Peripheral Products


Storage - Magnetic Tape Drives Selection:

Name: 7970 Tape Drive
Product Number: 7970
Introduced: 1970
Division: Mountain View
Ad: Click to see, Click to see
Original Price: $4600
Catalog Reference: 1971 Supplement, page 39
Donated by: Steve Brazzale (7970B), Australian Computer Museum Society (7970A/E).


The 7970 was the first tape drive entirely designed and manufactured by HP for use with its computers.

The 7970 10.5 inch reel to reel tape drives were the primary means of back up and off line storage for HP 1000 and 3000 systems in the 1970s. These machines could be configured as either seven-track or nine-track drives. The 7970A had a storage density of up to 800 characters-per-inch and a data transfer rate of 37.5 inches per second. The 7970B was introduced in 1971 and had a data transfer rate of up to 45 inches per second. The 7970E (phase-encoded) was also introduced in 1971 had a storage capacity of 1600 cpi. It was priced at $8,100. The 7971A was introduced in 1982. It consisted of a full-height, 19-inch rack bundled with one or two 7970B/E tape drives. It was priced at $16,000 with a single drive.

The 2022A was introduced in 1972. The 2022A was a magnetic tape reformatting system, used to convert magnetic tapes to Computer Output Microfilm (COM). The 2022A included a 7970 tape drive, 2100A mini computer and a 9860A card reader.

The 7970B also came in bundled configurations (interface card, cables, etc) for 2000/1000 computers and for 3000 computers. The part numbers were 12970A (9-track, 12971A 7-track) and 30115A respectively. The 7970E came in bundled configurations (interface card, cables, etc) for 2000/1000 computers and for 3000 computers. The part numbers were 12972A and 30115A-100 respectively.

The 10,000th 7970 was shipped in November of 1976. By September of 1977, HP had shipped 12,000 units.

The 7970 was obsoleted in November of 1985.

The 7970 was also a movie star. It made an appearance in the 1991 movie Terminator II, and in the 1992 movie Garbo.

If the old rubber rings on the hubs are too expanded and won't allow a tape reel to slide on, just replace with a #BS336 O-ring from a bearings/seals/gasket shop. These are cheap, readily available and takes seconds to install for a perfect fit.

Click here to view CuriousMarc's video on the 7970E.

| Back | More Images | Product Documentation | Category Accessories |


©2004 - 2022 BGImages Australia - All Rights Reserved.

The HP Computer Museum and BGImages Australia are not affiliated with HP Inc. or with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Hewlett Packard and the HP logo are trademarks of HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. This website is intended solely for research and education purposes.

View our Privacy Statement Terms of Use