This article remembers key events that have shaped Wall Street history.
International Business Machines
One of the key events in IBM's market-thrashing transformation into a modern computing pioneer took place on this day in 1958. IBM's 305 RAMAC, the first "supercomputer" with its own 3.75 megabyte internal hard disk drive (also a first), was revealed to the public on Sept. 13, 1958. The IBM 350 disk storage unit contained 50 magnetic disks that could spin at 1,200 revolutions per minute, with an average data retrieval time of 600 milliseconds. It was so large it had to be moved by forklift.
The 305 RAMAC was rented to businesses in need of real-time accounting for a monthly fee of $3,200, which would amount to approximately $305,000 per year in current dollars. IBM built more than 1,000 of these systems between 1958 and 1961. In 1962, at full utilization, the RAMACs would have contributed only about 1.5% of IBM's total revenue.
The internal hard disk IBM pioneered -- along with the integrated circuit first demonstrated by a Texas Instruments
|Physical Size||60 in. x 68 in. x 29 in.||1 in. x 4 in. x 5.8 in.||See Below|
|Total Displacement||821.67 cu. feet||23.2 cu. inches||99.98% decrease|
|Drive Space||3.75 megabytes||3 terabytes||83,885,980% increase|
|Disk Speed||1,200 rpm||7,200 rpm||500% increase|
|Data Seek Time||600 milliseconds||9 milliseconds||98.5% decrease|
|Cost (1 year)*||$38,400||$150||99.6% decrease|
Source: IBM and Seagate press releases. *Not adjusted for inflation.
We often talk about the Moore's Law of microprocessors when it comes to the incredible pace of computing improvements, but it's easy to forget just how critical data storage has been as well. Today, five of the Dow's components -- IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Cisco Systems
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