This is how hard drives gave the PC victory


The hard drive is considered one of the fundamental pieces in every personal computer and it has been inside our PC boxes for so long that we have not come to consider the fact that this component has not always been there. What was the first computer with a hard drive that came out and why did it revolutionize the application market?

If there is a date on which the definitive victory of the PC over other personal computers was marked, it was in 1983, date from which the difference in market share was already insurmountable for the other platforms and would mark the 80s that would end with the swan song of brands like Commodore and Amiga. The only survivor of all the rivals of the PC was Apple, since its high margins gave it a few additional years of margin that allowed it to survive until the return of a Steve Jobs who made the necessary changes so that the brand of the bitten apple could rebound . However, the Intel and Microsoft platform had already been the de facto standard for more than a decade.

What was the first computer with a hard drive?

On the cover of the January 1983 issue of TIME magazine was a papier-mâché sculpture of a man sitting at a table looking at a computer on a kitchen table. An atypical place for the use of a personal computer, but at that time their adoption had not yet reached the masses, despite the fact that sales were doubling year after year, it had been a marginal product, but that everything indicated that they would end up taking off that same year.

The bet of IBM, the only PC manufacturer so far, was an improved version of its 5150 under the name of 5160 or PCXT. The processor did not change generation, but I stop being an 8088 to be an 8086. However, the great innovation that it introduced would completely change the way of using a computer and would give it a huge advantage over the competition. We are talking about a 10MB HDD that introduced and made it the first computer with a hard drive, it certainly became what we call a Killer App today.

Why did it give the PC a huge advantage?

Before the arrival of the hard drive, the operating system of computers came in a ROM memory, which not only meant that its capacities could not be expanded and the fact that you bought the same system a few months later meant having a slightly worse system in said aspect. The fact of having an HDD, on the other hand, allowed to expand the system OS without problems, besides not spending all the time sharing floppy disks in an office. Not to mention saying goodbye to the double floppy drives that were used in many systems.

Although the biggest advantage was the fact of being able to work with large files of several hundred megabytes for the first time, without being limited by the few hundred kilobyte size of the floppy disks of the time. The fact of working with very large volumes of data. However, the fact of implementing the hard drive as standard in the system meant a series of important changes in the communication system with the peripherals that required the release of a new generation of computers.

And it turned out well, applications began to be programmed with the hard drive in mind and abandoned to other platforms that for years remained without using the hard drive and making the PC permeate a large number of markets.