On Golden Prong: History of Storage Devices

You know we love the retro tech around these parts, so it is impossible to resist Royal Pingdom's collection of now-ancient computer storage technology, like this Selectron vacuum tube that could hold up to a full 512 bytes of data when plunged directly into the exposed brain of a screaming test subject. The history of computer data storage, in pictures [Royal.Pingdom.com]
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9 Responses to On Golden Prong: History of Storage Devices

  1. jacksoncj1 says:

    My dad worked for IBM for his whole career. For part of that time (maybe in the 60s or early 70s?) he was one of the few trained engineers specializing in BUBBLE MEMORY (on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_memory).

  2. Takuan says:

    are vacuum tubes resistant to EMP?

  3. willibro says:

    Your caption wittily encapsulates both the weaponlike appearance of the Selectron and the cheesy scifi ambiance of the historical period during which it was produced. Well played, sir, well played.

  4. anthropomorphictoast says:

    @ #3: Yep. So if you want to build a giant robot that is resistant to EMP from, oh..say a missile capped with a nuclear warhead, vacuum tubes are the way to go. :D

  5. dculberson says:

    Some IC’s are more EMP resistant than others, too. A lot of it (but not all) depends on the density – more dense is worse.

    Well, and it obviously depends on the EMP strength.

    Put your robot’s control circuitry in a Faraday cage, though, and you’re good!

  6. roguecnidarian says:

    I saw one of the old mini-fridge-sized HDDs in the German Museum of Industry, last January. I don’t recall seeing any stats about the HDD’s size, but it was a super-amusing 70s plastic color. (http://flickr.com/photos/klitaka/1430915098/in/set-72157602127630059/)

  7. SXA says:

    They should have called it a “Memnotron”.

    The vacuum tube will NEVER die! Really, hi power switching applications using tubes are cheaper and SMALLER than ss–this is cause a plasma can conduct power densities that would turn any semiconductor to, well, plasma.

    Wikipedia has great vac tube pages. For modern tube info, search “holotron” or “crossatron” very interesting developements.

  8. jayessell says:

    I need 16 of those for my giant robot army!

    512 bytes or 512 bits?


    I started working with computers in the chip era, although I still use tubes for analog. I recall my first micro, a 6502 8 bit processor running at a screaming 1mhz. Adding 4K of RAM (2114LS3 chips, IIRC) cost about $110.

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