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Guinness's World's Smallest Hard Drive Record 244

ketbra writes "CNN reports that Toshiba has received the Guinness World record for the smallest disk drive for their new 0.85-inch HDD. (Covered on Slashdot a while back) The technology editor from Guiness made the comment that "Toshiba's innovation means that I could soon hold more information in my watch than I could on my desktop computer just a few years ago". "
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Guinness's World's Smallest Hard Drive Record

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  • by bobthemuse (574400) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:21PM (#8579650)
    Imagine what they are getting themselves into. Will companies now apply for largest screen? Fastest start-up time? Fastest processor? Quietest fan? Largest spam mailing?
    • by HD Webdev (247266) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:26PM (#8579721) Homepage Journal
      Smallest market share?
    • by betelgeuse-4 (745816) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:30PM (#8579776) Homepage Journal

      I think largest screen and fastest processor (in MIPS not Hz) are already listed.

      • I think largest screen and fastest processor (in MIPS not Hz) are already listed.

        Hmm -- if they are they aren't included on the webpage []. But then the webpage states that it only includes a "fraction" of the 40,000 records included in the database so there you have it. Too bad they don't let you access everything and merely use the page as a plug for the book.

        Interestingly enough here is the fastest DSP [] and here is the biggest TV set []. Those were the most interesting results out of my search for screen s

      • From the 2002 GBRW UK edition p.168 (I don't know if all countries have the same content):

        Fastest computer: IBM's RS/6000 ASCI white, capable of 12 trillion calculations per second, with 6Tb memory and 160Tb storage memory
        Most powerful PDA: Compaq H3360 iPaq Pocket PC
    • Yeah, cause the last thing the Guinness people want to do is go around finding new things to put in their book. That interrupts the beer-drinking time!

    • Yes, yes they will. That's what Guiness is all about, except for the beer thing. What planet are you on? It's a silly little book with lots of silly little "I got mine" thingys. Fun reading, little else.
      • > What planet are you on?

        now that is one heck of a good question - so you don't know, either? I feel better already...

        apart from that, exactly why is this news on /.? the drive itself has already been covered here, and as you say, theres little a geek could get out of the guinness book. their beer is ok, but that's about it.

        • Look, friend, asking why this is news on /. is asking for "flamebait". The "News for Nerds" thing? It's a joke. Slashdot needs to change their tag to "News for Lame Gamers and other Non-Employable Ilk". These days it's gamer zone, and stories about case mods that double as esoteric nose hair clippers.
      • Re:Get a clue (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bobthemuse (574400)
        My point was not making fun of Guinness for searching out obscure facts, but that many of the things I mentioned change frequently. On top of that, try getting a large group of people to agree (think fastest processor: AMD vs. Intel).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @01:10PM (#8580260)
      While smallest, largest, fastest, etc are very short held titles in computers, first is an important distinction.

      An apprpriate distinction for GBWR:
      Toshiba Claims First Harddrive to Float on the Head of a Guiness

    • So, if I run a RAM disk on my SD card then what category do I get?

      If I manage to make a spinning media HD of the same physical size but it holds more data does it get marked down as "smallest" or "largest" or "largest smallest"?

      If I'm driving the speed of light and turn on my headlights do I get "fastest car", "slowest light" or most "expensive ticket"?

  • At last.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:21PM (#8579652)
    At last, a hard drive thats also a suppository. Just what we need after a few too many rounds of Guinness.
  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:22PM (#8579656)
    You look at the picture and say "Damn, that's a big quarter."

  • by basil montreal (714771) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:22PM (#8579664) Homepage
    The bigger the inside, the smaller the outside. I've already lost 2 hard drives this way... When will they stop?? Is it too much to ask for something at least one cubic foot?
  • Adorable (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:22PM (#8579668)
    Is it strange to think that hard drive is cute ?

