The one thing that you can bet on in the technology world is change, and usually rapid change. For over 40 years we have relied on Moore’s Law to guide us in the area of computer speed. In a nutshell Moore’s Law dictates that every 18 months the number of components you can squish onto a given area of silicon will double, the effect on a CPU is to double it’s speed. Although Hard Drive technology is not based on silicon, a phenomenon very similar to Moore’s Law applies. A little less than every 18 months the amount of data you can store on a given area of disk platter doubles.

Right now hard drive manufacturers have the capability of storing about 200 Gigabytes in one square inch of disk surface. For the technically challenged that is almost 300 CD’s worth of music!

Western Digital, one of the leading hard drive manufacturers has announced that it has created the technology for 520 Gigabytes per square inch, or about 700 CD’s! Western Digital expects to have this in the stores by 2010, and will mean that we will be buying computers with a hard drive capacity of 3 Terabytes. In layman’s terms that’s enough room to store over 700 DVD quality full length movies! All this in something not much bigger than a packet of cigarettes.

When is it enough? The answer is never. We will continue to find new and innovative ways of filling it up. Movies, TV shows, and every piece of music ever recorded!

Although no pricing information is available, you can bet that this new technology will follow the familiar format of costing $400 when it first comes out, and will cost around $100 within two years!

IBM was the inventor of the hard drive, and back in the mid 60’s a 5 megabyte (that’s the equivalent of three floppy disks) cost around $75,000, when IBM released the PC-XT in 1982, that same 5 megabytes cost around $1000, today that 5 megabytes costs a couple of pennies! Boy what a difference a few decades makes.

Simon Barrett

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