Five megs, no waiting

Way back in September 1956, IBM built a hard drive.

The IBM 350 Model 1 was huge: 68 inches tall, 60 inches wide, 29 inches front-to-back. The drive contained fifty metal platters, two feet across, each of which was subdivided into a thousand sectors storing 100 characters — bytes, more or less — each, for a total of 5 MB. The disks spun at 1200 rpm. By 1958, they’d built a 10-MB version in the same space.

Nowadays, of course, you’d wonder about a box the size of a Sub-Zero fridge that had the same capacity as a handful of floppies. But for the 1950s, this was space-age stuff, and a good thing too, since the actual space age was starting up right about then.

The 350 was produced through 1961; it was superseded by the 1301, which could store an astounding 25 MB.

Big Blue probably never imagined in those days that in a mere fifty years, it would be possible to store 250,000 MB — the size of the drive on my current primary PC — in a space smaller than an issue of TV Guide, and I mean the old TV Guide, and not the Fall Preview Issue either.


  1. Winston »

    10 September 2006 · 7:05 am

    Saw an ad a couple of days ago for a little portable desktop NAS drive with 1 TB of storage. Can you imagine? 1000 GB… That’s a lot of mp3s! And it was only a few hundred $.

  2. Diane »

    10 September 2006 · 7:39 am

    LOL @ and not the Fall Preview Issue either.

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