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(Wired)   Remembering the RAMAC: a refrigerator-sized hard drive with five whole MBs of storage. But hey in 1956 that was a lot, and it worked   (wired.com ) divider line
    More: Cool, RAMAC, Albert Hoagland, dry cask storage, Santa Clara University, air conditioning units, paper of record, refrigerators, first computer  
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3523 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Jan 2014 at 8:11 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-06 10:51:27 PM  
1956: 5 MB
www.wired.com

2014: 2,097,152 MB
www.micro-sdxc.com
 
2014-01-06 10:52:06 PM  
www.micro-sdxc.com
 
2014-01-06 11:06:02 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: nekom: TheGreatGazoo:
I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.

I think that's what our old TRS-80 Model I Level I had.  I don't remember much about that, I was just a little toddler.  Our first PC clone (Tandy) had 384 (8086 or 8088?), second one had 640 (286).  We skipped the 386 entirely and our first 486 had couple megs, 4 maybe.  But not like memory today, you still had the base and extended memory, and it was a real pain in the dick to get all of the drivers to load into high memory.

Remember QEMM?


Remember EMM386, remember LOADHIGH, remember HIGHMEM? Ah, the good ol' days trying to get enough memory to run Red Baron, Aces of the Pacific, etc

/Even wrote a BAT file to reboot with the right AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files for various games
 
2014-01-06 11:08:02 PM  

Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:

[i.imgur.com image 744x558]


I have seen the picture before and always wondered what they thought we would do with the steering wheel thing.

Anyway, I remember when I was young and we had a 486 or something and we had 4 megabytes of RAM.  I dreamed of someday convincing my parents to upgrade the RAM and get 8 so I could play cooler games.  My memory is a little hazy here and I don't feel like doing the actual research but I recall a stick of ram being like $50 dollars for that next 4 megabytes of RAM.  I don't know, something like that.

Damn you technology!!! You have reminded me that I am old!!!
 
2014-01-06 11:11:21 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.

Hell, the diag panel on IBM SystemX servers I bought last year indicates hard drive problems with the notation 'DASD'.


Same or similar with AS400s. When the CSR came to replace it, I wondered out loud about the fact that the faulty item was a fairly bog-standard 5.25" unit. He said "it is, but look at that controller".

Reliability in those things was all about the controllers, not just the disc units.
 
2014-01-06 11:13:48 PM  

ol' gormsby: Nicholas D. Wolfwood: TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.

Hell, the diag panel on IBM SystemX servers I bought last year indicates hard drive problems with the notation 'DASD'.

Same or similar with AS400s. When the CSR came to replace it, I wondered out loud about the fact that the faulty item was a fairly bog-standard 5.25" unit. He said "it is, but look at that controller".

Reliability in those things was all about the controllers, not just the disc units.


Really an AS400 including their disk drives were always amazingly reliable.
 
2014-01-06 11:16:06 PM  
Thats a worse volume/info ratio than paper. I think you can get something like 1mb of ascii on a ream of paper...
 
2014-01-06 11:21:24 PM  

Gergesa: Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:

[i.imgur.com image 744x558]

I have seen the picture before and always wondered what they thought we would do with the steering wheel thing.

Anyway, I remember when I was young and we had a 486 or something and we had 4 megabytes of RAM.  I dreamed of someday convincing my parents to upgrade the RAM and get 8 so I could play cooler games.  My memory is a little hazy here and I don't feel like doing the actual research but I recall a stick of ram being like $50 dollars for that next 4 megabytes of RAM.  I don't know, something like that.

Damn you technology!!! You have reminded me that I am old!!!


Rand has a section all about it, search for "home computer" on the page.
 
2014-01-06 11:24:03 PM  

nekom: Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?

That isn't a dumb question at all, I'd like to know the answer myself.  My guess would be better read/write heads allowing for much higher density of data.  But I've never worked in hardware so I'm quite likely wrong on that.


The read/write head is probably the key (the tiny size of it, and its ability to modulate its magnetic field very quickly and accurately), but they definitely have better materials on the platter as well.

(The platter area of a typical hard drive is 50 square centimeters, or 5000 square millimeters.  There are about 4 platters, and they each use two sides, for an overall area of 40000 square millimeters.  If you have a 2 TB hard disk, that comes out to about 50 megabytes per square millimeter.)
 
