Carpe Diem

Infomation Age 2.0: The Cost of Hard Disk Space Has Decreased by Almost 1.5M Times Since 1980

Here’s a website that documents the amazing drop over time in the cost of hard drive storage space, via Craig Newmark who aptly refers to this phenomenon as “one of the economic and technological wonders of our time.”

The chart above (available here with detailed price and hard drive data) shows graphically the almost 1,500,000X reduction in the cost of hard disk space over the last thirty years (not adjusted for inflation), from $100,000 per gigabyte in 1980 to only $0.07 by 2009.  At that rate, “hard disk space per unit cost has doubled roughly every 14 months,” according to the link above. 

This “technological wonder” of cheaper and cheaper costs of storing information is part of Information Age 2.0, which started with the commercial introduction of the microchip by Intel in 1971.  To put this all in perspective, the first Information Age 1.0 started with the introduction of the printing press in the 15th century, which lowered the cost of reproducing and storing information by about 1,000X.  

In a related CD post in 2007, I wrote about the 33,333X increase in the speed of Intel microprocessors from 108 KHz in 1971 to 3.6 GHz in 2007 (Pentium 4), and that’s not adjusting for prices.  I also had a post last year comparing a 1984 Apple Macintosh to a 2009 Apple iMac, which is almost 2,000 times cheaper for processing speed (real $ per CPU) and 162,000 times cheaper for memory (real $ per RAM).  

HT: Lee Coppock

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