hard drive history

size matters: especially when you can't get it

IBM Deskstar 2

Photo: Red Hill.

1996 Drive of the Year

IBM Deskstar 2

These magnificent drives were a showcase for IBM's great strength throughout the nineties, genuine leading-edge technology. The Deskstar 2 introduced the magneto-resistive head. This was a very significant advance which would eventually flow through to every hard drive made, but in 1996 only the Deskstar 2 had it. Because MR heads could read and write more data per square inch than thin-film heads, the drive could store more data with fewer parts, and because more data passed under the head each second, read it back at higher speed.

The Deskstar 2 was also surprisingly affordable. Best of all, it proved to be one of the three or four most reliable drives we had ever had in service. The only flaw the Deskstar 2 has IBM's occasional habit of running completely out of stock without telling anyone first. (As a retailer, this drives you to distraction. It really does make life very difficult.)

We sold 1.7GB Deskstar 2s by the bucket-load: to high-end buyers because of their performance, to budget buyers because of their low cost per MB, and to mission-critical buyers because of their outstanding reliability. As the best drive of 1996, the Deskstar 2 was the only possible choice.

Data rate62.1Mbit/secSpin rate4500 RPM
Seek time10msBuffer96k
Platter capacity850MBEncodingRLL?
Form3½" 1/3 heightInterfaceIDE mode 4
DJAA-312701.27GB3 MR heads
DJAA-317001.7GB4 MR heads*****