I’ve seen many harddrives come and go during my life-long fascination with computers. The first one I used was 30MB, the first one I bought with my own money was an 850MB Conner (remember them?). I even had a classic of HD history, the IBM Deathstar, and mine did end up failing in the classic way.
I stopped stressing so much about storage when I built a 3x120GB array when we moved to California. The idea was to have a bit of redundancy (I used RAID 5 for parity information) and enough storage (actually only 240GB, you lose one disk worth of capacity to get the redundancy). It wasn’t cheap, but also didn’t cost that much and I was able to build an all-purpose Linux file server and router/firewall.
Well believe it or not, It’s been over two years since I built that thing and I was at about 80% capacity with more files coming all the time. Luckily, a hard drive fairy from heaven gave me 4 gently used 250GB Hitachi 7K250 drives. I paired these with a super-cheap four-port SATA card (no fancy hardware RAID or anything) and using the great software RAID setup on Linux, brought the 1 terabyte beast to life:
This pic is from the somewhat painful process of getting my data from the old array onto the new one. Since I only have 3 PCI slots on the board, and they were all occupied, I had to give up internet access by pulling out the NIC while I was doing the transfer. Even better, I had to buy multiple power splitters to get all seven drives going at once. Now the new drives are tucked away neatly and the old 120GB PATA drives are moping in the closet. Of course, I had to sacrifice one drive’s worth of storage to redundancy info, but 750GB is still nothing to sneeze at. Now I’ve got a place to stash all those dual-layered DVDs from netflix until blanks come down in price a bit.