize it and it will not spin when my computer is powered up. The dead drive does not make any noise. After doing some research, I found two seemingly possible methods of getting a dead drive to spin which each have supporters and detractors. The two methods are possible alternatives (To those who cannot afford it) to paying thousands of dollars to a professional firm with a sealed clean room to recover data. The first method involves finding the same model hard drive as the dead one with the exact PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and then swapping the PCB from the good drive into the dead one to make it spin. The second method involves putting the dead drive into a Ziplock storage bag and putting it into the freezer overnight and then taking the drive out and pray that the hard drive will spin. I wanted to try the first method but after examining my good hard drive, which is of the same size and model as the dead one, I found that the PCBs are slightly different. So, the first method will not work for me (I don’t have the time and resources to try to find an exact PCB for the dead drive). I was wondering, would the second method work? Many people have claimed that the second method works and others have claimed that it would end up damaging the drive heads or platters even further. In your experience, have you tried the second method and what is the success rate for making the hard drive spin again so that data can be recovered? I just want to recover some old pictures and music from my dead drive. Any assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  12. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Well, it all depends on what happened to the drive. Both methods have their merits, but they may or may not work depending on circumstances.

    If the circuit board is fried then the fridge is definitely not going to help it (unless the low temperature somehow magically restores the burnt circuitry).

    On the other board, changing the controller board may not do anything if your drive died because one of the head was damaged or locked up. If you expose the drive to a low temperature, the hope is that the metal particles will compress and the locked head may dislodge itself from whatever was obstructing it…

    The problem is, in most cases you can’t really know for sure what happened to the drive, unless you actually see a smoldering circuit board. :P

    So in either case the probability of restoring the drive to a working order is low and the possibility of damaging the drive even more is high. Both methods are kind of “oh what the hell, the drive is dead anyway so I’ve got nothing to loose” kind of things. If you really care about restoring your data the only reliable method is to send it to a data recovery specialist with a clean-room assembly lab where they can take it apart and see what is going on inside.

    And btw, cleanroom recovery is not always as exuberantly expensive as people think. For example, these guys will recover a windows drive for $379.

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  13. Pingback: ColetasSoft » El disco duro de 5MB UNITED STATES WordPress

  14. JuEeHa FINLAND Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    I have actually seen one in person. It was last summer at a Computer Museum. It is actually pretty small compared to tape drives for the same computer.

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