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Author Topic: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown  (Read 35040 times)

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Online EEVblog

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EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« on: December 05, 2012, 09:58:08 PM »


Dave.
 

Offline wastrix

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Offline David Aurora

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2012, 11:13:02 PM »
Probably my favourite teardown to date, awesome one mate!

Just emailed the link to my Dad, he was in the computer industry around the time this stuff was approaching end of life I think. I remember going to his office and seeing the rooms equipped with halon, data on tapes, hard drives measured in megabytes and considered huge... Crazy to think how far we've advanced so far in my lifetime.
 

Offline nitro2k01

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2012, 11:26:24 PM »
15:45 *Bangs head against monitor* That's an 8! (Isn't it?)

When you said it's the most expensive teardown to date, I immediately when to check what the Agilent 90000 cost. (Even though that wasn't really a teardown.) Nop, only $140,000.

That sticker, in the thermal chamber. Make it happen!

Here's a slightly less big hard drive that belongs to the student electronics club at uni.


Whoa! How the hell did Dave know that Bob is my uncle? Amazing!
 

Offline madworm

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2012, 11:42:38 PM »
Nice! Spin it up ;-)

Some more related photos. All of it was trashed many years ago. Too bulky, too heavy and of no real use anymore.

 

Offline notsob

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2012, 11:54:12 PM »
I used to repair disk drives in the 80's ( for a different manufacturer), both removable & fixed disk versions of approx 60+MByte, we repaired them to component level, the ones I worked on had individually replaceable heads, but no asics, all individual ICs. They had temp compensation built in and a full head alignment took some time.

Dave, you can get those stick on temp guages from the local home brew shop, they are put on plastic beer brewing containers to indicate the brew temperature whilst frementation is happening.
 

Online wilfred

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2012, 12:39:26 AM »
Yes. It is a 3390 disk. IBM called it DASD for direct access storage device. The 3390 started out late 80's as a single density drive of a little less than 1 GB. In the next few years double triple and 9 times density units were introduced. That one was probably a triple density unit of about 2,8 GB. However what you have is actually a HDA (head disk assembly) that had two separately addressable drives sharing the one set of platters.

Each drive had 15 tracks (about 57 KB/track) per cylinder (vertical group of tracks accessable without moving the heads) with a 16th alternate track which could be assigned by the storage administrator in the event of errors in one of the 15 primary tracks. Some sites had policies to not do that and instead would copy the data to a spare and call in an engineer to replace the unit. If one track failed then the unit was probably due for more.

After these models IBM changed to racks of smaller disks that would be aggregated in arrays that used controller software to virtualise 3390 DASD and used larger caches to improve performance. The OS still thought it was addressing a 3390 DASD or strings of them but in reality it was just a bunch of cheaper hard disks. Changing the track size the OS sees is very rarely done.

At the end of each string of DASD would be a controller (or several) which received I/O channel programs from the CPU. In this way the CPU would offload the IO for improved performance.

Nice teardown Dave.
 

Offline Fliz

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2012, 12:45:26 AM »
Excellent, just excellent, I really enjoy every minute of this teardown  ;)
I wish I had one of those plates  :) perfect material for wall LED clock
with tiny smd led's, no spinning parts... blend of old and new technology :D

Thanks Dave
 

Offline ElectronicTonic

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2012, 01:37:53 AM »
Dave! How can you not take apart the linear actuator? I've been tearing down hard drives since I was a kid, and any old drive that uses a moving coil (some had stepper motors) for the linear actuator is gonna have some bad ass super strong neodymium magnets. I've taken apart some smaller hard drives in the past (mid 80's vintage with ten 5.25 inch platters at 20 MB total) and they had much larger and much stronger magnets than the little rinkidink magnets in modern drives. Careful though. If you pinch your fingers with those huge magnets, the tear down gods will be quite pleased!

Also, it looks like that three terminal device inside the locking motor is a hall effect sensor. What is that little black colored block on the end of the semicircular toothed locking mechanism? A magnet? What causes the whole thing to move to become unlocked?

