Friday, March 18, 2016

3Gb download in under 2 minutes

Back in the 1990's I connected to the internet with a 28.8k dial up modem. I remember one one occasion trying to download 20Mbytes of data over this ever so narrow pipeline and it proved such a long and tortuous experience that eventually I had to leave the computer running overnight in order to complete the download.  Yesterday I downloaded a 3Gb file in just under 2 minutes at an average rate 25 M bytes per second. I just had time to browse a couple of web pages before the download was finished.

We take it for granted that everything to do with computers has gotten orders of magnitude faster over time but this still strucke me. Three billion bytes is an enormous amount of data. Back in 2000 I bought a computer with a "massive" 10Gb hard drive that managed to serve all of my IT and gaming needs for several years.

EDIT: Make that 25 Mbyte per second. Seems I got the math wrong the first time.


Wilhelm Arcturus said...

Back in 1990 I worked at a company that put together external hard drives for Macs. I got a call from one of the drive recovery guys. They had recovered a user's data, about 20MB, but needed to get it to him fast. We were up in SF, the user was down in LA, 400+ miles away. The user wanted to know if he could skip the expedited FedEx charges by just having us send the data via a modem. He has a 2400bps modem on his system. I told the recovery guy he could drive to LA, deliver the drive, see a baseball game, drive back, and get into the office again before that data transfer would be done.

Now, I don't even think about 20MB.

I also recall seeing a Fujitsu 1GB hard drive at the office back then. Was about the size of a cinder block, and about as heavy, and it cost about $2,000 just for the raw drive.

mbp said...

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of mag tape" comes to mind Wilhelm.