Computer Data Storage Technology Improvement in 12 Years

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Mine was cassette tape.
My first computer was a Commodore 64 with cassette storage.

Storage has come quite a ways over the years
I've occasionally wondered about how much storage is used by different things. The amount of total storage used worldwide is probably an incredibly big number. I'm a big youtube user and I've often thought that they must be using a whole lot of hard drive space. I went through a big progression of hard drives over my life so I've always been interested in them, I've read some of the writings of backblaze and that is also interesting. They likely have a pretty astounding amount of storage themselves.

Actually I think the amount of files I have saved on hard drives is pretty incredible. I have owned a lot of different computers and used a lot of different computers for work. I had files saved on floppy disks, CDs, zip drives, portable hard drives. About 7 years ago I put a 3TB drive in my desktop computer and copied all of my files to it, then spent a lot of time merging folders and deleting duplicates. At the end of that I had almost 2TB of files. For about 4 years after I was able to backup using external 2TB drives. When I went beyond 2TB I bought a 4TB drive. I'm sure I have a lot of files that aren't of interest to anybody else, and a lot of files that I likely won't ever open again. If only I knew which ones those were.
OK, while we are doing “old guy my first computer was” stories, my friend in college had a Tandy CoCo, with a cassette tape drive, but I resisted buying a computer until 1991. I bought a 286-12 clone with a 5.25” floppy drive, MS-DOS 3.3, 1 meg of RAM (640K and 384K “extended” memory), and a huge 40 megabyte hard drive. The 40 megger was partitioned into a 30 mb drive and a 10 mb drive because DOS could not address a drive larger than about 30 mb.

It came with a VGA monitor.

I ran “Empire: Wargame of the Century” and WordPerfect on this rig. I thought I was styling. The computer and monitor cost about $1,200. That was more than I paid for my car (1972 orange Super Beetle).
I still play Empire.
It was retired when I saw it, but when I was in college a housemate had an obsolete 4k drum memory that was the size of an ottoman. It had very good bearings and he was planning to make a really good turntable with it. We also had a PDP-1 in the house, but it never recovered from being disassembled and reassembled. It made a fine, powerful room heater, though, if you could stand the noise from the fan bearings, which were probably getting pretty tired. People tried to give it away, but no one wanted it. The Computer Museum already had one. We took it apart and used it for various things. I still have a small panel from it that I've used as a sanding block, and I used to charge my car's battery with one of the power supplies. A few beer-can sized capacitors made it into a very high end stereo that a housemate concocted. Another housemate made a furnace built into one of the racks for melting metal to cast. No component of that computer was too small to be seen by eye, though if you weren't really nearsighted, a magnifying glass would have helped for looking at the memory cores. I think it was from 1963, and was said to have been capable of running Spacewar. At one point, I think a guy put a narrow mattress on top and was using it like a bunk bed. It was quite large, big enough for two guys to do that end to end.
My 1st PC (?) was a Commodore Plus/4 in 1985.
I actually purchased it for my little sister; but I had it for several months to test it out and to famarilise I myself with it. I soon learned that I needed a disk drive versus the cassette tape player, so I bought one.

I think she played with it once and it spent the rest of its life in her closet.

6 years later, she gave it back to me. I kept it for awhile and gave it to some guy for free.
Tandy TRS-80 that my wife and I bought while we were both in graduate school, along with its groundbreaking cassette storage.

Capacity is one thing that has advanced significantly since the early days, but how about transfer rates? SATA 1.0 could transfer at an amazing (at the time) speed of 150 MB/s. Many of today's NVMe SSDs are running at PCIe4 speeds, which for a x4 interconnect means a transfer rate of 8 GB/s, and some are at PCIe5, which is 2x that rate.

What an amazing time to live and see these advancements!
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