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The Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

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The Hard Disk Drive

     The Hard Disk Drive or HDD has come a long way in regards to their capacities (well over 100,000 times more storage capacity than observed in this image), and the performance is better than ever! It is simple enough to walk into your local computer store or even a major retailer and pick up a one terabyte hard drive (1 TB) and pay less than $100 USD for it. Hard drives hold everything on your machine, from the operating system itself to the very documents, images, music, and videos that you are used to using almost every day.

     A look back into history tells us that commercial use of the hard disk drive began in 1956 with the IBM Model 350 as a component of the IBM 305 RAMAC computer. The HDD IBM Model 350 stored 5 million 6-bit characters, that is just over 3.5 MB. To put that into perspective, the average MP3 file is about 3.5 MB or greater depending on the length and quality of the file. It is very likely that the remote control you use to change the channel has more storage capacity than this early hard disk drive.

     Time have most certainly changed, we are now used to capacities in the hundreds of gigabytes and even several terabytes, these capacities have become the “norm” and would not accept anything less. With the high demand for performance and speed, hard disk drives needed to evolve to meet that demand. They have evolved so much that the day of technology is moving moved toward solid state drives (SSD) or the mechanical hard disk drive. The question today is, “…should I get an SSD or HDD?” The advantages of a solid state hard drive are measurable and consistent but come at a greater cost for the hardware. Personally, I use a solid state drive for my operating systems and a hard disk drive for cold storage or archiving purposes.

     It has been 60 years since the first hard disk drive was put into commercial use and you would not be able to recognize virtually in any way. They have advanced at such a rate they are very different than what they use to be. Imagine what storage devices will look like in another 60 years…what capacity will be considered normal? Some of us may never see that day and for those of us that do may never fully appreciate the technology we have today.

     As we advance, so does everything else around us.

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