Evolution of Memory

From Goliath to David, the USB is becoming more powerful as it becomes smaller.

USBs, memory cards and even our phones make it easy for us to store and transfer data, and they’re also easy to carry around too. Have you ever wondered what it was like back then? In 1980, the world’s first gigabyte capacity disk drive was made, the IBM 3380. The 2.52 GB was the size of a refrigerator and weighed 550 lbs. These days we can buy a 32 GB microSDHC card, which is so tiny it’s smaller than a dime.

Selectron Tube, originally developed in 1946 the tube had a capacity of 256 to 4096 bits (32 to 512 bytes), it was 10 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Punch Cards, these were used for input of both programs and data. These were used as early as 1725 until the mid-1970s. The punch card had 960 bits memory capacity.

Paper Tape, (1846-1990s) similar to punch cards, they contained patterns of holes to represent recorded data. Each row on the tape represented one character, and could feed much more data in one continuous stream.

Magnetic drum memory, invented on 1932, Austria, it was widely used in the 1950s and 60s as the main working memory of computers. In the mid-1950s, it had a memory capacity of around 10 kb.

Hard Disk Drive, the first was the IBM Model 350 Disk File which came with the IBM 305 RAMAC computer in 1956. It had 50 24 inch discs with a total storage capacity of 5 million characters.

Laserdisc, it was first commercially available as a system in the late 1978, it was 11.81 Inc (30 cm –a DVD of today measures only 12 cm, which followed in 1995) in diameter. It can have a capacity of 60 minutes of audio/video on each side. But the basic technology behind the laserdisc was invented in 1958.

Floppy disc or the diskette was invented by IBM and introduced in 1971. The earliest was developed in the late 1960s, and were 8 inches in diameter and was followed by the 5 ¼ and 3 1/2 inch size. The floppy disks could hold about 1.2 MB memory.

Compact Disc, or CD for short, is an optical disc used to store digital data (originally used to store and play back sound recordings), later developed for storage of data, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, VCD, SVCD, PhotoCD, PictureCD, CD-i and Enhanced CD. Audio CDs and Audio CD players have been commercially available since 1982.

Memory Card, an electronic flash memory data storage device, which are commonly used in many electronic devices (digital cameras, mobile phones, laptop, Mp3 players, and video game consoles. They are conveniently small, recordable and able to retain data without power. PC Cards (PCMCIA) was among first commercial memory card formats to come out in the 1990s.  SD Cards, appeared in early 2000, early SD cards were limited to just 32MB and 64MB, but developed to 32GB in high capacity. Furthermore, a new SDXC (extended capacity) is expected to feature 2TB memory capacity.

Portable Hard Drive, Prairie Tek may claim as the first to offer a 2.5 inch hard drive designed for the notebook in 1988. Many portable drives come with some kind of automatic or push-button backup solution, with capacities reaching as high as 1 TB.

USB includes a flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus interface. They are removable and rewritable, and much smaller than the floppy disk or portable hard drive and weigh less than 30 Gms. Trek and IBM began selling the first USB flash drives commercially in 2000.

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