Ever wonder how big hard drives can get? Storage capacity limitations have increased in leaps and bounds since the advent of computing in the 80’s. Back then, you were stuck with boxes and boxes of 1.44MB “floppy” disks, each roughly the size of an average passport. Your internal hard drives weren’t much better: 100MB hard drives were the latest greatest invention and would drive your tech nerd friends wild with envy. Of course back then you didn’t need that much storage… there was no internet and no peer to peer sharing to put the strain on your storage capacity. Even games were nice and compact and could easily fit on one measly floppy. With the 90’s came fast internet, IRC file sharing, and newsgroups. Tech nerds with the savvy and know-how suddenly had access to vast stores of games, music, movies, TV shows, you name it. So the storage capacity field met their demands with recordable CDs and then DVDs, with 700MB and 4.5 GB worth of storage respectively. Discs were also more compact and easily manageable, and huge spindles of discs soon cluttered the rooms of nerds far and wide. Discs were accompanied by larger hard drives with 200GB capacity and more becoming the norm as demand drove prices down.
Enter the 2000’s, and the wonderful wonderful world of torrents. Although tech nerds did have the monopoly on torrents early on, everyone else eventually caught on and started downloaded gigabytes and gigabytes of free stuff. Again the storage capacity nerds delivered, with even larger internal hard drives breaking the 1TB (~1000GB) barrier, and even portable external USB hard drives you could take to your friend’s place with similar amounts of capacity. Nowadays 2TB hard drives are relatively affordable, even if (sadly) governments are cracking down on torrent usage.
Now, HGST (formerly part of Hitachi) are getting ready to release the Ultrastar Archive He10, which features a whopping 10TB of storage in a standard 3.5″ internal HDD. The cool thing about this hard drive is that it uses Helium gas within its internal workings in order to improve many facets of its operation. Generally hard drives have normal air rushing around their internal mechanisms, and this leads to many limitations on hard drive components. These are caused by the fact that air is dense and corrosive, meaning that the components inside hard drives have to be tough enough to withstand turbulence, and are limited in how fast they can turn (RPM). Helium is a fraction of the density of air, and this significantly reduces these issues and limitations. Combined with the other cool technological breakthrough in the Ultrastar Archive He10, shingled magnetic recording (SMR), HGST is able to offer you the largest standard size hard drive available today.