    Not sure why, but it just seems adorable in a little puppy dog kind of way.
  • Odd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kneecarrot (646291) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:23PM (#8579677)
    I find Guiness World Records for computer parts strange. Everyone knows that all parts are in a constant upgrade cycle. 0.85 today, 0.80 tomorrow.
  • BSOD (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mr. Certainly (762748) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:23PM (#8579679)
    What will we do when our watches have a BSOD?
  • Already... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:23PM (#8579685)
    My computer about a decade ago had a 500 meg HD, now I've got a pocket USB drive with about the same capacity.
  • YES (Score:2, Funny)

    Now my porn is more accessible than ever.
    • Re:YES (Score:3, Funny)

      by wviperw (706068)
      In the not too far future... [man looks down at watch] "What time is it Pamela?"
      • by Kjella (173770)
        ...battery capacity. Already they're having trouble with the latest phone/camera/pda/calender/games/java/high res/high color monitor/video recording/video playback/pim/triband/polyphonic/mp3/aac/mms/fm radio/email/browser/bluetooth/gprs/wap/hscsd/touch screen/edge/wcdma/portrait caller id/flashlight/calorie counter/thermometer/picture editor/fax/word processor/excel/ppt viewer/flash player/kitchen sink cell phones (all actual features, tho not in the same phone...)

        • Phone: Not much battery life, lowest common denominator (mine does this)
          Camera: Common now, battery life is killed by it (not mine!)
          PDA: Very rudimentary, and it's almost needed for contact management. Mine has that, but there's no substitute for a Palm (except another true standalone PDA or one that was a cell wrapped around a PDA, but those are poor cells).
          Calendar: Mine has it, but it barely hits battery life.
          Games: Not much battery life hit - Java doesn't need that much, and the Nokia games seem to be f
  • by MrIrwin (761231) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:25PM (#8579709) Journal
    To set the record for how many you can eat in a minute using a cocktail stick?
  • by MalaclypseTheYounger (726934) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:25PM (#8579714) Journal
    Was anyone else supremely disappointed to see the word 'Guinness' (possibly mispelled) and find that the article was not about beer, with this being the day before St. Patty's day and all?

    (Offtopic +1, Beer)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:27PM (#8579728)
    Am I the only person that immediately thought, "Wow, 1 bit!".

  • great.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anubis333 (103791) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:28PM (#8579741) Homepage
    One more thing to lose. I can't wait for the day when I need tweasers and a magnifying glass to replace a HD.
  • Imagine a ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Merlin42 (148225) * on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:29PM (#8579755) Homepage
    RAID array of these things. I'm being serious, really.

    Just think in a normal 3.5inch drive case you could probably fit at least 30 of these drives (lets say 1.5inch x 1 inch for each drive with two 3x5 layers, should leave plenty of room for electronics). Given the tiny size of each drive the seek times are probably phenominal) and even if each one wasn't all that fast or even reliable they could be combined to make an incrediably fast drive (using RAID5 or similar internally) with amazing seek times. BUT it might cost an arm and a leg, unless mass manufacturing could bring prices WAY down.
    • Consumer market digital camera with 4 gigs to hold the pictures...

      PDA with 4 gigs to put you data

      Ultra-Micro-Itx with a full computer the size of a Marlboro pack, and that just to accomodate 4 usb ports and a power adaptor...

      Smallers disks means ultraportability up...

      I, for one, Welcome our Masters Microlords 8)
    • Re:Imagine a ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Have Blue (616) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:59PM (#8580141) Homepage
      Some reasons this wouldn't work:
      • I don't think the seek time is necessarily all that great. The actuator is also minaturized and the precision of movement required is likely higher than a normal hard disk.
      • The overhead, in processor time in the controller and accounting on the disks themselves, involved in a 30-way RAID configuration would be enormous and probably well above the point of diminishing returns.
      These things really are designed for applications where space is a premium; you could get orders of magnitude more space for the same cost or less with physically larger disks.
      • by morcheeba (260908) * on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @02:35PM (#8581146) Journal
        Actually, seek times tend to improve the smaller the disk. It's less mass to move, over a shorter distance. Seagate claims [] their new 2.5" 10k RPM server-class drive has a 15% faster seek speed than 3.5" drives.

