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Brief History of Computer Storage

Since the introduction of the hard disk in 1956, the cost of disk space has fallen from $15,000 per megabyte to less than $0.0001 per megabyte.
  • Paper (2nd century BC)
    • Most of the early computers could only use paper to store all their output.
    • Storage: n/a
  • Punch Cards (1725)
    • First created for controlling patterns on mechanical looms.  Later used for data enter entry into mechanical computers.
    • Storage: n/a
  • Paper Tape (1846)
    • Long strip of paper with punched holes that were used to store data. It widely by Teletypes, minicomputers and CNC machine tools.
    • Storage: n/a
  • Magnetic Drum (1932)
    • A magnetic data storage device used early computer memory in the 1950s and into the 1960s
    • Storage: n/a
  • Williams-Kilburn Tube (1946)
    • The first random-access digital storage device, it used a cathode ray tube to electronically store data.
    • Storage: 512-1024-bits of storage capacity originally.
  • Selectron Tube (1946)
    • An early form of digital computer memory that never reached commercial viability,
    • Storage: 4096-bits of data storage capacity originally.
  • Magnetic Tape (1951)
    • First used to record computer data on the Eckert-Mauchly UNIVAC I.
    • Storage: Recording density was 128 characters per inch on eight tracks.
  • Core Memory (1951)
    • An early form of random-access computer memory that used tiny magnetic rings (the cores), through which wires are threaded to write and read information.
    • Storage: n/a
  • IBM 305 RAMAC (1956)
    • The first commercial computer that used a moving head hard disk drive.
    • Storage: 5MB of data storage capacity.
  • IBM 1311 Disk Storage Drive (1962)
    • Utilized removable disk packs that contained several hard drive platters.
    • Storage: 2MB storage capacity per disk pack.
  • Audio Cassettes (1963)
    • Many early microcomputers from about the mid-1970's to the mid-1980's used these tapes to store data.
    • Storage: About 660 kilobytes per side on a 90-minute tape (at a 2000-bit/s data rate).
  • DRAM (1970)
    • Each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit
    • Storage:Originally started at 1024 bits (see Intel 1102)
  • Bubble Memory (1970)
    • Uses a thin film of a magnetic material to hold small magnetized areas, known as bubbles.
    • Storage:Up to 1 megabit (by 1980, see Intel 7110)
  • Floppy Disk Drive 8" (1971)
    • These floppy drives were used in Microcomputers in 1970's
    • Storage: 1.5 megabit [unformatted] storage capacity per disk
  • Floppy Disk Drive 5.25" (1976)
    • These floppy drives were used in Microcomputers from about the mid-1970's to the mid-1980's
    • Storage: 1.2MB storage capacity per disk.
  • Laserdisc (1978)
    • Mostly used for the playback of movies.
    • Storage: Up to 324MB storage capacity per disk
  • Hard Drive 5.25" (Seagate ST506) (1980)
    • Most modern 5.25" hard drives used in Microcomputers are descendents from this drive.
    • Storage: 5MB of data storage capacity originally.
  • Floppy Disk Drive 3.5" (1982)
    • First used by Hewlett Packard, but popularized by Apple.
    • Storage: Up to 1.4MB storage capacity per disk
  • Hard Drive 3.5" (1983)
    • Most modern 3.5" hard drives used in Microcomputers are descendents from this drive.
  • CD-ROM (1985)
    • Replaced the floppy as a medium for distributing applications and data.
    • Storage: 650MB storage capacity per disk
  • Magneto-Optical Drive (1985)
    • About the size of a 3.5" floppy, it had various storage capacities.
    • Storage: 230MB-9GB storage capacity per disk
  • CompactFlash Memory Card (1994)
    • Most popular flash-based removable card storage format for high-end DSR cameras.
    • Storage: 128GB capacities are available
  • DVD (1995)
    • Replaced VHS as the most popular format for playing movies
    • Storage: 9GB storage capacity per disk
  • Iomega Zip Disk (1994)
    • Inexpensive removable data storage device used for storing, or transferring data.
    • Storage: 100MB storage capacity per disk originally.
  • Microdrive 1" (1999)
    • A 1" version of a standard mechanical hard drive.
    • Storage: 5GB storage capacity per drive originally.
  • SSD (Solid-State Drive) (1999)
    • The current generation of mass storage devices, using Flash memory has a storage media.
    • Storage: 250GB capacities are available
  • USB Flash Drive (2000)
    • Flash memory-based removable storage that plugs into a USB drive.
    • Storage: 128GB capacities are available
  • Blu-Ray (2003)
    • Winner of the HD format war, it beat HD-DVD.
    • Storage: 50GB storage capacity per disk
  • SD Card (2003)
    • Most popular flash memory-based removable card storage format.
    • Storage: 64GB capacities are available

Six Hard Drive Form Factors
From: Wikipedia

Floppy Disk 8", 5.25, and 3.5"
From: Wikipedia

Optical Disk (CD/DVD)

Punch Card (80 Columns)
From: Wikipedia


From: Wikipedia