Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hard Drive



Today's picture is from 1956, and shows an IBM hard drive. This unit would be used to store information, not unlike your memory stick, thumb drive, or camera memory card. The hard drive pictured weighed over 1 ton, and was capable of storing 5 Mb or data. For comparison, it would take over 1,000 of these units to store the information held in a modern thumb drive.

24 comments:

  1. Bulky, expensive, limited capacity and no doubt slow. No wonder they were still teaching us to use slide rules in the 70's.

    John

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  2. It really boggles the mind to compare that with a thumb drive.
    Does anyone else miss Roger's (aka RTD)daily comments? He must be traveling & we all know how he hates the laptop.

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  3. I saw one of these in an IBM defense contracting office in Manassas, Virginia just outside Washington, DC in early 1960.It was impressive and imposing, but as a 17 year old teen I couldn't act as though I felt it was very important. It seemed to have some degree of hand wiring.
    I got to see it because my slightly older best friend had just started work with IBM. He retired 32 years later a comfortable man. From his vantage point he saw a hugh leap of the technologies that brought us the electronic too we all use today.

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  4. How far things have developed in such a short time !

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  5. Looks the the front and side pannel are missing on the cabinet, unless that's the way they were built to disapate heat.

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  6. Haha, I'm gonna print this and post it on the notice board at work (I work in an IT department).

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  7. Breathtaking how fast technology is moving forward!

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  8. Is the amazing improvement in computer memory over 55 years as impressive as going from Kitty Hawk to Tranquility base in 66 years? Both are stupendous, but the later seems 'sexier' to me.

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  9. Is that a hard drive in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

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  10. I saw a later model in 1965 that could sore 10MB. The front panel was actually a glass window, it's not really missing in the photo.

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  11. If government and education got as better, faster and cheaper as computers, cameras and phones have, we would live in utopia!

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  12. I worked on an IBM 360 at Standard Oil in the mid-1960s. Our project was moving the company from manual billing to computerized billing. I well remember the room where the 360 was kept. There were glass sliding doors to avoid any chance of doors slamming. And the room was temperature-controlled. In those days, punch cards and stacks of green-and-white-striped paper ruled the day. We have indeed come a long way!

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  13. This is the old "IBM RAMAC" Random Access Machine Accounting. I was an IBM DP sales rep in those days. It had 3 read/write arms, a typewriter like keyboard and a 407 printer for output. Later, I created the keyprocessing systems which did away with IBM cards, keypunches and verifiers. The old joke was that my tombstone should have a corner cut.

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  14. Many years ago I had the opportunity to tour an air defense sector operations center. The building was a conrete cube perhaps over 100 feet on a side. There was one truck access ramp and loading dock with blast doors and, I recall, two personnel doors on opposite sides, otherwise just flat blast-resistant reinforced concrete.

    In the center of the cube was a small auditorium with banked seats on one side and a huge screen on the other side. Most of the rest of the building was devoted to multiple stories containing rows and rows of racks of electronic components, consisting, visibly, of vacuum tubes and smaller components. The guide said that they replaced vacuum tubes and smaller components at the rate of two and one-half bushel basketsful each day.

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  15. I don't think anyone even makes a thumb drive with less storage capacity than the hard drive in my first PC.

    For that matter, the electronics in that thumb drive might even outperform my first PC. God knows my phone does.

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  16. http://www.techrivet.com/2007/10/02/19811GBIBMHardDriveVs1gbSmartCardCirca2007.aspx

    Here is another comparison.

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  17. Looks like it's being offloaded from an old PanAm plane...another extinct dinosaur...

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  18. In 1973 the TAOC air defense/air control system (built in 1965) that I worked on had a drum memory that could hold about .5 meg of data. The entire system was ten 40' huts and associated radars.

    A PDP-11/70 in the next building had a memory card that required three men to remove from the machine and carry to the shop for repair.

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  19. Technology is wonderful. I remember in the 70's spending $40k for a new drive (with removable disks, of course) that doubled our storage capacity from 40mb to 80mb. It was smaller than this one. But still the size of a washing machine.

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  20. If government and education got as better, faster and cheaper as computers, cameras and phones have, we would live in utopia!

    Just imagine the converse: if computer development was like government or education..

    BWAHAHAHAHHA!!

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  21. Just to clarify... was that 5 Mb or 5 MB?

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  22. I'm glad to see my first employer (except the USN) in the photo. That PanAm freighter is probably a DC-6, I'm thinking, not a B707. That valuable cargo was going overseas because PanAm had no domestic routes in the USA then!

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  23. PDP11/70 memory cards were around 18 inches long and 10 inches tall. Not heavy at all.

    Now the CPU rack cabinet they were installed into was hefty and was certainly not a one-man lift. Man how I hated those ribbon cables routed across the top, having to disconnect all of them to get to the one card I wanted to swap out.

    At one point I had an extender cabinet with, I think 64K bytes of additional memory, in yet another huge rack mount cabinet. As I recall that cost us close to $10,000.

    Whenever the field service guy came around, I had to open everything up and disconnect the 3rd party memory expansion ribbon cables before he'd agree to service us.

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  24. They really knew how to code back then so they didn't need GBs of storage! Today's coders would require a city of these things.. SO much bloatware out there these days.. :)

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