        The book The Innovator's Dilemma [] has a great case study of hard drives, from 14", 8", 5.25", 3.5", 2.5", and beyond and explains why the advantages that each smaller size offers (and why virtually none of the companies that are best at one size manage to sell well into the next smaller size). It's a great book.
    • Re:Imagine a ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Xzzy (111297) <sether.tru7h@org> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @01:28PM (#8580482) Homepage
      Stacked like a roll of quarters, you could fit around 200 of these into a space 19 inches wide.. the width of a standard rack.

      That's 800 gigs per 1u assuming 4gb per disk, and that's not even considering the additional 29 inches (or so) of depth you'd have in the case. Which from a density perspective is pretty close to what already exists.. you can easily get 4 terabyte in a 3 unit chassis these days.

      I wouldn't envy the poor engineer that would have to design the wiring for such a setup however, not to mention dealing with pesky details like swapping out bad disks and heat dissipation.

      • Where did you find the specs for the height of one of these drives? Stacking 200 in a 19 width puts them at about a 1/10 of an inch thick...but I can't find any actual specs anywhere.
        • By eyeballing the picture in the news story of course. ;)

          A quarter is about 0.06 of an inch thick, so I just rounded up to an easily divisible number. Obviously that's a very optimistic guess, but then again, discussing putting 200 4gb drives into a chassis and using raid on them is already stretching the limits of plausibility so I figured why not.
    • RAM drive with 3.5" HDD backup. Untouchable seek times. Untouchable transfer rates. Very low failures. Less temperature. Less noise. Much cheaper.

    • a self contained raid unit... setup each individual unit with several of these drives running hardware raid5 on a controller that interfaced as a SCSI device, so it itself could be part of a larger hardware RAID. If a drive in the unit goes bad, that unit could be removed from the larger raid array so the individual disk could be replaced without taking the raid down (kinda like raid5 is now). This would add another layer of failover, as each unit would have its own redundancy against failure (the unit woul
  • Reliability? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hasdikarlsam (414514) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:29PM (#8579757)
    Smaller disks generally mean smaller margins of reliability, whether that's because of missing safeties or just smaller margins for error.

    I bought an MP3 player a while ago (iRiver iGP-100), which has a "reduced" HD. That worked well for a while, but recently I've lost everything from the 300MB mark and up.

    I don't know why this happened, and frankly I don't care; I'm just happy that I have a three-year warranty, and they're letting me upgrade to a newer model which uses a larger, and thus safer, HD. For free. (Apparenly they didn't have replacement drives in stock; the law is the law, though.)

    Well, enough about me. Now, about these drives: Would you trust your data to one of them?
    • Are you sure the label didn't read "Repaired"?
    • That's what I want to know as I wonder how robust of a package a drive this small will have. I expect it to be used in MP3 players and maybe cell phones or something but if I drop the device the drive is in do I crash the thing? Will the device include a "brace for impact" detection system so the drive knows to park itself since the unit is being dropped?
  • does it run linux?

    i guess.. more on point... how do you access it? It would seem a ribbon cable would be bigger than the HD!

    Anyway.... IDE, SCSI... is it something I could put in my box right now (if it were out)? Wow... imagine a RAID array full of 15000 of those or so....
  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:33PM (#8579816) Homepage
    It's one thing to have a book of records that's based on bar bets, and things that just involve getting a bunch of semi-skilled people together to do.

    Does anyone care about corporate achievements in the Guiness record books? (other than the corporations, that is).

    If they want in to the book, get 1139 people with golf carts, and break the record for longest golf cart parade [].

    I just think about the Guiness book being about things that are done almost solely for getting into the book, with no significant redeeming qualities other than getting someone's name in print. You know -- longest toenails. Worst smelling shoes -- the types of things that the average person could pull off with a bit of dedication, and not needing a multi-million dollar research facility, and not being directly linked to a company's product development.

