Data Density

Following question driven by seeing a box of floppy discs in tech room.

Question: How large would the floppy disk have to be to hold a hard drive of content?


  • A floppy disk holds 1.44 MB
  • The largest consumer hard drive is 2 TB

Size of a desk? room? building? field? town?

Extension 1: What about a CD or a DVD?

Extension 2: How small could the hard drive be if it only held a floppy disk of material?

any more?

Revision: 10/1/10 (or 22 to CS geeks)

Answer!  Highlight the text below to find the answer to the first question.

The floppy disk with a size of 2 TB would have a radius of about 47 meters.

Here’s a picture showing how large it would be:

4 thoughts on “Data Density

    1. Good call. A good CS question could be to ask how many pits are possible on the CD. I know there is some kind of error correction, but I’m not sure the ratio of real data to raw data.

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