How a working 1kb hard drive was built in Minecraft | PCGamesN

Minecraft

How a working 1kb hard drive was built in Minecraft

Minecraft: for the love of coding.

Notch might not have finished his second intended opus, 0x10c, but it was far enough along for us to identify the common threads in his games: home, the frontier, and a love of coding.

Budding computer scientists long ago recognised that last part in Minecraft’s redstone circuits. Here’s their latest achievement: a functional hard drive, built without recourse to Minecraft mods.

The hard drive is made possible by the fact that redstone signals can pass through solid blocks, but not clear glass blocks. Using pistons to displace one block type for the other, players can transmit binary information - the fundamental ones and zeros used to store binary code on a computer.

The hard drive’s creator, a Computer Science PhD student who goes by smellystring, uses solid blocks to store a one and clear blocks to store a zero. With plenty of pistons, it’s been possible to push the blocks around in a mammoth loop.

“By switching between solid and clear blocks in this loop, I can store data,” writes smellystring. “My hard drive has a spin speed of 1 byte per 8 redstone ticks.”

The map includes a control room, where smellystring can issue commands to the drive. A set of lights indicate whether the machine is busy or ready for a new command.

The drive is capable of retrieving data by detecting whether blocks are solid or clear, and of writing data by switching out solid blocks with clear ones, or vice versa. But it all comes at a cost.

"With only 1KB going on my 8 core 4 GHz gaming desktop my framerate starts to significantly drop," smellystring told Reddit.

What's the most intimidating computing wonder you've come across in Minecraft?

Login or Register
Try these free to play games
?

These are affiliate links - clicking them and playing the games directly supports PCGamesN

Spotlight
?

Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.

Alienware - Game VictoriousTurtle Beach
The thirty best Minecraft mods

Minecraft

The thirty best Minecraft mods

Minecraft patch 1.8.5 cracks down on reported security problems

Minecraft patch 1.8.5 cracks down on reported security problems

Minecraft YouTubers get their own blocky toy range

Minecraft YouTubers get their own blocky toy range

Mojang poke fun at Minecraft player’s offensive username

Mojang poke fun at Minecraft player’s offensive username

Updating mods for Minecraft from version 1.8 to 1.9 will be “less painful”

Updating mods for Minecraft from version 1.8 to 1.9 will be “less painful”

Australian Government clears up geological myths spread by Minecraft:

Australian Government clears up geological myths spread by Minecraft: "Gold is not useful for pickaxes or armour"

The 40 best Minecraft seeds

Minecraft

The 40 best Minecraft seeds

A critical flaw in Minecraft's code meant anybody could crash any server, but now it's fixed

A critical flaw in Minecraft's code meant anybody could crash any server, but now it's fixed

Minecraft is being distributed to every secondary school in Northen Ireland, for free

Minecraft is being distributed to every secondary school in Northen Ireland, for free

Minecraft is a gateway to real electrical engineering with Piper

Minecraft is a gateway to real electrical engineering with Piper

Minecon 2015 tickets will go on sale on March 27th

Minecon 2015 tickets will go on sale on March 27th

A ban on Minecraft is being called for by Turkey's Family and Social Policies Ministry

A ban on Minecraft is being called for by Turkey's Family and Social Policies Ministry

The 100 Best Minecraft Skins

Minecraft

The 100 Best Minecraft Skins

Minecraft 1.8.2 was released into the wild and quickly eaten by 1.8.3

Minecraft 1.8.2 was released into the wild and quickly eaten by 1.8.3

Minecraft name changes will be made possible on February 4

Minecraft name changes will be made possible on February 4

Minecon returns from its one year break this summer

Minecon returns from its one year break this summer

Minecraft 1.8.2 pre-release gets its 5th update, fixing udders and other things

Minecraft 1.8.2 pre-release gets its 5th update, fixing udders and other things

Minecraft's Ender Dragon will be getting a makeover for 1.9

Minecraft's Ender Dragon will be getting a makeover for 1.9

The Best of Minecraft in 2014

Minecraft

The Best of Minecraft in 2014

Phishers leak 1,800 Minecraft players' details to the web

Phishers leak 1,800 Minecraft players' details to the web

Minecraft regularly gets more than 1m players playing concurrently

Minecraft regularly gets more than 1m players playing concurrently

Mojang will let you shed your old Minecraft username

Mojang will let you shed your old Minecraft username

Notch's $70 million mansion rebuilt in Minecraft (sports cars not included)

Notch's $70 million mansion rebuilt in Minecraft (sports cars not included)

Notch just bought a house

Notch just bought a house