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Terabyte Hard Drives, Golly!

OK, so I’ve posted many times in the past about the magic of Moore’s Law (and the increase in storage density which is an even steeper curve), and after working 15 years in the technology industry, you’d think I’d be used to exponential growth. But the fact that Samsung recently announced a 3-platter, one terabyte desktop drive and Hitachi announced a 500GB laptop drive caught my attention.

But let me engage in some nostalgia: I remember my first hard drive, 20 megabytes, inside my Mac SE. I remember clearly sitting in a lecture in Stanford’s Terman Engineering Hall during my undergrad years (1989 – 1993) when the professor, in a flight of amateur futurism, predicted that one day, maybe 15 years hence, we will be able fit a few gigabytes into a desktop, cubic-foot sized box.

Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore. My back-of-envelope calculations suggest you could pack about 72 3.5″ drives into a cubic foot, notwithstanding thermal issues, so this professor was off by at least a factor of 25,000. Happily we’ve all been surprised at how dense magnetic storage has become. And the increase in density in flash-based storage is equally remarkable.

As a New Year’s Resolution, I’ll try to refrain from posting more about exponential growth rates in storage and processing power until at least another order-of-magnitude milestone has been passed. But we all know most resolutions are quickly broken. I’ll try to refrain in January. Or until after CES.

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January 3rd, 2008     Categories: Uncategorized