A Brief History of the Hard Disk Drive
The hard disk drive has short and fascinating history. In 24 years it evolved from a monstrosity with fifty two-foot diameter disksholding five MBytes (5,000,000 bytes) of data to today's drives measuring 3 /12 inches wide and an inch high (and smaller) holding 400 GBytes (400,000,000,000 bytes/characters). Here, then, is theshort history of this marvelous device.
Before the disk drive there were drums... In 1950 Engineering Research Associates of Minneapolis built the first commercial magnetic drum storage unit for theU.S. Navy, the ERA 110. It could store one million bits of data and retrieve a word in 5 thousandths of a second.
In 1956 IBM invented the first computer disk storage system, the 305 RAMAC (RandomAccess Method of Accounting and Control). This system could store five MBytes. It had fifty, 24-inch diameter disks!
By 1961 IBM had invented the first disk drive with air bearing heads and in 1963they introduced the removable disk pack drive.
In 1970 the eight inch floppy disk drive was introduced by IBM. My first floppy drives were made by Shugart who was one of the "dirty dozen" who left IBMto start their own companies. In 1981 two Shugart 8 inch floppy drives with enclosure and power supply cost me about $350.00. They were for my second computer. My first computer had no drives atall.
In 1973 IBM shipped the model 3340 Winchester sealed hard disk drive, the predecessor of all current hard disk drives. The 3340 had two spindles each with a capacity of 30 MBytes, and the term"30/30 Winchester" was thus coined.
Seagate ST4053 40 MByte
5 1/4 inch, full-height "clunker"
with ST506 interface and voice coil
circa 1987. My cost was $435.00. |
In 1980, SeagateTechnology introduced the first hard disk drive for microcomputers, the ST506. It was a full height (twice as high as most current 5 1/4" drives) 5 1/4" drive, with a stepper motor, and held 5 Mbytes. My...