Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Prediction: First Consumer Petabyte Hard Drive?

The first hard drive I owned came with my Amiga 1200, circa 1990. It held 40 megabytes of data, and I believe it was a $500 option. Yes, I said option. The computer happily ran on floppy disks alone, if you so desired. You had to load the OS off of floppy first, then load your programs from other disks. The A1200 came with 2MB of ram, but I loaded it up with an additional 16MB of RAM, costing a healthy $800. That is just sick.

Back to the subject of hard drives. Here is a rough time line for the consumer hard drive. By "consumer", I mean something that fits in a desktop PC form factor that is in the price range for an average consumer.

1980 5MB ~$1,000.00
1992 1GB ~$1,000.00 (1 gigabyte ~ 1000 megabyte)
2007 1TB ~$300.00 (1 terabyte ~ 1000 gigabyte, or 1 million megabyte)
???? 1PB ???? (1 petabyte ~ 1000 terabyte, or 1 million gigabyte)
???? 1EB ???? (1 exabyte ~ 1000 petabyte, or 1 million terabyte)
???? 1ZB ???? (1 zetabyte ~ 1000 exabyte, or 1 million petabyte)
???? 1YB ???? (1 yottabyte ~ 1000 zetabyte, or 1 million exabyte)

The timeline between 5MB and 1GB drives was 12 years.
The timeline between 1GB and 1TB drives was 15 years.
Notice the price drop!

So let's hear the predictions. When will the first consumer-ready petabyte drive be available, and what will the average cost be? How aboute exabyte? Zetabyte? Yottabyte?

A Yottabyte is a tough one to grasp. That is ONE TRILLION terabytes. Do you think storage space, or personal computing as we know it, will end at some point, long before these outrageous sizes are a reality?

If history is any indication, the petabyte drive should arrive in 12-15 years, and average $300 or less. I think it will much sooner, cut that time down to about 8 years. The $300 price is probably close.

I also think solid-state disk storage will become the norm, seeing hard drive platters die like the video tape did.


Darvin said...

One thing that will not die as technology advanced. The idiots that sell you it at the stores saying things like . "1(GB/TB/PB/EB...) is so BIG you'll NEVER fill it up!"

BS!... I have over a TB of junk i need to trim already!

Charles Edward Owens Jr. said...

There is likely over a few thousand to close to a million PB of information floating about that is non-repeating. With so many people creating so much content it'll only expand till a coronal mass ejection wipes out some of it, or someone starts nuking others. So as you say 8 years, I'd figure less if they could break DNA coding as a storage device. Soon I hope.

Bill said...

Once it is developed, in the next few years, the Petabyte drive will really take off and be offered for an affordable price once software developers start developing applications that need that much client storage. I can envision huge, mega massive, multiplayer role playing games with landscapes as large as the earth is and real-time weather and climate effects without zones and with hundreds of thousands of players throughout the world, running on servers with these drives and hundreds of gigabytes of RAM.

Jason said...

I think petabyte drives depend on fundamentally different hard drive technology than the current magnetic drives. Once holographic storage becomes a reality we may quickly see petabyte storage drives. The same evolution will happen with computer processing power when quantum and/or light based processors come around.

Digital Dan said...

Okay I have been thinking about it for years now. I have predictions about the future. 10^27 Quantum computable bytes this century for around the price of a car. Memristors create awareness and surpassing intelligence by 2021. Economy is radically transformed.

onkelarie said...

Yes, in time we will need much more storagespace per person, but it's the question if it needs to be locally. When 3D technology really takes a flight, and media like textures are getting larger with more GPU power, the demand will increase. On top of that, metaverses (MMORPG, social platforms, etc) will become more and more realistic with given technology.