In search of a hard disk

It's been a while since I bought two identical 80Gb IBM hard disks for my desktop PC and it's been also a while since one of them died quite dramatically. Fortunately IBM hard disks make all these choking noises before the go to sleep so I was lucky enough to save all my data. I have replaced that fallen one with two hard disks (120Gb and 160Gb) this time from different manufacturers just in case something is wrong with one batch (or generation if you like). About eight months ago the second IBM drive started making some noises. Not all the time but quite often, I would hear this tinkering sound and the computer will slow down until the hard disk would retry to read the data. The only problem is that this is still my system disk and it would be a burden to re-install absolutely everything again. There's no problem of losing data, I have now backups of almost everything on two different hard disks and on several DVDs.

Recently, I have installed a very neat little utility called ActiveSMART which can be found here and it was really very useful as it tells you not only the changes in the hard disk's attributes (e.g. temperature, read error rate) but it gives you an estimated time of failure. According to ActiveSMART my hard disk was going to die in July '05, then the failure was brought forward to Feb '05, then suddenly this Sunday it told me bluntly that my hard disk is going to meet its maker in October '04. I have decided that I've seen enough and that I was going to need a new one very soon. As I have plenty of storage I decided that I only need an 80Gig one, however it did make sense to go for a 120Gb just because it was only 10-15 quid more expensive that the other ones.

After a couple of reviews that I read and judging from my own experience I went for a Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Plus (ST3120026A) which seemed to be the fastest, coolest and the one with the lowest noise level of the competition. I haven't received it yet but I will post a review when I install it. Fingers crossed. ;-)

After I placed my order for the new hard disk I started wondering how much storage space do I really have available on all of my PCs and laptops combined. And the anwer is a frightening half a Terrabyte! It is supposed that the magnetic media capacity doubles every two years. So let's do a simple calculation here:

In 1990 I had a 40Mb HD and 14 years later I have well over 500,000Mb not counting two dead hard disks lying on my bookcase selves worth another 100Gb :-) That is 12,500x more hard disk storage space than I had 14 years ago! The expected capacity growth is 2^7 in years, meaning that I should have had 40Mg * 2^7 = 5Gb of hard disk space in 2004. Who has a 5Gig hard disk these days and feels that they have space? Even mp3 players come with 40Gig drives built-in.

What we are experiencing therefore is a much faster growth than expected at least according to the experts. What we are experiencing is something near 2^14 growth in 14 years. What about the future then? According to the calculations above in 2018 I should have a personal computer with ... errr.... 0.5Terra * 12,500 = 6,250 Terrabytes = 6.2 Petabytes of HD space. I'd very much like to see that! :-)))


Unknown said…
Good choice, because Seagate is the only Hard Drive Company which gives you a 5 years warranty.

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