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In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first ‘SUPER’ computer 5MB data

In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first ‘SUPER’ computer 5MB data

‘In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first ‘SUPER’ computer with a hard disk drive (HDD). The HDD weighed over a ton and stored 5 MB of data.’ 

This is what a 5MB hard drive looked like in 1956 (note: required a forklift).

The IBM 305 RAMAC was the first commercial computer that used a moving-head hard disk drive (magnetic disk storage) for secondary storage.[1] The system was publicly announced on September 14, 1956,[2][3] with test units already installed at the U.S. Navy and at private corporations.[2] RAMAC stood for “Random Access Method of Accounting and Control”,[4] as its design was motivated by the need for real-time accounting in business.[5]

The first RAMAC to be used in the U.S. auto industry was installed at Chrysler‘s MOPAR Division in 1957. It replaced a hugetub file which was part of MOPAR’s parts inventory control and order processing system. The 305 was one of the lastvacuum tube computers that IBM built. It weighed over a ton. The IBM 350 disk system stored 5 million alphanumericcharacters recorded as 6 data bits, 1 parity bit and one space bit for 8 bits recorded per character.[6] It had fifty 24-inch-diameter (610 mm) disks. Two independent access arms moved up and down to select a disk, and in and out to select a recording track, all under servo control. Average time to locate a single record was 600 milliseconds. Several improved models were added in the 1950s. The IBM RAMAC 305 system with 350 disk storage leased for US$3,200 ($NaN as of 2016),[7] per month. More than 1,000 systems were built. Production ended in 1961; the RAMAC computer became obsolete in 1962 when the IBM 1405 Disk Storage Unit for the IBM 1401 was introduced, and the 305 was withdrawn in 1969.

One RAMAC storage disk showinghead crash damage

The original 305 RAMAC computer system could be housed in a room of about 9 m (30 ft) by 15 m (50 ft); the 350 disk storage unit measured around 1.5 square metres (16 sq ft). The first hard disk unit was shipped September 13, 1956.[8] The additional components of the computer were a card punch, a central processing unit, a power supply unit, an operator’s console/card reader unit, and a printer. There was also a manual inquiry station that allowed direct access to stored records. IBM touted the system as being able to store the equivalent of 64,000 punched cards.[5]

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Programming the 305 involved not only writing machine language instructions to be stored on the drum memory, but also almost every unit in the system (including the computer itself) could be programmed by inserting wire jumpers into a plugboard control panel.

During the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley (USA), IBM provided the first electronic data processing systems for the Games. The system featured an IBM RAMAC 305 computer, punched card data collection, and a central printing facility.

Currie Munce, research vice president for Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (which has acquired IBM’s hard disk drive business), stated in a Wall Street Journal interview[9] that the RAMAC unit weighed over a ton, had to be moved around with forklifts, and was delivered via large cargo airplanes. According to Munce, the storage capacity of the drive could have been increased beyond five megabytes, but IBM’s marketing department at that time was against a larger capacity drive, because they didn’t know how to sell a product with more storage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_305_RAMAC

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