The ST-506 was an early personal computer hard disk, introduced in 1980 with a capacity of 5 megabytes and a price of $1500.

While several sources confirm the price, I haven't been able to find whether it was wholesale or retail. The difference matters; a wholesale price of $1500 typically translated to a retail price of about $4500.

The one piece of information I have been able to find is https://www.gizbot.com/computer/features/things-that-you-should-know-about-hard-drives-044120.html "A 5 MB hard disk drive from Apple cost $3,500 in 1981." That would be consistent with $1500 being the wholesale price in 1980 (and some decrease in the course of a year). Is that correct?

1 Answer 1


Nop. 1500 USD was resale for the drive. Just for the drive.

But noone - at least noone with a tie - bought just a drive.

The mentioned Apple 'drive' was a Apple Profile, a complete setup including disk, controller and power supply in a case plus cabeling and a interface card. Not to mention the software (inside and drivers for SOS/DOS). All at a retail price of 3,500 USD when introduced (for the Apple III). Here are some nice pictures of the components.

In fact, considering usual Apple price tags, this was rather afordable. I just flipped an old Byte (8/81) and other upgrades where similar priced. For example 5 MB with interface kit to be build into a Superbrain was around 3k at discount stores.

  • 2
    Confirmed, $1500 for the drive, power supply, and enclosure sold by California Digital, plus another $300 for the controller. Dec 16, 2017 at 17:42
  • 2
    Here's another Price tag: ST-506 to IEEE488 controller MSC9305 was 700 USD allone in Oct.1980
    – Raffzahn
    Dec 16, 2017 at 17:53
  • True IEEE488 (not the serial variants) sounds like an exotic way to connect a harddrive... except maybe in the HP Basic world... Dec 17, 2017 at 18:56

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