A Breif History of the Hard Drive

Essay by mike1977University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2006

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In 1956 the world's first hard drive was produced by IBM. The IBM system 305 hard drive consisted of twenty four fifty inch platters that were coated with iron oxide paint.

(Wright) Each platter had a recording surface on each side resulting in one hundred total recording surfaces. Each surface then had one hundred tracks for recording. The disk spun at 1200 RPMS, had a data transfer rate of 8800 bytes per second and a total capacity of five megabytes. The computer that contained the hard drive leased for 3,200 dollars per month. IBM continued to release update versions of the drive through the 1950s. The IBM 353 and the IBM 355 were both released and provided increased performance over the IBM 305.

In 1961 IBM would again push the limitations of hard disk technology with the release of the IBM 1301 on June second. The 1301 stored 28 million characters per each module.

Each module had 20 large disks containing 40 recording surfaces, each with 250 tracks per surface. The disks were stacked vertically just like the IBM 305. The disks spun at 18,000 RPMS and produced a data write speed of 90,000 characters per second and had a maximum access time of 180 milliseconds. The increase in the 1301's data write speed was largely due to its increased number of arms and heads for reading data. Since the 305 only had one head and arm, it would have to move up and down between the disk platters to write data. The 1301 had a number of arms and heads shaped like a comb that would move back and forth simultaneously. This greatly improved the amount of time required to locate and read data off of the disk. The 1301 was released in two separate models. Model 1 cost...