Author Topic: Winchester Drive  (Read 2993 times)

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Offline Ripley

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Winchester Drive
« on: July 01, 2006, 03:56:07 PM »
Was checking out some info on the costs of RAM memory/hard drives and came upon this page that gives a person more than they would EVER want to know about this, but found this notation about the Winchester rifle: :Win73:  :Win73:

1956 October 29 — The first hard disk drive is born at IBM. The original was the size of two refrigerators and held 5 megabytes of data at a cost of about $10,000 per megabyte. In 1973, IBM introduced the IBM 3340 hard disk unit, known as the Winchester, IBM's internal development code name. The term Winchester came from an early model developed by IBM that stored 30 megabytes and had a 30 millisecond access time; so its inventors called it a Winchester in honor of the .30-caliber rifle of the same name. The recording head rode on a layer of air 18 millionths of an inch 0.5 micrometre thick.

More down the page:
:Win73:Why Was it Called the Winchester Drive? :Win73:
I spent 13 years at IBM Research in San Jose, and although I arrived four years after the Winchester drive, this question was already famous, and several different answers were circulating. They related to the Winchester house, the Winchester rifle, and IBM's development lab at Hursley near Winchester, England.

The right answer is that the name comes from the original drive specifications — two 30 MB spindles in one box. The engineers called it the 30-30 which led the project leader, Ken Haughton, to think of the Winchester rifle. The complete story can be found in chapter 18 of the book Magnetic Recording: the First 100 Years, by Eric D. Daniel, C. Denis Mee, and Mark H. Clark, ISBN 0780347099, IEEE Press, August 1998.
There is a persistent story, that the hard drive was called Winchester because the first ones were invented by the IBM research lab in San Jose. According to this account, the lab was across the street from the Winchester House, home of the widow of the man who invented the Winchester rifle. The lab guys thought the new drive was as fast as a bullet from a Winchester. While this story has been circulating for many years, it isn't accurate.

It is true that the widow of the man who invented the Winchester rifle built a mansion in San Jose. It is still a major tourist attraction known as the Winchester Mystery House. Although the RAMAC was invented at a site close to downtown San Jose, it was not very near the Winchester House. By 1969-1973 when the Winchester disk drive was being developed, IBM had moved its development lab to southern outskirts of San Jose, over ten miles from the Winchester house. Today one finds a movie theater, a shopping center, and a freeway across the street from the Winchester house. The IBM Research lab in San Jose was not involved at all. We didn't get into disk drives until 1979. The Winchester was invented at the product development lab.

    Tom Howell
    VP, Research
    Quantum Corporation
    Milpitas, California

Offline mitch

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Re: Winchester Drive
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2006, 06:37:01 PM »
yep i remember that type very well ;-)
and if that is the one i am thinking of it was a lot of fun !
used hydraulics to position the r/w heads over the correct cylinder of the drive!
so in a computer room that was spotless clean, air conditioned you had a hydraulic pump running ;-D

now that was back when the tech wore a black suite and white shirt, and the easy way to ruin my day was to have to work on hydraulic drive troubles.... usually looked like a heavy equipment mechanic when you were finished !
the r/w heads flew very close to the disk and if dust or something went wrong it would make contact ( crash) into the disk. so that is where the term "crash my drive" came from !
the head would be a few microns from the platter turning at 10K  rpm. and to explain it to a customer it would be the same as a big Boeing 747 flying 600 mph 2 feet off the ground .

the IBM 1130 and 1800 ( the mainframes i knew too well) had a removable drive ( the only drive) and it had a platter in a sealed container about the size of a briefcase and could hold almost a meg of data ;-)

but back then the IBM 1130  and 1800 main frame computers
were big required a very cool computer room free of dust and humidity controlled and
you could get up to 32 K  ( yep i said K) of memory in them
they used magnetic memory and cost $400/per K

the Processor speed was as fast as 3 meg !! and was a 16 bit processor
and most had the big mag tape systems that people in the 60's and 70's thought was the computer
and you had a dedicated computer operator
programming languages were FORTRAN, COBOL and a few others, and most good programmers could work in machine language 1's and 0's

but in reality it was in hexadecimal 1-F
i was working in a test area on a small companies new computer and they were taking photos for the sales litature.. it was lunchtime and we had been working since around midnight but they wanted some good pics, so my buddy programmed the keyboard and we put up "food in hex". was funny no one noticed it but when the sales guys would show it to a tech guy he would giggle ;-D

those were the "good old days"  i set the record of working on 5 computers in 5 states in 3 days

1111 0000 0000 1101   is food ;-)