2014-01-06 11:24:47 PM  

Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?


No one single difference, but the accumulated effect of *many* improvements:

Plated media instead of oxide coating (more bits per inch)
Vertical domain recording (if a bit is like a domino, stand it on end instead of laying it flat)
More efficient encoding (more bits stored in fewer flux changes)
Zone-based recording (more sectors per track on the longer tracks on the outer parts of the platter)
Fantastic recording heads with the hard drive equivalent of ultra hi-def (like switching from a paint roller to a fine point marker to write a track)

... and many, many more.
 
2014-01-06 11:25:24 PM  

aerojockey: Ok.  The thing looks to be about 1 meter in diameter.  I imagine the usable area of the disk is maybe half a square meter, and I doubt they used both sides.  There are 50 disks, so 25 square meters.  That's 25 million square millimeters, to 5 hold 5 megabytes.  So, roughtly 1 bit per 0.5 square millimeters.


Similar but not exactly like the first hard drive I ever saw, back in 1963.  Probably a later version of the same thing, and as I recall did hold 5 Mb.  Like you say, about a meter square, but slightly taller than wide.  Reminded me of a washing machine, and the entire room vibrated when it spun up.  The version I saw had the hard drive platter mounter like a large cake cover, with a big handle at the top.  Maybe 20 inches across at the base.  You would put the thing on top, rotate the cake cover a quarter turn, and I guess that engaged the platters inside the cake cover thing.  I imagine the platter arrangement inside the cake cover was disconnected and then lowered into the rest of the washing machine looking thing.  Took a few seconds to do whatever it did, and then like I said, the whole thing spun up to maybe 12k rpm.  So, replaceable drives each in a cake cover thingee. They had at least four or five of the cake cover drives, and eventually (but not at first) two of the washing machine readers.

/This was for a milk and ice cream company.
 
2014-01-06 11:27:01 PM  

Sugarbombs: Gergesa: Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:

[i.imgur.com image 744x558]

I have seen the picture before and always wondered what they thought we would do with the steering wheel thing.

Anyway, I remember when I was young and we had a 486 or something and we had 4 megabytes of RAM.  I dreamed of someday convincing my parents to upgrade the RAM and get 8 so I could play cooler games.  My memory is a little hazy here and I don't feel like doing the actual research but I recall a stick of ram being like $50 dollars for that next 4 megabytes of RAM.  I don't know, something like that.

Damn you technology!!! You have reminded me that I am old!!!

Rand has a section all about it, search for "home computer" on the page.


Oh I see, oh well.  Still like it.
 
2014-01-06 11:28:17 PM  
theflatline:
Really an AS400 including their disk drives were always amazingly reliable.

Where I work, we are running one today.  I use it every single working day.  Bonus:  It's emulating a System/36 running custom code from more than 2 decades and 3 companies ago.  Damned thing is a data truck!  (not a series of tubes)

Of all the components we've ever had to replace, I think the power supply was the most frequent.  But I work in the office of a weld shop, the electric there is pretty bad with lots of spikes and drops when various welders, cranes, machines, etc kicked on or off.  A line conditioner helped a bit.
 
2014-01-06 11:33:39 PM  

Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?


Oh, and let us not forget hi - precision head positioners (based on loudspeaker voice coils, and evolving up from there), a *huge* improvement on the old stepper motors, that were accurate and precise enough to make high track densities into a practical proposition. Not to mention very much faster.

Coming up soon, drives with the platter cavities sealed and filled with helium, to reduce heat and allow greater densities and speeds.

I'm sure come tomorrow, I'll think of another dozen or so hard drive technology innovations and kick myself for not remembering them now.
 
2014-01-06 11:37:17 PM  

clkeagle: jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.
[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]

Ah, the Mattel Aquarius. Still remember playing Astrosmash late at night on that thing.

First real computer for me was a used Wyse 286 (with the 287 math coprocessor) with a VGA graphics card, and it had been upgraded to 2mb RAM and a 40mb HD. It outperformed most of my friends' 386s when playing Wolfenstein. Unfortunately, whoever upgraded it used an IDE hard drive without replacing the MFM controller. I had all kinds of weird issues with it until that got fixed...

