IBM’s Development of the Disk Drive

I came across the video above today. It is a IBM documentary film about the development of the disk drive. This effort began in 1952 in San Jose, CA. The original film strip was made in the mid 1950s. The story tells how the IBM RAMAC that was introduced in 1956 was developed.

RAMAC stood for “Random Access Method of Accounting and Control”. The RAMAC 350 stored a ‘massive’ 5 million characters across the internal fifty 24″ disks. The entire unit weighed in at about 1 ton.

So in about 60 years the technology has

  • increased in capacity from 5MB to 8TB (grown by 160000000%)
  • shrunk in volume from 118320 cubic inches to less than 24 cubic inches (shrunk to 0.02% of original volume)
  • reduced in weight from 2000 to 1.4 pounds (0.07% of original weight)
  • been discounted from a $27,007 (in 2015 equivalent dollars) per month lease to a $319.97 purchase from amazon (purchase is now 1.19% of the month lease)
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