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What to do with a 20 MB 10LBS brick Answered

Hey guys. I was treasure hunting at the Recycle Reuse the other day and I found something interesting. It's a 20MB external harddrive that weighs ~10LBS. It's ridiculous, and it's formatted to be used with a //portable computer//! Crazy, you'll need a backpack for this thing. Anyway, I bought it (2$) to take apart and see why so much space was needed. It probably works, seeing as how it is still in its original wrapping. But does anyone have any ideas about what to do with this thing before I destroy it? Maybe it's more valuable intact, maybe you know what parts are neat in it. What should I do with this monster? -BG



10 years ago

Too bad it's a 5 inch drive. There'a s serious shortage in the world of hard disk platter collections of platters in between 5 and 14 inches. Tear out the guts and replace them with a 1G flash-drive guts...

Wow, I've never even heard of HD's that size. /me laughs, it'd be sweet to have a memory stick that size, I've lost so many!

Most mainframes used 14-inch removable disk packs (a standard set in1962 by the IBM1311, according to wikipedia). I've got some of those. Capacity tended to run up to about 1GB (on like a DOZEN platters!), but was usually in the 300MB range. These were the famous "size of a washing machine" drives. In the early 1980s Fujitsu did a drive with 10.5inch platters that held about 400MB and fit in a foot or so of standard rack space. Standford made a HUGE file server (labrea.stanford.edu) with ten of these; a whopping 4GB! As personal computers and workstations started to catch on, smaller drives became available - someone did a drive with 8-inch platters; I don't recall who. I think those appeared in some early unix workstations. The first drive I saw for an IBM PC was a 5MB external drive somewhat smaller than your paperweight, with 5.25inch platters; the 5.25 inch drives lasted quite a while. I had a 15MB HPIB drive in that format for my HP150, and a 40MB drive in my first IBM compatible (a 286.) Your drive is probably from that era; early to mid 1980s. IMO, none of the advances in computer technology has been quite so mind-boggling as the advances in disk technology. (ie performance wise, application complexity has kept advances in cpu speed from being nearly as obvious as you might think they'd be. And even so, CPU speed has gone up by a factor of about 1000 (4MHz to 4GHz), while disk storage has gone up by a factor of about 100,000 (5MB to 500GB.)

A really effective paper weight? Door stop?

I think I still have my old 10 MB MFM full height hard drive and yeah, it was that big and heavy LOL