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Word Count: 995
Even before the first commercial computers appeared in 1951 mass storage although minuscule by todays standards was a necessity As early as the mid-1800s punch cards were used to provide input to early calculators and other machines The 1940s ushered in the decade when vacuum tubes were used for storage until finally tape drives started to replace punch cards in the early 1950s Only a couple of years later magnetic drums appeared on the scene In 1957 the first hard drive was introduced as a component of IBMs RAMAC 350 It required 50 24-inch disks to store five megabytes of data and cost roughly 35000 For years hard disk drives were confined to mainframe and minicomputer installations Vast disk farms of giant 14 and 8 inch drives costing tens of thousands of dollars each buzzed away in the air conditioned isolation of corporate data centers The personal computer revolution in the early 1980s changed all that ushering in the introduction of the first small hard disk drives The first 525-inch hard disk drives packed 5 to 10 MB of storage the equivalent of 2500 to 5000 pages of double-spaced typed information into a device the size of a small shoebox At the time a storage capacity of 10 MB was considered too large for a so-called personal computer The first PCs used removable floppy disks as storage devices almost exclusively The term floppy accurately fit the earliest 8-inch PC diskettes and the 525-inch diskettes that succeeded them The inner disk that holds the data usually is made of Mylar and coated with a magnetic oxide and the outer plastic cover bends easily The inner disk of todays smaller 35-inch floppies is similarly constructed but they are housed in a rigid plastic case which is much more durable than the flexible covering on the larger diskettes With the introduction of the IBM PCXT in 1983 hard disk drives also became
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