Worlds Largest Consumer Hard Drive
Unveiled by IBM
By Jerry Suppan
IBM introduced the first hard disk drive ever back in 1956. It had a capacity of 5 mega or million bytes and was the size of two large refrigerators. Now, 32 years later, the latest offering from IBM enters the arena. A new hard disk drive with 5,000 times that capacity! This equates to a capacity of 25 GB or roughly three times the capacity of typical storage disks now shipping in consumer PCs. IBM's new 25 gigabyte drive, known as the Deskstar 25GP, operates at 5,400 revolutions per minute and is designed for the consumer PC user. This 25 gigabyte, or billion byte drive is aimed at home or PC hobbyists with an insatiable d mand for storing data.
IBM has also introduced a higher performance sibling, 22 gigabyte drive, the Deskstar 22GXP. This drive operates at a faster 7,200 revolutions per minute and is targeted at video editors, engineers and scientists, and the corporate market. Of course, nothing stopping you the power user from purchasing it either, right??!! Actually, nowadays I myself buy nothing less then 7200 rpm. I think this should satisfy all the storage pigs for a while.
Some of you might consider this as storage overkill. Three or four years ago, I would have been impressed at a 1 or 2 GB hard disk, their prices, and how powerful they were. Nowadays...what a joke, right??!! (For some however, this may still be all they need if their only intention is to type letters or do E-mail.) But, if you really think about it, increasingly we are finding ways to use such capacity. Let me give you a couple of examples: On my primary system at home, I use about one gigabyte alone to maintain electronic Japanese dictionaries online. This 1 GB is efficient in consideration of the fact I use a compressed NTFS partition dedicated to references. Having references always available online means they are right there when I want to use them. I don't need to fumble and search for the CD-ROM for this dictionary or that dictionary. And then, once I do that CD-ROM, I don't need to worry whether or not the drive will 'hiccup' in recognizing the CD-ROM drive, or malfunction for some other reason.
Another situation might be someone wanting to have hours of their favorite music stored in MP3 file format on another partition so they can enjoy their music online while they work. What about that home video you took with your latest digital camera you just bought? And, now you want to stream that video to your hard disk for digital video editing. This brings to mind one friend of mine who happened to just purchase a new Sony digital video camera, telling me how much he loves it. He went on to brag saying, "Pure digital! 60 minutes of it, and now I can do my own video editing right on my PC!" I retorted, "Yeah, at the expense of about 12 GB of hard disk space if you plan to bring the whole one hour online". He further countered me, "But, I can then transfer it back to digital video tape, recovering the hard disk space, project by project". Maybe so, but the bottom line is, he still needed the 12 GB of space or so, even if only temporarily to process his video edit project.
What about motion pictures increasingly making their debut on 4.3 GB-capacity DVDs? You may want to have your favorite movie online, capture a news broadcast or documentary via an internal TV tuner card. As real time streaming of multimedia takes on increasing prevalence, it is not at all unfathomable or unreasonable to see high-capacity systems appear in the near future. In order for us humans to perceive and appreciate such information streaming with a natural feeling and in real time (i.e., audio, video, animation, etc., without the 'jerkiness'), high storage capacity systems like perhaps two of these new IBM drives for a 50 GB system, will come. I am half-way there already at 26 GB. But then, since I accomplish that with three physical hard disks to achieve that capacity, it is not is efficient as having one of the new ones.
I don't have any information to provide on pricing at this time. However, some PC makers will be shipping with these drives and they are supposed to be available in time for Christmas. Among the PC makers taking delivery of these new drives are Gateway 2000 Inc., Hewlett Packard Co., and Micron Electronics Inc. IBM will also put the drives in its own machines. The drives will be available to distributors and resellers in the first quarter of 1999 for availability to the general public.[You can reach me at: email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or comments.]
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