Hard drives – how much storage is too much?

10MB Hard Drive

I came across this old ad for a hard drive back in the day (not entirely sure of the year – any ideas?). Billed as the ‘Hard disk you’ve been waiting for’ it is a whopping 10Mb, for the bargain price of just $3,398 (about £2,130 at today’s exchange rate). That translates to a whopping £213 per megabyte!

Today you would struggle to spend more than £50 on a 1TB drive (such as this Hitachi Deskstar for this £42.48) – that’s 1 million megabytes! If you bought that much storage at the time this advert was made it would have cost you £213,000,000.

According to Moore’s Law, computer power doubles approximately every 18 months (something to do with the amount of transistors you can fit on an integrated circuit – see here for the full techie explanation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore’s_law). So you should expect that by next summer, you could buy the same 1TB drive for less than £25.

But do you really need all this storage? Are you ever going to fill up a 1TB drive? In a word, yes. Think about it, the way you use your computer changes every year, with operating systems and applications getting more sophisticated every day. And with PCs increasingly being used as home media centres, storing all your music, films and TV shows, the amount of storage you need is likely to grow very fast indeed.

Still cynical? Here’s an example from yours truly. In 2007 I bought my first iMac (the 1st gen aluminium ones – gorgeous), which came with a 320GB hard drive. Plenty of storage for the time, but I knew it wouldn’t last (it was replacing a PC desktop with an 80GB drive, which was now full). Just as I thought, within 6 months I’d filled the iMac and had to make the life-threatening decision of upgrading one of Steve Job’s greatest creations (invalidating the warranty I might add). I tell you, even for someone used to building their own PCs, pulling the glass screen off an iMac with a plunger is still a terrifying experience… Anyway, screen off, I upgraded the drive to 1TB (which cost me over £150 back then by the way).  Loads! But I filled that too. I’m now running a 2TB drive in the same iMac and am at 70% capacity already…

So if you want to take the plunge and invest in more storage, now would certainly be a good time to do it. If you buy any Hitachi hard drive from us before December 31st, you will be in with a chance of winning Samsung’s Android-powered iPad killer, the Galaxy Tab!

And when you get it home, check out Sam’s excellent guide on how to install your new drive: http://www.dabs.com/blog/index.php/2010/10/27/401/

Oh, and if you’re unlucky enough (or lucky enough, depending on your view) to be embarking on this process on an iMac, check out this video guide. But be warned, this is not for the faint hearted and will invalidate your warranty.Video Guide

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