Hard Disk Drive

Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is a data storage device used for storing data. An HDD retains its data even when the power is off. In comparison to other types of storage media such as floppy disk and CD-ROM, a hard drive is typically faster and better, making it the most integral storage location, or data center, within a computer. The data on a disk is typically accumulated in tiny magnetic containers. The precision and speed of the drive makes it possible to store a large amount of data in this small area, which can be accessed quickly.

Components of Hard Drive

Platter:The platter is the flat disk part of the hard drive which is made up of a hard material, usually aluminum, and is coated by material with a magnetic charge. The magnetic charge records zeros and 1s which can be interpreted as data by your computer. Each set of magnetic particles is organized in a collection in a unit called a bit. The new hard drive technology uses thin film metals and glass platters to increase efficiency and drive storage capacity.

Heads: The heads read and write the information to and from the drive platter. It is also called as read-write heads. It writes bits of magnetic information onto the platter. The nearer the head to the platter, the more proficiently it is able to read information. However a close mounted head is more likely to have contact with a platter which damages the information. Each and every platter needs one head for each surface of the hard disk drive that requires to be read simultaneously by the head. Therefore, if you have a two-side platter in your hard drive, you require two heads to read the sides of the platter.

Actuator arms: The actuator arm moves the read-write head to the appropriate area of the platter. The head of a hard disk drive is mounted on the actuator arm that moves it in order to read and write the data properly. The actuator arm also assists to keep the head an optimal distance from the hard drive platter to preserve the drive's speed and efficiency and protect the drive.

Actuator mechanism: The actuator mechanism moves the actuator arm into the proper place to read and write data to the hard drive platter. The controller directs the actuator to the track which is slotted for the appropriate information. The majority of hard drive manufacturers use either a motor or a magnetic coil to move the actuator arm into the proper place.

Head Parking: Head parking is a vital part of the construction of a hard drive. It maintains the small space between the head and platter and in this way helps the platter from suffering damage. The head parking acts as a landing zone for the spinning platter when the computer is powered off. It can also protect the hard drive when the computer is lightly jarred or struck. But it cannot stop the hard drive from breaking when a severe blow is dealt to the hard disk, for example dropping the hard drive.

Types of Hard Drive interfaces

Hard drives can come in several types, the main three being SATA, PATA and SCSI:

PATA: PATA stands for Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment and is also known as an IDE drive. IDE drives use either a 40 or 80 wire cable with a wide 40-pin connector. Older and slower drives use 40 wire cable where as faster drives use 80 wire cable. Majority of PATA drives are being replaced with SATA drives.

SATA: SATA drives are Serial ATA drives which use a completely different connector than the PATA drives. In addition to this, SATA drives uses a different power adapter than IDE drives even though adapters are easily attainable. It is thinner and apparently has a faster data interface than PATA drives. SATA drives are more proficient and use less energy than the PATA drives.

SCSI: SCSI, Small Computer System Interface drives, has a similar look like IDE drives. But these drives typically spin at a higher rate than SATA or IDE drives. IDE and SATA drives normally spin at 7,200 rpm but SCSI drives spin at 10,000 to 15,000 rpm. But still there are some SATA drives nowadays that also spin at 10,000 rpm. The higher spin rate of this SCSI results in faster data access, but may also contributes to faster breakdown. The SCSI drives require a controller that handles the interface between the drives and the motherboards.

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