back to article It's the oldest working Seagate drive in the UK

Seagate reckons it has found the oldest working Seagate disk drive in the UK: a 28-year-old ST-412 disk drive from 1983. It is the drive for an old IBM PC, which booted up when it was brought down from owner Mitch Hansen's attic in his Ruislip house. The 5.25-inch disk has four platters, eight read and write heads, spins at 3, …


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  3. Anonymous Coward

    Memory Lane

    Hmmm, 1983. . . about when Hewlett-Packard started installing racks and racks of HP7935 disk drives in all their data centers. About the size of a small washing machine and, when the heads were seeking, they would actually walk across the floor. Stacked 'em two high using very heavy frames, but had to reinforce the raised data center flooring or they'd crash through :) The best part: 404MB, with *removable* packs. Wow!! All for a list price of only $25,000 each. Boise Division's R&D project name was BFD, 'cause they were sure big at the time.

    There were a few still working in 1991, but those were all shot up during the making of Terminator II.

  4. altman

    Hmm, I have an ST-506

    ...which is the 5MB seagate, that holds my old BBS that ran on my BBC B. Ok, so I've not powered it up in 25 years, but I finally found the DTC controller needed and am going to attempt to recover the data from it later this year.

    I'm pretty hopeful. The data density is kinda low and the thing is built like a tank!

  5. Fred 4
    Jobs Halo

    probably too late to be seen...

    I have a Mac 512k (that is the model stuffed between the original 128k (and those numbers refer to RAM in the computer) and the Mac Plus. THe case still had the signatures of the deisgn team embedded on the interior of the case.

    This oldie has an external, SERIAL port connected, hard drive which was called "HD-20".

    A 20 megabyte hard drive that connected via the serial port (and had a pass through so you could put an external 400k floppy drive on the Mac too). Access times were in the 1500 millisecond range.

    All of this still works :)

  6. Eeep !

    You geeks need to get out more

    Dad used the case from a pair of 8 inch floppy disk drives as a flower pot.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Pity, I could still use an 8 inch drive

      I still have an 8" floppy with CP/M 2.2 on it. I still wonder if the data would still read (all 128 kB of data)

  7. system11

    Me too

    There's one of those up in our loft too, no reason why it shouldn't still work, it did when it was put there.

  8. Willywigwam

    Seagate drives just get worse

    It seems like the older they are the more robust they be.

    That one which is still working after many many years, I have a 250GB Seagate that is still working and has been on a daily basis for about 7 years and my most resent Seagate I purchased 2 years ago which has had to be RMA'd a few days back.

    On the Seagate RMA, a very quick turnaround, sent very late on Friday and was told that it wouldn't go that day and Seagate emailed me on Monday saying that they had received it. Tuesday I got an email saying that they had despatched a replacement but no tracking info. Now two days later and still no sign of it or any tracking info. It is DHL [none]Express.

  9. Anteaus

    HD Reliability woes

    In my workshop I've a stack of dead HDs of all makes. 2.5 and 3.5. IDE and SATA. I wouldn't like to say which manufacturer has the best reliability, but I wouldl rate now-defunct ExcelStor as the worst ever encountered, with literally 100% failure.

    The problem with modern HDs seems to be that the firmware is on the platter instead of in a ROM, and it only takes the slightest glitch for it to be over-written. Result, dead disk which can only be revived by way of special procedures, if at all..

  10. Anonymous Coward

    2kg spinning at 3600rpm?

    Even if the 2kg is not referring just to platter weigh, I bet this thing is built in sturdy fashion like a chainsaw. It probably could cut through your fingers when spinning as well.

    Was it bolted to the table along with the rest of the PC? Those needles sure showed some inertia while searching for stuff in it, didn't they?

    There is your reliability right there: it had to survive itself clonking about while looking for a file.

    Amazing piece (or chunk) of history.

  11. Jacqui


    I have a 2.5inch 20/40mb drive bought with one of the very first Amiga 1200's.

    No idea if it still boots - the VT220's stored next to it in the loft both died.

    I do have some not quite tiny SCSI hard drives from a Sun3 as well.

    I will punt tis article to the surrey LUg users - some of them have some seriously old hardware

    (still running)! I expect at least on of them can beat this drive.


  12. Jacqui


    I will punt this article to the surrey LUG users - some of them have some seriously old hardware

    (still running)! I expect at least on of them can beat this drive.

    I suspect some of the hants LIg users may also have hardware that whomps this for bnoth age and size.


  13. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Call that a disk drive?

    ... that's not a disk drive - now it it was an RK05 (2.5Mb) or an RL01 (5Mb) or an RL02 (10Mb) then I'd be a little more impressed ... each one is a single platter, 18" in diameter - present tense because I've got a pair of RL02's in the office ... and a full RSX11M 4.2 build kit to go with it. OK, so it's been a while since I powered it up but it was fine when I shut them down.

    I might still have a pair of Seagate 8" drives too ... gonna have to dig a little for those... boxes that weigh as much as those do are stored at the bottom of the shelves.

  14. Dick Emery
    IT Angle


    The oldest bit of kit I could find in my dusty cupboard is a Sequencial Inc 5400s SCSI drive. It would make a good door stop. It has a huge 4GB of storage capacity. I only wish I had a SCSI adapter to plug it into to test it though.

  15. F. Svenson

    What a stupid metric.

    Comparing the "platter read speed" of a 5MB platter VS a 300GB platter is pure inanity.

    Perhaps you'd like to compare the toilet flush latency of an Airbus 380 VS a Clipper? That will prove how airplanes haven't gotten any better in fifty years.

    Come to think of it, the whole article is crap. I have a Selectric III in my office, perhaps you can run an article on Oxford counties oldest typewriter.

  16. Chris Mellor 1

    ST-412 history notes

    Sent to me by Steven L. Kaczeus:-

    Originally this product was ST-512 as a double density product of the ST-506. When I changed the read/write heads to thin film then we changed the product number to ST-412. My following project was the ST-225 product which was a half high and again double density device. The ST-225 was the highest volume selling product for Seagate Technology. This product also made Seagate a very successful company.


    Thanks Steven,


  17. steviesteveo

    Little disappointed

    I thought that when they said they had found the oldest working Seagate drive in the UK they meant they had found the oldest Seagate drive in the UK that was still doing work, for example it's been quietly working away in a factory control unit for decades or something.

    I'm not sure "it's been sitting unplugged in an attic since the 80s ended" is quite as good.

  18. MikeWolf

    Times have changed

    That one lasted 27 years. The new Seagates die after less than 5. Absolute trash.

  19. Phil_Haylor
    Thumb Up

    So who does have the oldest one of these?

    I ‘foolishly’ lent one of these to a friend back in 1999. Guess what, he binned it sometime after! I was seriously not impressed I can tell you. However, I have one more of these and it is perhaps my favourite piece of nostalgic IT history.


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