"Scott Studham, group leader of the molecular science computing facility at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Seattle, finished replacing a 20TB tape archiving system with servers that use parallel ATA drives last week. "It’s disk speed at tape cost," he said."
PC tech continues its relentless commoditization push, a story that’s been happening for more than a decade, but that only Dell and Microsoft seem to fully grasp among the big players (don’t get me started again on Apple or Sun). I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with 20TB when they’ll be available at consumer prices, but it’s not been hard to fill 200GB so far (an extra 120GB drive and a 20GB notebook will strengthen our LAN next week, and I should eventually get to set up the small server).
When I was selling PCs ten years ago, some customers bought the lowest-end machines, because a 386 with 4 MB in RAM and 80MB in drive space was "all they’d ever need." When you started with 1K of RAM and a tape recorder 20 years ago, and went through all the steps to the GB/GHz current PCs, you know where it’s headed. Think Monsters, Inc. real-time graphics for gaming and home-made animation. If Pixar is smart, they’ll sell you characters and scenes you can render and manipulate at home. If you’re good, they might even resell your movie, much like what’s happening in the gaming mod world.
My 32" 16/9 TV just died after 6 1/2 years, and I’m disgusted to have to pay about the same price for what basically remains the same product (but watching movies on a 19" monitor is OK at best). Even cars reasonably improved in six years.