    How about 'shortest MTBF' for the next hard drive record?
  • by RichM (754883)
    Apple, Creative and other people who make these HD-based mp3 players really should use hard drives like this. One of the main reasons that I haven't bought an iPOD yet is because of the size of the thing...
  • by Stevyn (691306) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:35PM (#8579839)
    Thousands of geeks applied to Guinness for creating the smallest linux distro. At the end of the day, only 3 were left standing.
    • But to their credit, many of those geeks walked away with other world records...

      Worst teeth... Oldest Shoes... Largest number of days between sunlight... Most frequent use of the word "l337..."

  • I win! (Score:2, Funny)

    by drwtsn32 (674346)
    I have a 5MB MFM drive in my garage.
  • Wow! Now I can bring my own pr0n collection with me all the time, and I can use it...
    Wait, no, I can sure watch it, but I certainly won't be able to use it!!!
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:36PM (#8579853) Homepage Journal
    The first hard drive I ever bought was only 5 megabytes (no, not gigabytes). That's way smaller than the one in the article.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:39PM (#8579876) Homepage Journal
    Nearly everyone knows that St. Patrick's Day is the 17th, and a day many people tip a pint of Guinness in tribute, in a pub, for which (ta-da) the Guinness Book or World Records was created to settle bets and disagreements.

    Consider two geeks in a pub (yeah, it's a stretch, usually one pint and they're under the table babbling about some OS or Kirk&Spok or making Monty Python references before passing out, ..):

    Geek 1:
    "So then I visualized a tiny Beowulf cluster with a slew of IBM microdrives, the smallest drives in the world and it was..."
    Geek 2: "Whoa, Cowboy, Toshiba has the smallest hard drive in the world."
    Geek 1: "No, it's IBM, you're wrong romulan breath!"
    Geek 2: "NOT! It's Toshiba!"
    Barmaid: "Hold on boys, I'll get the book to settle this."
    Geek 1: "Awe crap, OK, so it's Toshiba!"
    Geek 2: "Facial burns on you!"
    Geek 1: "So I filled out a request for the parts."
    Geek 2: "What did purchasing say?"
    Geek 1: "They said they couldn't understand it because I filled it out in spanish."
    Geek 2: "Ah ha! They didn't expect the spanish requisisition!"
    Barmaid throws the book at them.

  • by leandrod (17766) <> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:41PM (#8579911) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one irritated when improvements get called innovations?
    • Not that I'm entirely disagreeing with you, but I would like to make one nit-pick...

      The drive itself may not be an innovation, but the manufacturing processes required to make it certainly are.
    • Remember when iTunes Music Store became invention of the year?

      I think it goes to show that we live in a society where an idea pales in importance to the execution of the idea.
  • by demonic-halo (652519) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:41PM (#8579920)

    We can all be super spies. With gigs of data in a watch, we can sneak into foreign embassies and video tape almost everything in sight.
  • by tmhsiao (47750) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @12:57PM (#8580112) Homepage Journal
    Everyone in the industry knows that Toshiba hasn't made small hard drives, they've bred huge people []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @01:03PM (#8580185)
    I mean, seriously. People used to have to really work hard at breaking records before. And Guinness occasionally had to work hard to find them. Now, it's just a natural, virtually unstoppable progression for all "records" related to technology. Truly lame. The technology secion of Guinness has become a newspaper, effectively.

    Get rid of the tech companies and bring back the human freaks! Guinness has closed many really cool (and difficult) categories like "Eating a Bicycle".
  • by enrico_suave (179651) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @01:56PM (#8580769) Homepage
    I'm going to fill up the world's tiniest drive with really really small thumbnail sized pr0n!


  • Marketing nonsense. Watch it be something like 10-20 megs.

    If it's 10+ gigs, then that's impressive.. but by all means, don't (as Toshiba) submit this "hey, we have the smallest hard drive!!!" without giving the storage space.
  • A level five RAID marketed by none other than the PEZ Corporation.

    Or once they become edible, as the toy surprise in a box of Cracker Jacks.
  • What I want to know is: has this Guiness World record holder got enough capacity to store a copy of the Guiness Book of Records ?

This is now. Later is later.