hard drive history

size still matters: is there ever enough?

IBM Deskstar 8

IBM Deskstar 8

A landmark drive from IBM which sold in tiny numbers. Released just after the record-breaking Travelstar 5GS notebook drive, the Deskstar 8 was the first 8GB IDE drive — easily the biggest and almost the fastest IDE drive money could buy. IBM's then-new Magneto-Resistive Extended (MRX) head technology allowed a new world-record areal density of 1.74 GBits/sq. in.

These were never a major seller, however, simply because the market was not yet ready for 8GB drives in any significant volume — certainly not at the price that these started out at. When the Deskstar 8 came out, the most popular capacity points were 2.1 and 3.2GB, with 4.3GB drives just starting to sell. By the time prices had dropped and the market was ready to buy 8GB drives in quantity, there were even bigger and much faster drives available — not least due to IBM's still more efficient Giant Magneto-Resistive head technology — and the Deskstar 8 remained a very rare drive.

We sometimes wonder if this was just a local thing — we are in a small country town, after all — or if the Deskstar 8 was a very expensive loss maker for IBM that didn't come close to repaying its development costs. Perhaps, to take a longer view, this didn't matter. Before too long, every hard drive made by any manufacturer would use GMR head technology, so it seems reasonable to view some losses along the way as justified.

Performance1.08Reliabilityno data
Data rate127.4 Mbit/secSpin rate5400 RPM
Seek time9.5msBuffer512k
Platter capacity2.1GBInterfaceATA-33
Read channelPRMLHead technologyMRX
DHEA-384518.45GB8 heads