Anyway, I remember spending my youth trying to write sci-fi stories on that 286.  I distinctly remember that the flagship of some space fleet I imagined had a top of the line computer with 500gb of storage capacity. Because that was pretty much all I could imagine at the time... and I imagined it would take hundreds of years to get to that point.



You would think that by NOW, scifi authors would be a TINY bit better at realizing that their predictions are TERRIBLE and they should go CRAZY.
I remember recently reading a story in Analog. In the far future, interstellar travel, researchers were investigating ,... something something stellar evolution, who knows. And difference researchers were fighting about getting time on the mainframe.

FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile. 
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.
 
2014-01-06 11:37:32 PM  

Lsherm: namatad: fark atoms, we have a quantum computer!


Well, we do and we don't.
 
2014-01-06 11:40:16 PM  
'Spinning magnetic hard drives will be obsolete in a few years.' I first heard that 20 years ago. I'm sure it will be true someday, but it always amuses me how every time I hear that screed, the very next day I see a slew of articles about new developments that will improve hard drive performance and capacity by a few orders of magnitude.
 
2014-01-06 11:42:25 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?

No one single difference, but the accumulated effect of *many* improvements:

Plated media instead of oxide coating (more bits per inch)
Vertical domain recording (if a bit is like a domino, stand it on end instead of laying it flat)
More efficient encoding (more bits stored in fewer flux changes)
Zone-based recording (more sectors per track on the longer tracks on the outer parts of the platter)
Fantastic recording heads with the hard drive equivalent of ultra hi-def (like switching from a paint roller to a fine point marker to write a track)

... and many, many more.


A not insignificant one is fluid dynamics discoveries that allow the heads to float closer to the platter and with less deviation; that lets you be more aggressive with magnetic switching.
 
2014-01-06 11:45:09 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: 'Spinning magnetic hard drives will be obsolete in a few years.' I first heard that 20 years ago. I'm sure it will be true someday, but it always amuses me how every time I hear that screed, the very next day I see a slew of articles about new developments that will improve hard drive performance and capacity by a few orders of magnitude.


It's kind of becoming true.

If your laptop costs more than $1000 and you don't have a boot SSD, you're high.  It's just that the $$/GB and max size of SSD's (and possibly power usage?  I know that servers give a big deal about power costs) is really, really huge.
 
2014-01-06 11:47:53 PM  

ol' gormsby: Nicholas D. Wolfwood: TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.

Hell, the diag panel on IBM SystemX servers I bought last year indicates hard drive problems with the notation 'DASD'.

Same or similar with AS400s. When the CSR came to replace it, I wondered out loud about the fact that the faulty item was a fairly bog-standard 5.25" unit. He said "it is, but look at that controller".

Reliability in those things was all about the controllers, not just the disc units.


Amen. I want the idiot at IBM who shifted them from Adaptec controllers to LSI units - I want him fired. He's either incompetent or taking kickbacks (or both).

I've had more drive problems in two months with the LSI controllers than I did in 8 years with Adaptec.

Plus it took LSI until version 5.0.3 to make a RAID manager that worked.

And don't get me started on the battery problems on the LSI controllers.
 
2014-01-06 11:50:25 PM  

Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:


Shakes tiny fist
 
2014-01-06 11:50:39 PM  

namatad: clkeagle: jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.
[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]

Ah, the Mattel Aquarius. Still remember playing Astrosmash late at night on that thing.

First real computer for me was a used Wyse 286 (with the 287 math coprocessor) with a VGA graphics card, and it had been upgraded to 2mb RAM and a 40mb HD. It outperformed most of my friends' 386s when playing Wolfenstein. Unfortunately, whoever upgraded it used an IDE hard drive without replacing the MFM controller. I had all kinds of weird issues with it until that got fixed...

Anyway, I remember spending my youth trying to write sci-fi stories on that 286.  I distinctly remember that the flagship of some space fleet I imagined had a top of the line computer with 500gb of storage capacity. Because that was pretty much all I could imagine at the time... and I imagined it would take hundreds of years to get to that point.


