If you are used to your customers ordering PCs with a minimum hard disk drive capacity of 2Gb, get used to selling a minimum of 4.3Gb of disk storage before the end of the year, and in three years expect to be selling a minimum of 10Gb of disk storage on a desktop PC.
Pushing the need for more storage is the proliferation of bulky applications including graphics and full motion video, according to senior managers from Quantum, the major disk drive maker.
"If you look at what users are beginning to store on PCs, you can see the need for massive amounts of disk storage," said David Rawcliffe, Quantum's marketing director for the Asia-Pacific region. "Take digital cameras, for example," he said. "They are now coming down in price to the point where they are very easily affordable," said Rawcliffe.
"But you need a lot of disk space to store the images. The current generation of digital cameras needs only a few hundred K to store each image.
"But the next generation will have much higher resolution and will need 5 or 6Mb per image.
"On top of this, you're going to need 30Mb for one minute of video," Rawcliffe said.
Add to all that the ever-expanding size of most business applications and operating environments, and you will need what Rawcliffe described as the equivalent of a digital shoe box.
Quantum is already shipping 3.5in drives with a capacity of 18.2Gb.
Lucas Mueller, country manager for Quantum in Australia, said the fastest growing market for high performance drives here was the PC server and personal workstation markets.
Keeping up with the Joneses
One of the drawbacks to larger capacity drives is their ability to move data on and off the drive.
Quantum's Atlas III range of drives have a claimed average seek time of 7.5ms and a burst data transfer rate of 33Mb/sec. They range in capacity from 4.5Gb to 18.2Gb.
The company sells direct to major computer makers including Compaq, Digital, IBM and Digital. It also markets through an international network of commercial and industrial distributors and the retail sales channel.