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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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It cost how much?

6 November 2018

Yesterday I bought a new disk drive.

This wasn't one of those old spinny-roundy, hardy-disky, weary-outy old-fashioned mechanical drives. It was a shiny new SSD (Solid State Drive).

It's small, it's light, it uses bugger-all power and it's very fast.

But, more amazing than all that... was the price.

One nice thing about living in the past (as we older folk so often do) is that when it comes to matters of technology, we're ever-so pleasantly surprised when we discover just how advances in that technology allow so much to be delivered for so little cash.

As I have mentioned in the past, the first hard-drive I ever bought was an old Shugart 8-inch hard drive which stored a massive 8MB of data and sounded like a washing machine on spin cycle whenever it was powered up.

That drive cost over $10,000 NZ dollars back in about 1980. Uber expensive!

What's more, it chewed many, many watts of power and the efflux from the cooling fan would heat a small room very nicely in winter.

Of course drives got cheaper and cheaper from that point forwards and I recall buying a Morrow MD5 CP/M computer (with 5MB Seagate drive) for around $7K in the mid-1980s.

Of course these days we're all about Terabytes... none of those tiny megabytes or even gigabytes any more.

And the price...

Smack my gob!

I picked up a quarter-terabyte drive for just $79.

This wasn't a special deal or anything, it seems to be about the going rate for such drives on the retail market.

I'm not even going to bother doing the "bytes per buck" calculations but suffice to say that this is impressive stuff and for a small system running Linux, I see zero point in having an old "spinny-roundy" mechanical drive at all -- except for backups which I'll do onto a portable USB drive ($109 for 1.5TB)

Back in the 1980s I knew that data storage was always going to get cheaper as time went on but even in my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined it being as cheap or plentiful as it is today.

I'm sure many of us remember the old Seagate 20MB drives of the 1980s and how we got all excited when RLL controllers enabled us to squeeze an impressive 30MB onto their platters. Also use one of the compressing disk drivers (like Stacker or SuperStor) and you might have gotten as much as 50MB of stuff on those drives.

Bah... that's peanuts today.

If this drive works okay, I might just buy another to update the laptop as well and perhaps breathe some new life into it. Perhaps better sooner than later, since its little hard drive is starting to make an alarming ticking noise.

I love progress!

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