You would think that by NOW, scifi authors would be a TINY bit better at realizing that their predictions are TERRIBLE and they should go CRAZY.
I remember recently reading a story in Analog. In the far future, interstellar travel, researchers were investigating ,... something something stellar evolution, who knows. And difference researchers were fighting about getting time on the mainframe.

FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile. 
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.


Try reading Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon) and Walter Jon Williams (almost anything of his).

I think you'll be pleased.
 
2014-01-06 11:53:03 PM  

skinink: I got into computers around 1998, so I got in when component's prices started to drop to a reasonable amount. But a friend told me of the days when a 100MB drive used to cost $1,000. Now I can buy a 1TB drive for $99.


Yep. As we techie types describe this phenomenon, nowadays drives are 'free in your Cheerios'.
 
2014-01-06 11:59:50 PM  
In two years, the Square Kilometer Array  project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it.  I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it. But we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that increased data capacity, with higher-speed networks to link it, when they commercialize it.

In just 2-4 years from now, we'll see an improvement that makes today's tech look like this archival video we've just watched.
 
2014-01-07 12:01:11 AM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?

Oh, and let us not forget hi - precision head positioners (based on loudspeaker voice coils, and evolving up from there), a *huge* improvement on the old stepper motors, that were accurate and precise enough to make high track densities into a practical proposition. Not to mention very much faster.

Coming up soon, drives with the platter cavities sealed and filled with helium, to reduce heat and allow greater densities and speeds.

I'm sure come tomorrow, I'll think of another dozen or so hard drive technology innovations and kick myself for not remembering them now.


SO I have read about this.
HOW is the helium going to stay in the drive?
I always thought that helium pretty much leaked out of everything given enough time.
What will the life-span of the drives be? Or will they just degrade gracefully and be slower once the He leaks out?

"HGST has not released any details about how it seals in the helium, beyond assurances that it is a hermetic seal guaranteed for five years, but Talke says it looks like the challenges have been overcome. "

6TB real soon now

For example, sealed helium-filled HDDs can be immersed and operated in a non-conductive liquid,
Now that makes for some interesting cooling options.
 
2014-01-07 12:01:50 AM  
www.army-technology.com
Glen Beck (background) and Betty Snyder (foreground) programme the ENIAC, the world's first digital computer - commissioned by the US Army to calculate artillery firing tables
 
2014-01-07 12:08:12 AM  

Any Pie Left: In two years, the Square Kilometer Array  project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it.  I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it. But we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that increased data capacity, with higher-speed networks to link it, when they commercialize it.

In just 2-4 years from now, we'll see an improvement that makes today's tech look like this archival video we've just watched.


I remember seeing the exabyte tape farm at Fermilabs.
The data pretty much went straight to tape, there was just so much of it.

so an exabyte is a 1,000,000 terabytes?
a day?
so yah, I would be surprised if that data wasnt going to be filtered, compressed or both.
so yah, I can wait to read the article about how they are storing/saving the data
 
2014-01-07 12:17:33 AM  

namatad: FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE


I remember using techniques like disk compression to squeeze out a few extra megabytes back in the 90s.

I don't know about you, but I've not felt the need to conserve disk space in a long time.  I have two operating systems installed on my SSD (one 32-bit, one 64) and it's running at about 15% usage.  My hard disk is running at 36%.  Computer is two years old.

These days, the vast majority of storage is used for multimedia, and I there isn't a lot of return you get these days for packing more data into existing media types.

Audio files are pretty much as large as they're gonna get.  In 1 terabyte, you can store about 50 full-length symphonies, in uncompressed 16-bit PCM at 44 kHz... with each instrument getting its own track.

I suppose photographs (and maybe monitors) will improve their resolution, so you'll need four to ten times as much to store photos and screenshots, but we're getting close to the point higher resolution doesn't help much.

The main growth in need for media storage would be motion pictures: certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.  But that will be limited because of bandwidth.

Basically, the current trends point to slower growth for storage needs in the future.  What could break this wide open again, and put us back on the path of storage scarcity, is new media.  3D projected surfaces anyone?  HD quality images from any vantage point.

Interactive media (i.e., games) are another thing pushing growth; the interactivity basically adds another dimension to the storage needs.  But these days high-end games are completely photorealistic.  Finer meshes and textures won't get you a lot.  Realism in the future will come from things like better motion, which won't need as much space.


