Hard Drivin' Guy
by Gary Woods
Recently the hard drive celebrated a birthday. It became 50 years old. The first hard disk was IBM's RAMAC 305 which was a 5 megabyte drive that required 50, 24 inch platters spinning at 1,200 rpm. This device was about the size of a walk-in freezer and weighed 2,150 pounds. I still remember my first hard drive. I bought it in 1989 and it was a 60 megabyte Seagate which I purchased for about $1,000. It lasted a few years then gave up the ghost.
At the height of production there were about 200 companies that made hard drives but now there are only about a dozen or so. Two of the names from the beginning of hard drive history, IBM and Steve Shugart, the man credited with inventing the floppy disk are still around but have morphed into Hitachi in the case of IBM and Seagate in the case of Shugart.
The biggest news in hard drive technology is perpendicular storage. This idea has been around since about 1980 but is finally coming to fruition with all the main drive makers switching to this way of storing data. The magnetic information is stored upright on the platter, meaning more data can be crammed into a smaller space.
The bottom line is this technique will allow about double the amount of information to be stored on the same size platter. Hitachi says that all new drives will employ this methodology within the next year or so.
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Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. You can hear Gary on the Radio at 1290 AM Monday 9-10 AM and he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc