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A Portable Hard Drive

Written by: George Chittenden : 27 Jul 2019

This incredible photo was taken in 1956 and features an IBM 350 hard drive being loaded onto a plane. Now we all know that when it comes to technology, humans have made leaps and bounds in recent years, but if you needed reminding then this is the photo that’ll do it. This monster of a computer only had a miniscule 3.75 megabytes of storage, and it weighed more than 2,000 pounds. To put that in context the weakest iPhone 5S has a 16-gigabyte drive, about 3,200-times larger and it only weighs a quarter of a pound.

The IBM 305 RAMAC was the first commercial computer that used a moving-head hard disk drive. The system was publicly announced on September 14th, 1956, with test units already installed at the U.S. Navy and at private corporations. The IBM 350’s design was motivated by the need for real time accounting in business. So how much did it cost? Well you could rent one for a month for only US$3,200, which in today’s money is the equivalent of approximately $27,000!

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