You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile.
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.


Reasonable, but I'm going to put it on the low end.
 
2014-01-07 12:18:51 AM  

Any Pie Left: In two years, the Square Kilometer Array  project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it.  I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it. But we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that increased data capacity, with higher-speed networks to link it, when they commercialize it.

In just 2-4 years from now, we'll see an improvement that makes today's tech look like this archival video we've just watched.



after reading a bit more and laughing
currently manufacturers are shipping around 30 exabytes a years in storage. world wide
so an exabyte a day ... well, it wont be stored on drives, unless it is compressed. a lot.
 
2014-01-07 12:23:19 AM  

jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.

[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]


Is that a defibrillator?
 
2014-01-07 12:32:59 AM  

aerojockey: Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?

No one single difference, but the accumulated effect of *many* improvements:

Plated media instead of oxide coating (more bits per inch)
Vertical domain recording (if a bit is like a domino, stand it on end instead of laying it flat)
More efficient encoding (more bits stored in fewer flux changes)
Zone-based recording (more sectors per track on the longer tracks on the outer parts of the platter)
Fantastic recording heads with the hard drive equivalent of ultra hi-def (like switching from a paint roller to a fine point marker to write a track)

... and many, many more.

A not insignificant one is fluid dynamics discoveries that allow the heads to float closer to the platter and with less deviation; that lets you be more aggressive with magnetic switching.


Thanks. I *knew* there were a ton of innovations that were slipping my mind.

Oh - and 'Magneto - Resistive Heads'. And 'Super Magneto - Resistive Heads'.
 
2014-01-07 12:35:42 AM  

nekom: My first hard drive was only 20mb, but it was far more reasonably sized.


My first hard drive on a computer I actually owned was 20 mb.

8088
640k RAM
5.25 floppy (i added a 3.5)
2400 BAUD modem
Color monitor with 16 Colors

/i went from that to a 486, man what a difference.

We had a couple of Apple IIs in the school library when i was growing up but that was about it in 80s.
 
2014-01-07 12:41:17 AM  

namatad: Any Pie Left: In two years, the Square Kilometer Array  project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it.  I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it. But we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that increased data capacity, with higher-speed networks to link it, when they commercialize it.

In just 2-4 years from now, we'll see an improvement that makes today's tech look like this archival video we've just watched.


after reading a bit more and laughing
currently manufacturers are shipping around 30 exabytes a years in storage. world wide
so an exabyte a day ... well, it wont be stored on drives, unless it is compressed. a lot.


Yup.

Anyone else remember 'Odo's Law'?

On this one episode of Deep Space Nine, Odo was making a log entry, something along these lines:

"Chief Constable's Log, Stardate (mumble mumble). I'm only recording this because Captain Sisko insists. Humans have this ingrained need to record everything that can possibly be recorded. They never *do* anything with it or *delete* any of it. This results in a situation whereby every few years they need to invent newer and denser forms of computer storage to deal with it all."
 
2014-01-07 12:45:19 AM  

aerojockey: namatad: FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

I remember using techniques like disk compression to squeeze out a few extra megabytes back in the 90s.

I don't know about you, but I've not felt the need to conserve disk space in a long time.  I have two operating systems installed on my SSD (one 32-bit, one 64) and it's running at about 15% usage.  My hard disk is running at 36%.  Computer is two years old.

These days, the vast majority of storage is used for multimedia, and I there isn't a lot of return you get these days for packing more data into existing media types.

Audio files are pretty much as large as they're gonna get.  In 1 terabyte, you can store about 50 full-length symphonies, in uncompressed 16-bit PCM at 44 kHz... with each instrument getting its own track.

I suppose photographs (and maybe monitors) will improve their resolution, so you'll need four to ten times as much to store photos and screenshots, but we're getting close to the point higher resolution doesn't help much.

The main growth in need for media storage would be motion pictures: certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.  But that will be limited because of bandwidth.

Basically, the current trends point to slower growth for storage needs in the future.  What could break this wide open again, and put us back on the path of storage scarcity, is new media.  3D projected surfaces anyone?  HD quality images from any vantage point.

