Saturday, 12 March 2011

Tracking the astounding pace of digital storage

Tracking the astounding pace of digital storage

Ivan Smith maintains a page tracking the price of digital storage over the years. This is one of technology's least appreciated growth stories -- we hear a lot about Moore's Law and the doubling of processing capacity, but storage-density's growth makes the pace of processor improvements look glacial. Every now and then I realize that the 32GB SD card in my camera costs less than the 16k memory upgrade I put in my Apple ][+ in 1980, even without accounting for inflation, and I am croggled. Here are David Isenberg's benchmarks, calculated from Smith's records:
YEAR -- Price of a Gigabyte1981 -- $300,000
1987 -- $50,000
1990 -- $10,000
1994 -- $1000
1997 -- $100
2000 -- $10
2004 -- $1
2010 -- $0.10
It would be interesting to do the same chart for a megabyte -- you'd go from six figures to fractional pennies in a damned short period.
Cost of Hard Drive Storage Space (via

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