Can you guess what is this?
It’s a hard disk in 1956. The Volume and Size of 5MB memory storage in 1956.
In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first computer with a hard disk drive (HDD). The HDD weighed over a ton and stored 5MB of data.
Makes you appreciate your 4 GB USB drive, doesn’t it?
The picture above is the IBM 350 disk storage unit utilized by the IBM 305 RAMAC:
The 350 Disk Storage Unit consisted of the magnetic disk memory unit with its access mechanism, the electronic and pneumatic controls for the access mechanism, and a small air compressor. Assembled with covers, the 350 was 60 inches long, 68 inches high and 29 inches deep. It was configured with 50 magnetic disks containing 50,000 sectors, each of which held 100 alphanumeric characters, for a capacity of 5 million characters.
Disks rotated at 1,200 rpm, tracks (20 to the inch) were recorded at up to 100 bits per inch, and typical head-to-disk spacing was 800 microinches. The execution of a “seek” instruction positioned a read-write head to the track that contained the desired sector and selected the sector for a later read or write operation. Seek time averaged about 600 milliseconds.
With storage capacities of 5 million and 10 million digits, and the capability to be installed either singly or in pairs, the 350 provided the 305 system with storage capacities of 5, 10, 15 or 20 million characters.
An IBM RAMAC 305 with a 350 disk storage unit leased for about $3,200 per month back in 1957. Over a thousand of the 305 systems (one of IBM’s last vacuum tube units) were manufactured before production ended in 1961, and the 305 was withdrawn in 1969.