An historical nit about FDDs

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Thu Jul 12 14:05:07 CDT 2018

On 07/12/2018 11:40 AM, Paul Berger via cctalk wrote:

> Because IBM never sold the drives themselves and the market impact of
> the first Memorex drive may not have been really big, there was no real
> standard so when Shugart Associates released the SA800 its proved to be
> very popular and its interface became the defacto standard.

One thing that escapes modern sensibilities is how expensive the first
floppy disk systems were.  If you purchased one of the early
microcomputers (IMSAI, Altair), a single-drive floppy disk system would
run more than the CPU unit.   Remember, there were initially no LSI
floppy controllers--on the MDS, Intel rolled their own as a 2-board
Multibus set.  Some early systems used USART chips. IMSAI used another
8080 MPU for their controller.

Data separation was a fairly new problem too, as floppy ISV and general
signal stability was not as good as most hard drives.  You're
essentially using flexible, disposable media.

So initially, the market was not terribly large.


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