Anyway, awesome video, Dave! One of my favorites. I love tearing town hard drives, but I've never had such a ginormous one as this. Thanks for the porn!
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Offline ElectronicTonic

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2012, 01:41:24 AM »
Also, what's with all those holes in the disk spacers? Is there some way for air (or halon) to flow into the center of the spindle and be propelled outward across the disks much like in a Tesla turbine?
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Offline bitwelder

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 02:11:40 AM »
Thanks Dave for the great teardown.
It was just pure p0rnography to watch the innards of such old engineering beauty!   :-+
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 02:49:50 AM »
I tore down a old hard drive that was a 2 platter 20M SCSI drive, that was used to run a mailing list ( moved now to a small file on a server) and which had a s100 bus Northstar Horizon and dumb terminals to operate it. Was a later version of CPM on 5 1/4" floppies which stored the program on disk and used the drive to store the database. Backup was on 2 boxes of 360k disks............

Still have the very heavy CVT that was used on the hard drive, the whole system used around 2kW.
 

Offline bxs

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 03:02:19 AM »
Hi Dave,

That drive is too small, about 15 years ago I remember seeing one huge harddrive in a lab, I will try to contact a friend to see if it's still there (probably not...) and get some pictures ;)
 

Offline Winston

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 03:10:48 AM »
Dear Sir,

It has come to our attention that you are in possession of one of our Model 3390 397x hard disk
units that is still under a maintenance contract and which should have been returned to IBM upon
removal from user service.  Please return this unit to us in original, fully functional condition or
send us a check for US$250,000.

Best regards,
Winston Smith
President (imaginary)
IBM Service Department
 

Offline alanb

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 03:21:29 AM »
I've seen larger units.

In the 80's I used a system with exchangable disk packs. The drive was about the size of a typical washing machine and each disk pack that was loaded on top was about 20 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep. The capacity of each disk was 10Mb.
I had a carrying case to hold one of the disks and had to take a disk off site every evening.

edit - It was a CDC Hawk and the capacity of the removable disk was 5MB there was a fixed disk of the same size internally.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 04:40:01 AM by alanb »
 

Offline calin

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2012, 04:30:01 AM »
Indeed .. great. Used to have a similar at the university - came in really handy when we learned peripherals and storage. Not as sexy as this one but good learning tool.

BTW, u know IBM still calls the mainframe storage DASD up to these days.  I have a guy around me that is old enough to have seen these in use - he was overjoyed when I showed him the video :) .

 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2012, 05:07:50 AM »
BTW, the removal of the heads off the media is called parking........

Those disks are not sputtered units, they are spin coated. Pour a small slurry of ferrite and binder onto the inside while it spins at high speed and it will be evenly distributed over the disk, like in modern CD production when they are coating the optical pit layer with the top coating. No fancy magnetics at that low density, just finely ground iron oxide and chromium oxides that are sieved then blended in a ball mill to a fine submicron powder then mixed with a solvent based carrier to stick it to the aluminium platters. During final test there would have been a special jig that moved the head assemblies a precise amount as it wrote servo tracks on the one platter.

As to the magnetics, the writing direction is in x, the material in the gap forces the magnetic field to spread out into the magnetic media in the Y direction ( and a little internally as well) while the Z is inter track coupling. the data is written by the magnetic field at the trailing edge of the head gap ( it retains the magnetic orientation it has as it left the field in the gap) while the reading is of the material in the whole gap. That is why on later units you will have had 2 coils in a line, the first with a very small gap does the reading off the disk, while the back one a certain precisely controlled  time behind ( actually distance travelled as radial velocity of the disk) can write the new data onto the sector block after the read head has read the preamble and been servoed into alignment on the track. this compensates for offset due to heating and expansion of the platters and heads, yours has a servo platter that does the same function.

Older ones had a big enough head ( same as a floppy drive size wise) that they could ignore it mostly, as the tracks were set by a stepper motor.

