September 8, 2011

History of Hard Drive Costs

I mentioned yesterday that I'm shopping for harddrives.    The current external harddrive that I have is an older 120GB model that cost me about $110 in Nov. 2005.   Today I'm looking at 1-2 TB models that run $70 or $80 range.  If I remember right around 15-18 years ago I spent something like $200 or $300 for a 300 MB harddrive.   The price of harddrives drops like a rock over time.

This nice article Cost of Hard Drive Space compiles a lot of data on the history of harddrive costs over the years.  

Here's a few data points to illustrate the history of hard drive costs over the decades.

1985 : 10 megabytes cost $710.    Today 10 megabytes of storage is nothing. Today you can get blank DVD discs in bulk for as cheap as 18¢ and those are over 4GB.    So today that 10MB of space is 0.045¢.  

1995 : 1 GB cost $849.   Ten years later you could get about 100 times the capacity for about 20% more.  Yet today that 1GB would easily fit on a 18¢ DVD with 3GB to spare.

2005 : 200 GB for $100.   Another 10 years later and you could get 200 times as much storage for almost 10% the cost.  

2011 : Today you can pretty easily find a 1 TB drive for $50 range.    In 6 years the cost has dropped in half and you get five times as much.

I took some of the data points from the Cost of Hard Drive Space page and plotted a chart.  I'm showing just the costs over the 2000 to 2010 period.    The yellow dotted line is the trend line.

In October 2000 you could get a drive for about $7.14 per GB.   By August 2010 the cost had dropped to just 8¢ per GB.    Over that time period thats a compound rate of -36% annually.   In general over the past decade hard drive costs have dropped approximately 36% each year on average.

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