IBM Deskstar 4

Photo: Red Hill.

Drives of 1998

1998 was a much more varied year than 1997. Where we had sold little else besides IBM drives the year before, in '98 we saw a lot of Western Digitals come through the workshop, and also a very welcome return to the mainstream market by Seagate.

1998 was a very important transitional year in another way too: most of the technologies that would dominate and shape the storage market for most of the decade to come were just becoming available for the first time: higher spin-rates, GMR heads, renewed emphasis on shock resistance and reliability, higher areal density and most of all massive, affordable capacity.

In a way, 1998 was the last "traditional" hard drive year — it seemed little different to 1997 or even 1995, and yet the changes that 1998 brought in were to revolutionise the way the worls stored its data.