By the 1950s, IBM computers relied on ferrous-oxide coated tape to store data--and soon most other computer companies would use the same thing. Tape was 0.5-inches wide and came in reels of varying sizes. The tape interfaced with computers via floor-standing machines (such as the IBM 727) that used motors and vacuums to loop, start, and stop the tape. By the 1970s, larger reels of tape were abandoned in favor of cartridges and cassettes. Tape was either designated “7-track,” which offered space for six-bit characters and one bit of parity written across it, or “9-track,” which was used with 8-bit character computing. At its peak, magnetic tape could store between 5MB and140MB of data on a standard tape reel.