Monday, July 31, 2006

The Hard Disk That Changed the World

What's a RAMAC you ask? A new Apple variant? No it was IBM's first hard disk.

I didn't see my first hard disk until 1971 in my computer lab in high school. I have no idea how much it stored, but if I remember it was about 12 inches across and about 18 inches tall. Down quite a bit in 15 years from the double refrigerator size RAMAC in 1956.

Read the article and then take a look at that hard disk drive in your desktop or laptop computer. You can really appreciate how far we have come since the first, revolutionary, tube-powered, 10 MB on two disk behemoth.

By the way, the actual 50th anniversary of the hard disk is September 13. How are you going to celebrate? ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Bill_B3:50 AM

    Gail,

    It is a shame the article didn't show a picture of that first disk drive. You have to actually see it to really appreciate how far we've come.

    I do not know if the display is still there, but at the Cottle Road plant in south San Jose, in the lobby of Building #12, IBM had on display one of these units. I saw it quite regularly when I did some contracting work there in early 1996. One thing they did to show the "then and now" was to attach a 2.5" laptop HDD to the inside of the glass of the electronics cabinet of the old unit, with a card beside the 2.5" drive comparing some of the specs of the 2 drives (size, weight, storage capacity, etc.)

    IBM also had at that time a number of displays of various disk products they have produced over the years.

    If you are ever in the San Jose area it is worth the side trip to see this display (though you might want to check and see if it is still there - as I said, the last time I saw it was 10 years ago).

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