Reflecting on the price of storage

I was shopping on eBay over the weekend for a new internal hard drive for my rapidly aging PowerMac G5. It’s got two drives in it now – the 150-gig drive that came with the computer when I bought it in November of 2003, and a 320-gig drive I bought to replace it as the computer’s main drive a couple of years ago. I’ve been looking for something to replace the 150-gig drive with, since I’ve discovered the miracle of streaming ripped DVDs to my Playstation 3 downstairs and video files do enjoy their space…

So I was poking around on eBay to see what I could find, and I ran across a 1.5-terabyte drive for $140. The size and the price made me reflect on the time I bought a new hard drive for my ZEOS-made 486 back in college, and I was floored at the thought of what 1.5 terabytes of hard drive space would have set me back not even 15 years ago now.

I recall gleefully going into Circuit City in Topeka, Kan., and plopping down $220 for a 1.2-gigabyte drive, thinking that beast was the biggest hard drive I’d ever need. That comes out to about $183 a gigabyte; at that rate the drive I almost bought on eBay this weekend would’ve cost me $275,000 (two hundred and seventy five thousand dollars) in 1997.

Technology and progress are amazing things, and the speed at which computers have progressed in the last decade has been astonishing. It’s even more amazing that my damn near six-year-old G5 is even still useful. I love that machine.

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