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They Just Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To… Thank God


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Alright, let’s play a game of ‘Guess the Ancient Tech’. What is this box on a forklift? Believe it or not, it’s not a washing machine, electric stove, refrigerator, or other kitchen appliance. Frankly, I think all those were much smaller than this by 1956, which is the date of this photograph. Give up? One more hint: you probably have one in your pocket right now.

Believe it or not, this is the HDD of IBM’s 305 RAMAC supercomputer – a device packing a HUGE FIVE MEGABYTES.

Yep. This box is dedicated to housing 5MB of data. And it weighs over a ton. You might, for instance, wish to store a single 5-minute MP3 at 128kbps? Perhaps half of a print-quality PDF? Back in the day, this could have been your unit.

In my left pocket right now, I’m holding 16 gigabytes, and chances are, you’ve probably got something similar. Technology rules.

  1. An IBM RAMAC 305 wasn’t a supercomputer – it wasn’t a supercomputer at all. It was a disk storage unit. They were attached to mainframes – faster than magnetic tapes but more expensive per megabyte. The first IBM supercomputer was the 7030 “Stretch” – IBM 7030 Stretch – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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