Quantum Corporation formed the Plus Development subsidiary in 1983. Now Plus has introduced a new product called a Hardcard. Basically a 3.5″ hard disk is mounted on an 8-bit card to allow it to be installed in a IBM PC or PC AT. The MSRP is $1079.
The Quantum hard disk is 10MB which is the same capacity as the larger option hard disk available for the IBM PC XT. IBM has recently began offering 30MB hard disks for the PC AT.
Installation is very easy but the 13″ size of the card may be a problem. Configuring the disk is also easy.
Most users of this card are using floppy based machines. The hard disk on a card eliminates the need for a controller or mounting the disk. While 10MB is not bad the idea of a hard disk solution is definitely a move in the right direction.
The need for a PC clone to have a modest hard disk is pretty obvious. The unreliable floppy is cheap but hard disks have become less expensive.
The IBC PC usually had a single floppy drive. Quantum realized some machines could used an expansion card to add storage. The original Quantum 10MB hard card was $1095. The earlier Xebec Owl 10MB disk was released in August 1984 with a 5¾” disk and a SASI controller on a card.
Quantum introduced the hardcard with a 10MB model. It came complete with its own controller. The disk was a custom designed to be 1″ thick to fit it on an expansion card. The card could be installed in a standard 8-bit slot. It did not require any additional power. Most uses already had installed better capacity power supplies in their machines.
Over time the hardcard grew in capacity however they never became very popular as internals disks were much less expensive. Hardcards were popular with BBS operators who could offer more programs for download. 20MB, 40MB and larger capacity cards quickly expanded in the market.
The hard card was very popular as it was simple to install and it could make a dual floppy machine hard disk based. Hard disks are expensive and the Quantum product sold thousands and thousands of them.