As to the air lines, those are not Halon, but for pressurised clean dry air from a built in compressor and filter drier pack in the drive bay, used to circulate clean air into the drive case and remove the hot interior air. The cool air is aimed via the microfilters inside to pass over the heads, then pass through another filter before circulating through the disk pack and then exiting via the spindle motor to cool it. Thus the holes in the spacers so air can go down. All designed so there is no turbulent flow on the disk pack where the heads are flying just above the disk, on a thin cushion of air compressed by the wedge shape on the bottom. This keeps the heads almost in contact with the platter so the magnetic field does not spread out and weaken, but reduces the friction to almost zero, and reduces wear to almost nothing. Compared size wise to flying a 747 at full speed 6 inches over the ground.
 

Offline kyndal

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2012, 05:45:42 AM »
as for taking the linear actuator apart.
looks to me like there is a "hinge like" mechanism on each side with a pin going length wise
down / through the side ?

what do you mean you dont have pneumatic impact tools in your shop ??

;)
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2012, 05:51:39 AM »
The magnet holds it together, you need a set of jigs that pry the poles apart to get it open.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2012, 07:14:16 AM »
i just posted some technical info under the video . not going to repost here. now, as far as cost.. THis is not the worlds most expensive drive. That would have been The RAMAC ( the original harddisk... )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_305_RAMAC

Below a picture fo the entire drive. left the platters ( 52 of them , right the cabinets with electronics to tame this beast. )
-50 user disks (dummy disks at end to reduce turbulent buffeting)
-100 sides, 100 user tracks per side (2 test only tracks on inside and outside)
-5 sectors per track, 100 characters per sector
- Grand total of 50 disks x 2 sides/disk x 100 user track/side x 5 sectors/track x 100 char/sector = 5,000,000 characters

The bootloader of a modern OS wouldn't even fit on this thing... Take a picture with a 10 Megapixel camera of it in JPEG and you can't store it on this thing ...

The computer history museum has ony. The drive was invented here in San Jose and the were built in the Cottle road facility , where , today , they are STILL building and designing harddisks. Now part of Hitachi storageworks. ( IBM sold their drive business to hitachi ) HGST.
The old building was torn down and is now a Lowes home improvement sotre , but as part of the deal they had to decorate their building using the IBM tile pattern , put a memorial pagoda with images and a baseball field called RAMAC park. :

« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 07:26:48 AM by free_electron »
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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2012, 07:23:41 AM »
In the early 90s, IBM was doing the research into the materials used in the hard drives we have today. Their research center in San Jose California was using a very specifically designed materials research system designed to make giant magnetic resistive effect materials and high temperature superconductors. It is this research that resulted in the very small read heads that make the smaller drives now possible.

The picture attached shows their research system under development in 1992 at a company in Canada. If anyone is interested in what the system did or its capabilities, just ask!
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Offline And!

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2012, 07:27:57 AM »
Try to sprinkle a little bit of metal dust on a plate. Maybe tracks can be seen?
At 20MB 8" disk it was possible.

And
Spin it up ! Spin it up! Spin it up! ;)

It will be more difficult than running super high speed laser mirror motor (36m:00s):


But it will be scary :D
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 07:29:40 AM by And! »
 

Offline dexters_lab

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2012, 07:40:57 AM »
Dave you gotta get that actuator apart just for the magnets, those in the newer disks are puny in comparison as the newer voice coils are so much more efficient

Great video though, love seeing top of the line old tech pulled apart

Would also love to see the spindle motor powered up
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Offline pickle9000

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2012, 07:58:11 AM »
Too bad you didn't have some MICR toner, sprinkle a bit of the on the platter and the tracks would have shown up.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: EEVblog #395 - World's Most Expensive Hard Drive Teardown
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2012, 08:05:13 AM »
as for taking the linear actuator apart.
looks to me like there is a "hinge like" mechanism on each side with a pin going length wise
down / through the side ?

what do you mean you dont have pneumatic impact tools in your shop ??

;)
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