Interactive media (i.e., games) are another thing pushing growth; the interactivity basically adds another dimension to the storage needs.  But these days high-end games are completely photorealistic.  Finer meshes and textures won't get you a lot.  Realism in the future will come from things like better motion, which won't need as much space.


You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile.
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.

Reasonable, but I'm going to put it on the low end.


Based on past experience, every prediction like this is an iron-clad guarantee that future storage needs will only accelerate, not level off ;-)
 
2014-01-07 12:57:05 AM  

aerojockey: The main growth in need for media storage would be motion pictures: certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.  But that will be limited because of bandwidth.


Codecs are getting better every day though, video file sizes have actually swung way way down, i agree that bandwidth is more the limiting factor (especially when you consider streaming services) than just storage space. I download a lot of TV shows, i remember most 22 minute shows were 174mb and 44 min shows were 350mb, for like 320x240 mpg vhs/sdtv rips. Now everything is like 90mb for a 22 minute 640x320 x264 HD rip.
But even without any codec....  120 minutes * 48 frames a second * 3840x2160 (just made a 3840x2160 tiff in PS, it was ~25mb) = thats ONLY a little over 10TB for a completely uncompressed 4k movie, then another TB for the audio, either discrete or some sort of rendered thing like Atmos. I mean we wont be streaming that any time soon, but i could see 12tb flash drives in a couple of years, and they already sell movies on flash drives... But theyd be stupid not to compress it.
 
2014-01-07 01:04:41 AM  

Any Pie Left: In two years, the Square Kilometer Array project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it. I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it.



There's no economical way to store that much data on spinning disks. They'll probably have to print it all out instead.
 
2014-01-07 01:14:48 AM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Based on past experience, every prediction like this is an iron-clad guarantee that future storage needs will only accelerate, not level off ;-)


S-curves, chief.  I might be wrong today, but someday it's gonna slow down.  Exponential growth can't be sustained for forever.
 
2014-01-07 01:17:45 AM  
Since we're sharing old computer stories, computer #1 for me was an Apple ][ clone (an 'orange') with a whopping 16k of memory and a 6502 processor ripping along at a blazing 1mhz.  I had two- count 'em two- 5 1/4 floppy drives though, meaning I was the guy to come to for game replication.

I replaced that in '85 with an Apple 2e, which I still own.  I should see if I can get that sucker to boot, I haven't tried in about 25 years.
 
2014-01-07 02:19:46 AM  

nekom: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Amazing, isn't it?  300mb isn't sufficient VIDEO memory these days.  I watch my 6 year old playing with her ipad mini and remember when I was her age staring at our Tandy 1000 with 384K of ram, 2 5 1/4" disk drives and stellar Tandy graphics with SIXTEEN color text!  As used to modern technology as I am (degree in computer science, work in IT) it still amazes me how far computers have come in such a short time.


If you lived in San Antonio, I might have sold you that Tandy 1000 from Radio Shack.  I think back at how expensive that stuff was.  People would come in the store and about kill themselves filling out credit card applications and then if approved, instantly max out the card.  It wasn't uncommon to rack up $4K+ in charges.
 
2014-01-07 03:16:43 AM  
My grandfather worked on the RAMAC and I have a read head from one here that we found in a closet after he passed away.  I'm glad to see they got the one at the Computer History Museum running.

I heard about the project to restore it when it was announced.  I'll have to go see it.

OK now for my first hard drive story to add to the thread:

It was a Segate ST-138N, 30MB half height, the one with the 'sticktion' problem where the heads would stick in the park position.   The official solution was to hold it in the palm of your hand and gently bang one side with your other palm.   Then it would spin up.  I kept it in an external enclosure with the lid off so I could pick it up like this, all cables attached.    this was attached to my Amiga 500, one of the Many Amigas I owned during the heydey of that machine.   Good times.
 
2014-01-07 03:44:42 AM  

Gergesa: Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:

[i.imgur.com image 744x558]

I have seen the picture before and always wondered what they thought we would do with the steering wheel thing.



It's from a Fark photoshop contest a few years back now.  It's a submarine training simulator when you remove all the edits if I remember correctly, hence the wheel.
 
