[ Retro Scan of the Week ] 100 Megabytes: $45,700

September 24th, 2007 by Benj Edwards
Morrow Designs Hard Disk Advertisement

This isn’t the first time VC&G has featured an expensive vintage hard disk, and it should be no surprise to any computer user that computer storage media prices have been decreasing in price exponentially since they were invented. But it’s still fun to marvel at the former cost of what we take for granted today.

Take this ad for a 10 megabyte Morrow Designs Winchester disk drive: the lowest capacity unit sold for $3,695 (US), which is equivalent to $8,451.63 in 2007 dollars. The ad says you could bundle together four of their 26 megabyte hard drives for a total of 104 megabytes. The cost? $19,980, which translates to a stunning $45,700.57 in 2007 dollars. To put that into perspective, $45,700 could buy you roughly 120 terabytes of consumer-level hard drive storage today — 1,153,846 times more space than in 1981.

Nowadays you can sneeze and blow 104 megabytes off into space without realizing it. In 1981, 104 megabytes could crush you to death.

[ From BYTE, January 1981 ]

If you use this image on your site, please support “Retro Scan of the Week” by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

6 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] 100 Megabytes: $45,700”

  1. Kitsunexus Says:

    Wow, if 1981 games were hydrgoen atoms, that HD could hold the sun. 0_0

    And it’d be just about as expensive as buying the sun to boot.

  2. Stimie Says:

    I found this box of computer junk today at work and it had that 10 MB drive inside of it.

  3. Geoff V. Says:

    Less than $200 per megabyte? Talk about a steal! Good thing “volume discounts” are available. Then again, why would you need more than 104MB?

  4. Benj Edwards Says:

    That’s a very good question, Geoff. A big database, perhaps? There were probably at least a few companies or institutions using more than 104 megabytes in 1981. In that case, they’d probably buy the big, industrial removable hard disk units, which were slightly cheaper per megabyte.

  5. Cinematech Says:

    So lets see here, at that bulk cost my 1 TB setup would cost around $457,005,700 with the adjusted inflation. It ran me around $350. Yep, I’m glad I don’t live in 1981.

  6. Cody Says:

    In 2007 you wrote $45,700 could buy you roughly 120 terabytes of consumer-level hard drive storage today.

    Now it’s early 2011 and it would buy you roughly 923 terabytes (at $99 per 2TB disk, or even cheaper). That’s almost doubling every year. Nice (though, who doesn’t wish it would double faster!)

Leave a Reply