Lament for the hard drive

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Link appears to be boinged.

My petabyte drive is a RAID. (Or it would be if I had one.)


You know what really has incomparable warmth, depth of soundstage, and presence? Core memory.


Hard drives are magic. Some of the most high tech devices we’ve ever had. Physicists discover massive forces within nearly inconcievably small distances from matter, and six months later there’s twice as much density in those platters.

I love that the platters are flat to within one or two molecules worth of error. And the heads spin around it on a layer of air just four nanometers thick.


Hrmmm - if that’s they case why do I have 5 hard drives in my system and the need for more growth? This smacks of ‘640k should be enough for anyone’


I was surprised when floppy discs became optional on my new computers, and shocked when optical drives went the same way.


:slight_smile: I headed here to say just the opposite. In the late 90s and early 00s a major factor in me buying a new computer was that I’d be running out of disk space, and the new machines had more storage included in their list of nicer specs overall.

But when I bought a computer four years ago, it was because I’d killed the spacebar on the old machine’s keyboard, and because it didn’t have minimum specs to run Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. The new machine still runs anything I throw on it, and the hard drive is still only about 30% full.

Depends on what you use 'em for, I guess.


I did a “hard drive” from NYC to San Diego, it was murder.


Connectivity killed the petabyte drive.

My petabyte hard drive full of music and movies is called Spotify and Netflix.


Interesting. And yet, I still want a 1Tb ipod classic.


That’s very true, but it’ll never have the presence/warmth/surface_noise/smell of whichever medium it was I grew up with!

Come to think of it, I do miss dropping the needle on a side of vinyl and committing myself to twenty or forty [or more] minutes of music, for all its occasional disadvant.advant.advant.advant.advant…


Intel seems to be in the same rut.


“Maybe in a decade or two the spinning disk will make a comeback, the way vinyl LPs and vacuum tube amplifiers have. Data that comes off a mechanical disk has a subtle warmth and presence that no solid-state drive can match.”

It’s a funny line. To make a more realistic argument for the spinning platters, it’s impossible to do good drive wiping on an SSD with wear leveling.


Storage is in no way “stuck”. Holographic film storage brought petabytes more than a decade ago. As has carbon nanotubes since then. The “problem” is that new technologies are disruptive by offering so much storage that it is difficult for shortsighted propertarians to make a profit on.


Speaking of Hard Drives, I ended up watching this a few nights ago:

They’re sturdy little buggers. Very hard to destroy sufficiently for security reasons, if you limit yourself to the rules in this little challenge.

Turns out the likely best candidate that will mutilate the platters sufficiently, along with raising their temperature above their Curie point would be using shaped charges to weld the edges of the platters together while twisting them.


Yep. I remember the days when we actually had to weigh whether keeping all those old Word documents was worth the disk space. Nowadays a few hundred bucks worth of hard drive is enough to keep almost anyone other than a digital filmmaker going indefinitely, or at least until the rest of their hardware goes obsolete.


That was a fun talk. I’m a Infosec guy and a past chem major with adolescent leanings towards pyrotechnics, so it pushed a lot of my buttons. :slight_smile:


Well, it looks like our FeO-Al thermite just wasn’t hot enough… Time for some Copper thermite instead!


Those are not really remotely the same. One is about a stupid architectural design (combining 16 bit segment and offset to get only 20 bits of address space), limiting not just a given computer, but any future computer with the same architecture, and doing so at a time when other CPU vendors like Motorola were switching to full 32 bit addressing (even though they didn’t actually have 32 bits of address space). The other is about a lack of demand for extremely large hard drives today.

It also seems to be true. Some people may need more space, but 99% of desktop/laptop computers are well served by a single SSD or SSD + <= 6 TB hard drive for mass storage. Even “small” servers that need 10s of TB would usually prefer to spread that over multiple spindles for performance and fault tolerance. The people who might be a current market for a hypothetical 50 TB drive are cloud storage providers but they need petabyes of storage anyway, so really they care about TCO/TB more than TB/spindle.

Maybe that will change in the future, but it certainly seems to be the case today.


Which is why I have 5 drives today - I’d still have 5 drives tomorrow but I wouldn’t be running out of room :wink:

I’d love to get to the point where 10TB drives are ‘mainstream’ at the very least. We’ve been stuck in the 2-5 TB range for far too long.