This is the time of year I like to do a little early spring cleaning and one group of storage devices due a clean out are my old hard drives. After many faithful years, I’m finally saying goodbye to all of my parallel ATA devices.
One the one hand, I hate throwing things out. I like to use technology to the absolute limit, but eventually some things outlive their usefulness and so it has come to pass for PATA hard disks. Unfortunately the maths and environmentals no longer stack up.
Capacity and Power
I’m disposing of twelve (12) 3.5″ drives that have a total capacity of only 344GB. That’s a mere 28GB per HDD. The lowest capacity drive is only 1280MB in size. Contrast that to the latest hard drive I’ve just purchased. It’s (another) 2TB model – the Seagate Barracuda ST32000542AS. This drive offers five (5) times more capacity for only 1/12 of the physical space and power requirements. With these kind of gains in efficiency, why retain old drives any further?
RAID and Speed
Now of course, multiple drives have one or two benefits over a single hard drive; firstly they can be protected using RAID and second, multiple spindles provide improved throughput. However the cost of 1TB and 2TB drives is now so low, they can be purchased in multiples reasonably cheaply and the RAID benefits retained.
As a final thought, I think we should be doing more to recycle old hard drives. After all, we recycle mundane components such as printer ink cartridges, batteries and so on. Perhaps we could see a slot for hard disks at the local recycling centre?