Nearly sixty years of hard drives…

Hard drives have evolved immeasurably since IBM introduced the first RAMAC 305 in 1956. Nowadays hard drives can be found in everything from MP3 players and memory keys to desktops and laptops. Imagine a hard drive with fifty 24-inch platters which can only store a few megabytes of information. As you can see hard drives have come a long way.

1956 – IBM discloses the first hard drive, the RAMAC 305 system, holding 5Mb of data at a cost of £6625 a megabyte. Two refrigerators keep the hard drive cool and fifty platters store the information.

1961 – Read and write heads that hover on a film of air as the drive spins are introduced by IBM.

1963 – The first ‘removable’ hard drives appear which have six 14-inch platters and store 2.6Mb of data.

1970 – The General Digital Corporation, renamed Western Digital in 1971 is incorporated in California.

1973 – Hard drives start resembling the modern drive with a sealed chassis, lubricated spindles and modern read/write heads.

1978 – RAID technology is developed combining numbers of independent hard drives into an array, working together to provide increased storage and performance.

1979 – Seagate is founded.

1980 – IBM breaks the 1Gb barrier with a hard drive that weighs over 500lbs and costs £26,500. The first 5.25-inch hard drive appear from Seagate.

1983 – Rodime introduces the first 3.5-inch hard drive with two platters storing 10Mb of data.

1985 – A consortium of hard drive manufacturers develop the 40 pin IDE interface.

1988 – The first 2.5-inch notepad hard drives appear storing 20Mb on two platters. Conner introduces the first 1-inch high 3.5-inch hard drive, which is still standard size today.

1992 – Seagate Barracuda hard drives now spin at 7200RPM and can store 2.1Gb of data.

1996 – One billion bits per square inch can now be stored on a platter and hard drives are spinning at 10,000RPM.

2000 – Maxtor become the World’s largest manufacturer after buying Quantum and Seagate introduce the first 15,000RPM hard drives.

2003 – IBM sells its data storage technology to Hitachi and Seagate start the acquisition process for Maxtor.

2006 – Perpendicular magnetic recording boosts notebook hard drive capacities to 160Gb and Seagate releases the biggest hard drive to data at 750Gb. Micro 1-inch hard drives appear holding up to 12Gb. SanDisk develop the 2Gb microSD card.

2007 – The World’s first 1Tb hard drive appears. Manufacturered by Hitachi, the Deskstar 7K1000 is sold at prices around £250.

2013 – Hard drives of 4Tb appear from Seagate and the World’s first 1Tb USB flash drive is introduced by Kingston.