How-To Geek

The History of Digital Storage [Infographic]

From punch cards to hard drives to cloud based storage, how we stash our data away has changed quite a bit in the last century.

Courtesy of Mashable, we have an infographic detailing the evolution of storage and comparing storage size, speed, and prices over the decades. Hit up the link below for a higher resolution image.

The History of Digital Storage [Mashable]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/19/12

Comments (10)

  1. Michael

    Graphics like this drive me crazy. My job is supporting the cloud, but no one understands what it is. Putting something on the cloud is not some magical data storage device. It just means putting it on someone else’s storage device.

  2. Cody

    @Michael, I thought the same thing.

  3. Mister Know-IT-all(most)

    As far as the floppy disks go, this may be nit-picking since it’s hard to really tell, but the floppy disk I’m seeing looks a lot more like a more common 5.25-inch floppy. And that’s just from judging by the label on it which takes up the whole width. Point is, a floppy disk in 1976 was more likely to be either 8-inches or 10-inches in diameter and a peel-off label probably would not have spanned the whole width.

    I also seem to recall that these “high density” (1.2Meg) 5.25-inch floppy disks weren’t even commercially available until about the mid 80’s either. They never really took off since the more durable and more compact 3.5-inch varieties actually had a little more capacity first at 720K and then at 1.44meg (or a lot more capacity if you include the more rare 2.8GB varieties) too. That’s just a little “something” I didn’t even see mentioned that probably should have been, particularly since some people may still be using them (much like those zip disks or non-cassette tape drives).

  4. Storage Man

    And to continue Mister know-it-all debunking, Sony MDs held 650 MB of data because it was sonys response to phillips CD. ZIP was never more popular than CDs because ZIP disks were expensive and they didn’t replace floppies. SSDs are not the pinacle of data storage they are simply Flash memory applied in hard disk format. The biggest still are the plate drives.
    And more than a couple are missing from this list… But it’s a great list never the less.

  5. OldSalt

    Mister Know-IT all (almost)….the fine print below the floppy image states: “1.2 MB storage capacity was reached in 1982 with the HD Version.”

    I remember back in my main frame programming days of thinking the autofeed keypunch machine was a vast improvement to the individual hand fed ones… how times have changed….

  6. Larry Z

    Does anyone remember the 2″ floppy disc. Just like the 3.5″ floppies but smaller. I have an old laptop that uses the discs. They were almost impossible to obtain even when the laptop was new 20 years ago. I believe that similar discs were used in one of the first digital cameras released by Sony.

  7. jthelw

    Here’s hoping that price of solid-state drives continues to fall as past media have! (maybe in time for my next laptop purchase?)

  8. David


    How do you access cloud storage if it’s a fine day?

  9. r

    @ jthelw

    They will, be patient. I buy them regularly from my distributor & even with my discount they still
    need to come down much more. They will be very affordable once SSD drives are standard hardware in new systems.

  10. K


    har har…

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