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IBM 3480 Magnetic Tape Subsystem
IBM 3480 magnetic tape subsystem

The 3480 Magnetic Tape Subsystem was a major milestone in IBM storage. Two radically new features incorporated into its design were shape and size: square tape cartridges replaced the traditional round tape reels and the overall footprint of the box was reduced. In addition, data storage density and speed were improved.

Previously, the industry standard had been a 10.5-inch round tape reel that stored 160MB of data and had an uncompressed data rate of 1.25MB per second. The new 3480 used a 5.5-inch square cartridge, stored up to 200MB of data and executed at the rate of 3MB a second.

The 3480's rectangular cartridge compared to a standard tape reel
The 3480's rectangular cartridge compared to a standard tape reel
Additionally, the 3480 required less than half the floor space of an equivalent 3420 magnetic tape unit from just a decade earlier.


3480 technological breakthroughs


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