Saturday, September 25

How much did the first hard drive in history weigh and measure? | Digital Trends Spanish

Storing files on an external hard drive and instantly reading them on any computer in a matter of seconds is such an everyday occurrence that we probably don’t even wonder how this happens. Magic. Key to all of this was the IBM 350, the first hard drive in history.

The IBM 350, which was part of the RAMAC 305 system September 1956, radically revolutionized how organizations not only stored and used their data, but also opened a world of possibilities for the development of information technology.

Each character could be read or changed in any order and at any time. Until then, data was stored on punched cards or magnetic tapes. While cards could be accidentally damaged or destroyed, tapes did not have the ability to provide random access to data. Another alternative was magnetic drum storage systems, which, while reliable, did not allow for quick access.

The flight of the IBM 350

Mel almanza

The impetus for the development of the IBM 350 came from the United States Air Force, which needed a random access inventory system. Since no one knew how to achieve this, researcher Reynold Johnson was commissioned to lead a research laboratory.

Johnson’s team tried just about everything: strips, rods, tapes, and flat plates. While he experienced great obstacles, he finally succeeded when he decided to use rotating horizontal discs coated with magnetic material.

Thus, the IBM 350 was introduced as part of the RAMAC 305, a flexible, electronic and general-purpose data processing machine that allowed to record transactions as they occurred and simultaneously reflect each entry.

How much the IBM 350 weighed and measured

The IBM 350 and the dual-arm mechanism.
The IBM 350 and the dual-arm mechanism used to read the information.

The IBM 350 consisted of the magnetic disk memory unit with its access mechanism, electronic and pneumatic controls, and an air compressor, which allowed the disks to move without the read / write head touching it and damaging the information. .

It was configured with 50 magnetic disks with a capacity of 5 million 7-bit characters, no more than 4.4 megabytes (it is estimated that its usable capacity was actually only 3.75 MB). Each disk was 152 centimeters long, 172 centimeters high, and 73 centimeters deep.

Over the years it was modified and improved until it was discontinued in 1969, but the original IBM 350 was the size of two kitchen refrigerators: 1.52 meters deep, 1.73 meters high and 74 centimeters wide.

Although it is often claimed that the IBM 350 weighed more than a ton, it was actually 785 kilos. According Tom gardner, from the Museum of the History of Computing, the belief could be associated with that many included the 200 kilos of the air compressor.

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