Still Spinning 30 Years Later: Seagate’s ‘Dinosaur’ Drive Wins Tech Contest

A Seagate hard drive dating back to the early 1980s has demonstrated its longevity—and durability—in a search to unearth the oldest working hard drive in Russia.

Following the success of a similar Seagate-sponsored competition in the U.K. last April, Seagate ran the latest contest search on 3DNews, a daily Russian technology news website.

Yaroslav Levashov with his Seagate ST-412 drive.

The winning entry, like its counterpart in the U.K., was another Seagate ST-412 hard disk drive. The winning drive was submitted by Yaroslav Levashov, a self-confessed fan of Seagate who owns a collection of vintage computers. Levashov also boasts a collection of other Seagate “dinosaurs,” including a non-functioning Seagate ST-506, the world’s first 5.25-inch hard drive.

Levashov, who hosts a car show on Russian television station NTV, bought the drive soon after purchasing his first computer.

“Despite its exorbitant cost, my dream was to own an IBM PC-XT, Levashov said.  “And once I got my coveted PC, I knew precisely what was next on my wish list—I set my sights on buying an ST-412, the hard drive that was powering many of the first hard disk-equipped micro computers.”

The drive—which weighs 4.1 pounds (2.1 kg)—has a capacity of 10MB, with eight read-write heads and four recording disks that spin at 3,600 RPM.  And almost 30 years after purchasing it, Levashov’s drive is still in perfect working order. Not bad for a device that originally had a projected design life of no more than five years.

“I still enjoy playing all the old games, so I regularly boot up my PC and the drive always works perfectly—not a single bad block,” Levashov said.

Back in the early ’80s, Levashov’s ST-412 drive would have cost around $404, the equivalent of $40,400 per GB. Compare that with today’s 3TB

Seagate Barracuda® XT desktop drive. With its 10 read-write heads and five disks spinning at 7,200 RPM, it costs around $293, or just 9 cents per GB. And it has 300,000 times the storage capacity of the ST-412 drive.

The vintage hard drive was unveiled at a recent press event, hosted in Moscow by Seagate’s Corporate Communications team, where Levashov was presented with his prize—a  GoFlex™ Desk external hard drive, which delivers up to 4TB of storage capacity.

“This was a fun competition that generated a lot of interest in the Russian media, and resulted in over 200 people digging out their old Seagate products to compete,” said Regina Israel, Seagate’s Corporate Communications manager for Russia. “It was also an excellent vehicle for getting across the message to a much wider audience that Seagate’s drives are reliable and robust. Based on the success of the U.K. and Russian competitions, we’ll be continuing our search for old working Seagate drives in other regions in the coming months.”

By June Coates




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One Comment

  1. Ruben December 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I have one like this too! It’s in an old IBM PC XT and it’s 10MB. It’s the largest drive I have with the smallest capacity. It’s original to that XT. Sill works perfectly as well.

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