Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hitachi introduces the last hard drive you'll ever need. Maybe.

A lot less than a million years ago, I debated whether to spend an extra $200 to get a 40meg (not gig) hard drive instead of a 20meg. The RadioShack salesman pointed out that if I got the 40, it would last me the rest of my life, because I'd never fill it up.

He was wrong.

A few years later, when I gave electronics advice on Compuserve (a pre-web online community that was once bigger than AOL), people laughed when I told them to "think gigs, not megs."

I was right.

It wasn't that long ago, that one-gigabyte drives first came down to $1000; yet at last week's Consumer Electronics Show, Hitachi introduced a $399 hard drive that holds 1 terabyte of data. That's the equivalent of ONE THOUSAND GIGABYTES (one trillion bytes).

The drive, called the Deskstar 7K1000, can hold 250,000 MP3 songs, 500 standard-definition movies, or 125 high-definition movies.

A PC-oriented version of the drive will be available within a few months, and later this year, Hitachi will introduce a version for manufacturers of DVRs, digital jukeboxes and set-top boxes.

The first hard drive, made by IBM, shipped in 1956. Hitachi notes it took the industry 35 years to reach 1GB (in 1991), 14 years more to reach 500GB (in 2005), and just two more years to reach 1TB.

Some salesman will probably tell you that a 1TB drive will last the rest of your life, because you'll never fill it up. Don't believe him.

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