Practical Technology

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Good-bye hard drive? Will PC hard-disks die next year?


I’m old enough to remember when some of the first hard drives, such as the IBM Winchester-two disks with 30MBs each, hence 30/30, thus Winchester after the 30/30 rifle-showed up. I can also recall using cassette-tapes and 8-inch floppy disks on PCs. I’ve met people in their twenties who are unclear about what cassette-tapes are exactly and floppy disks are rapidly falling away from our collective memory. Now, it looks like hard-drives will soon be following them into history’s dustbin.

Sound impossible? Actually it’s all too possible. SSD (Solid State Drives) have gone from being small and pricey to being roomy and affordable. At the year’s beginning, you could only find 4 and 8GB SSDs on inexpensive, Linux-powered netbooks or a 64GB SSD on the expensive Rolls-Royce of laptops, the Macbook Air.

As 2008 comes to a close though. It’s a different story. The drives are getting bigger and cheaper. 128GB drives are now common, 256GBs are on their way, and Toshiba will soon be selling 512GB drives.

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