2009-03-27 10:00:21 -08:00

The Apple ProFile hard drive held 5 or 10 megabytes in 11.15×43.89×22.38cm = 10952.17893 cubic centimeters.

A microSD card is 1.5×1.1×0.1cm = 0.165 cubic centimeters and can hold up to 16 gigabytes.

If you stacked up enough microSD cards to fill (as closely as possible*) the volume of a ProFile, you would have 29×20×111=64380 cards totaling 1.03008 petabytes (1030.08 terabytes)—206,016,000 times the capacity of the hard drive you’d displaced (assuming the 5 MB version).

Also, the ProFile cost $3499 in 1981 (about $8194 in 2008 dollars), whereas a 16 GB microSD card costs about $70 as of March 2009. If you somehow bought enough 5 MB ProFiles to make up the difference in capacity (3200 of them), at the original MSRP, you would spend $11,196,800 (about $26,222,014 in 2008 dollars).

(I used Robert Sahr’s inflation conversion-factor tables to convert to 1981 dollars to 2008 dollars.)

* It’s possible that you could fill out the space a bit more by standing some cards on edge, but I don’t feel like doing that much multiplication.

8 Responses to “Storage”

  1. Evan Schoenberg Says:

    s/to 16 me/to 16 gi/

  2. Evan Schoenberg Says:

    Hey, that’s a major security problem.. I can apparently run regexps on your posts via the comments! ;)

  3. Peter Hosey Says:

    Hah. Ryan IM’d me about it. I just now noticed that I have email about it, too. ☺

  4. ssp Says:

    I\’m sure the numbers will remain mind-boggling even then, but to be fair, the Pro File had the undeniable advantage of actually being usable with you being able to hook it up to a machine, making sure there is power and so on. A fair comparison would just use the size of the drive mechanism.

  5. Peter Hosey Says:

    ssp: microSD cards are primarily for mobile phones, so there is no peripheral drive to connect.

    As for a PC-only comparison, some PCs have SD slots, but you’d need an SD adapter; I agree with you that even the SD-to-ProFile numbers would be impressive.

  6. Robert Rezabek Says:

    The SD card is not 1.0cm but 0.1cm thin. Even more impressive.

  7. Peter Hosey Says:

    Robert Rezabek: Oops. Clearly, I forgot to scale that number. Thanks.

  8. Peter Hosey Says:

    Moreover, I computed the volume of the card with the inaccurate depth, so all the numbers after that are wrong. Will fix after breakfast…

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