The Smallest Hard Drive on Earth

Toshiba gets the credit for creating the world's smallest hard drive. At just .85 inches, it is about the size of a postage stamp or a quarter, and weighs in at just two grams. It even made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records. Despite its tiny size, the hard drive comes in two different models that are capable of holding up to either four or eight gigabytes of information. Because personal computers need a lot more space than that these days, Toshiba's drive seems more useful for smaller devices. Its exact dimensions are 24 millimeters by 5 millimeters by 32 millimeters.

People love things that will fit in the palms of their hands – or in this case, on the tips of their fingers. Hard drives have been getting smaller and smaller since they were initially developed, especially over the last couple of decades. The very first hard drive, which was invented in the fifties, was a thousand times the size of the .85 inch. It only held .001 percent of the memory that Toshiba's disk does. Although hard drives are getting smaller and smaller we must also realize that the smaller the hard drive the harder it is to perform data recovery.

There is some debate over whether it's actually useful to spend so much time and resources on building a hard drive this small. Some people claim that while it may be cute and interesting, there just aren't many practical applications for this particular device. Its moving parts mean that it wouldn't work well in portable devices, which generally use flash memory instead of hard drives now. At the same time, its space limitation of eight gigabytes is just too small for a personal computer.

Proponents say that regardless of the specific uses for Toshiba's .85 inch hard drive, the technology that was developed to create it will be very valuable in the future. It wasn't that long ago that the average home computer had less than one gigabyte of space. This has increased dramatically in recent years and is expected to continue growing. As new technology creates a greater need for people to have more memory on their computers, putting that memory into smaller packages will be necessary to keep computers from getting bigger.

The first model of Toshiba's .85 inch hard drive hit the markets in 2004. This was the four gigabyte version, but it wasn't long before the eight gigabyte model was also out. Since then, no one else has beaten their record for the world's smallest hard drive. Toshiba continues to be a leader in this market segment.

The smallest external hard drive is the Mobile Drive XXS, which is made by Freecom. It is just two and a half inches wide and weighs only 155 grams, fitting in the palm of one's hand. It holds a lot more information that the .85 inch, with 160, 250, and 320 gigabyte models. External hard drives are different in that they're connected to the outside of a computer case. The Mobile Drive XXS uses USB ports, and its small size makes it very portable to take along when traveling.

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