2014-01-07 04:06:06 AM  
im 31 and i feel like the youngest motherfarker who read every post in the thread.  im trying to remember what the first family computer had for memory, processor etc.   pretty sure it was a pentium 1 rocking like 66mhz with like 2-300 megs on the HD.  i do remember swapping and storing up games on 3" floppies for the shiatty macs we had in elementary/ middle school.  and old number munchers/oregon trail/whatever that farking drawing thing was with the farking turtle.
 
2014-01-07 08:09:22 AM  
Sixteen of us shared an abacus. Nintendo was a biatch.
 
2014-01-07 08:40:32 AM  

namatad: clkeagle: jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.
[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]

Ah, the Mattel Aquarius. Still remember playing Astrosmash late at night on that thing.

First real computer for me was a used Wyse 286 (with the 287 math coprocessor) with a VGA graphics card, and it had been upgraded to 2mb RAM and a 40mb HD. It outperformed most of my friends' 386s when playing Wolfenstein. Unfortunately, whoever upgraded it used an IDE hard drive without replacing the MFM controller. I had all kinds of weird issues with it until that got fixed...

Anyway, I remember spending my youth trying to write sci-fi stories on that 286.  I distinctly remember that the flagship of some space fleet I imagined had a top of the line computer with 500gb of storage capacity. Because that was pretty much all I could imagine at the time... and I imagined it would take hundreds of years to get to that point.


You would think that by NOW, scifi authors would be a TINY bit better at realizing that their predictions are TERRIBLE and they should go CRAZY.
I remember recently reading a story in Analog. In the far future, interstellar travel, researchers were investigating ,... something something stellar evolution, who knows. And difference researchers were fighting about getting time on the mainframe.

FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile. 
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.


Yep. The sci-fi stories that will endure are the ones that skipped the technobabble and focused on characters and events.
 
2014-01-07 08:49:07 AM  
I still have a working TRS-80 Model 100 somewhere around here. Picked it up at a garage sale years ago.

It's the fancy 24k version that sold for $1399 in 1983.
 
2014-01-07 09:19:17 AM  

Vaneshi: Just now I was wondering why a single .TIFF file I was writing to an SD card was taking so long, so I looked... 40MB. I've a 4TB disk that is literally full of media... crazy isn't it?


Digital media is a gas: It expands to fill its container.
=Smidge=
 
2014-01-07 11:01:32 AM  
Let me tie an onion on my belt and tell you of the first system I worked on in the Air Force.  It was the BUIC and actually I can't tell you much about it because I barely remember anything other than the multiple cabinets were as large as me and covered with switches and lights.   KAFB Tech School circa 1980.

But I do recall that one of those giant cabinets housed a drum memory, a cylinder, not a disk.
 
2014-01-07 11:30:31 AM  

Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: To this day, it remains filled with ASCII porn


you rang?????

i have a shelf of 5 1/4" disks for my C-64.  so many games, so little RAM.
 
2014-01-07 11:56:30 AM  

Markoff_Cheney: im 31 and i feel like the youngest motherfarker who read every post in the thread.  im trying to remember what the first family computer had for memory, processor etc.   pretty sure it was a pentium 1 rocking like 66mhz with like 2-300 megs on the HD.  i do remember swapping and storing up games on 3" floppies for the shiatty macs we had in elementary/ middle school.  and old number munchers/oregon trail/whatever that farking drawing thing was with the farking turtle.


I have you best by a couple years, but not much.

1995, NEC 120mhz P1, 1.6gb, 28.8, 16mb (gasp) and a *16 bit sound card*!

That there was a -blazing- machine, and all for just shy of $2k.
 
2014-01-07 12:00:10 PM  

Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.


Yeah, somewhere around here there's a pair of 500mb full height drives.  Heavy as hell.

unyon: Since we're sharing old computer stories, computer #1 for me was an Apple ][ clone (an 'orange') with a whopping 16k of memory and a 6502 processor ripping along at a blazing 1mhz. I had two- count 'em two- 5 1/4 floppy drives though, meaning I was the guy to come to for game replication.

I replaced that in '85 with an Apple 2e, which I still own. I should see if I can get that sucker to boot, I haven't tried in about 25 years.


You got me beat, my first machine was a TRS-80.  128k, 4x 5 1/4 floppies.
 
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