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MicrodriveAn earlier 1" hard disk drive from Hitachi Global Systems. The Microdrive was introduced by IBM in 1998 and acquired by Hitachi in 2002. It contained a single disk platter the size of an American quarter, and starting out at 170MB of storage, it evolved to 8GB by 2006. Using one or two giant magnetoresistive (GMR) heads, the drive was built into a Type II CompactFlash card so it could be used as camera storage. See magnetoresistance and CompactFlash.
Because the tiny actuator had 50 times less inertia than one used in a regular disk drive, the Microdrive could ramp up to full speed in half a second. As a result, the drive could stop spinning to conserve power when data were not being accessed. By the mid-2000s, solid state flash memory cards began to exceed the Microdrive's capacity. See Kittyhawk, actuator and flash memory.
|A marvel of electromechanical technology, the Microdrive platter stopped rotating to conserve power and ramped up to full speed in half a second. (Image courtesy of Toshiba Corporation.)|