My experience in the computer world goes back to the days of PCs that had only dual-floppy disk drives with no hard disk drive. A time when creatures known as 8″ double-sided, double-density floppy disks with a capacity of 1 megabyte were a preferred method of storage. So it was particularly interesting to me to see the recent availability of the new Seagate 1.5 TB (as in terabyte) 3.5″ hard disk drive and its fast Serial ATA 3 Gb/second interface.
For those not familiar with the term Terabyte: 1 terabyte = 1,000 gigabytes = 1,000,000 megabytes. So a 1.5 Terabyte hard disk drive could hold roughly 1,500,000 digital photos or approximately 350,000 digital songs or roughly 25,000 hours of music – that’s a lot of listening. A rather staggering amount of data for one little 3.5 hard disk drive.
Seagate is the First, But for How Long?
Seagate is the first manufacturer to reach this level, but it will not be surprising to see the other major manufacturers (Hitachi, Western Digital, Samsung, Toshiba, Fujitsu) joining Seagate in the relatively near future. Seagate shipped the industry’s first 5.25 inch hard disk drive for computers in 1979 with a whopping capacity of 5 Megabytes and shipped their one billionth hard disk drive in April 2008. This new drive is a half-terabyte increase from the previous highest capacity of 1TB and reaches this capacity through perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology.
The first reaction many people have to a 1.5 TB hard disk drive is “why would anyone ever need that much storage on their computer?” Today that’s probably a pretty valid question. But remember, it wasn’t all that long ago when a 500 Megabyte drive was considered large and it was even more recent when the size of a digital photo file (.jpg) on the earliest digital cameras was a tenth of what is normal today (200 – 300 KB vs. 1 – 3 MB). It may take a few years, but it won’t be long before hard disk drives with capacities of 1 – 2 TB are common.