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1 min read 2 comments

[Picture] In 1955, a 5MB Hard Drive Weighed a Ton and Cost $35,000

These days, 5MB is a very conservative amount of storage. Most new smartphones contain anywhere from 16 to 32 Gigabytes of storage, around 3,000 times the storage capacity of 5MB. But there was a time when 5MB took up a lot of real estate and cost a whole heck of a lot more to utilize...

 In 1956, IBM’s RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) hard disk was able to hold 5MB, but it was around 16 square feet and weighed just shy of a ton. But that’s not the only shocker: the once cutting-edge behemoth cost an annual(!) fee of $35,000 and had to be transported using a forklift.

A whole warehouse of these hard disks would be needed for the memory now contained in your smartphone, and would have set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And to think that these days we complain about not having 32GB of memory on the Galaxy Nexus...


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  • Sorin Dec 28, 2017 Link to comment

    In 1956, the RAMAC hard drive from IBM had a capacity of 5 MB, occupying an area of about 175 sq ft (~ 16 sqm), with a weight of approx. 2 million pounds (~ 1 ton), the price being $ 35,000.
    In 2017 we have the WD121KRYZ hard drive from Western Digital with a capacity of 12 TB, weight approx. 1.45 pound (~ 660 grams) at a price of approx. $ 520 and can be held in the palm!
    Storage capacity increased 2.5 million times (!), and the price dropped 65 times. The jump is absolutely huge.

  • Hmmm, probably not quite yet walking drives but drop one of those, and you'd be looking for a new job. I wonder what I/O speed they had.