What is Hard Disk Drive?

A hard disk drive (sometimes abbreviated as “Hard drive,” “HD”, or “HDD”) is a data storage device. The hard disk was first introduced on September 13, 1956 and consists of one or more platters inside of an air-sealed casing. Internal hard disks reside in a drive bay and connect to the motherboard using an ATA, SCSI, or SATA cable, and are powered by a connection to the PSU (power supply unit). Below is a picture of what the inside of a hard drive looks like for a desktop and laptop hard drive.

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The Needs Of Thermal Pastes In Computer Systems

Heat management is important to consider when constructing or maintaining your computer. Too much heat can spell death for your sensitive components, and if you’re overclocking it’s even more of an issue. Knowing how to apply thermal paste correctly is one of the foundations of proper computer cooling. Follow this guide to learn how.

For heat sinks with a spring on the screws: Wonder why there are springs on the heat sink screws? Do not over tighten them, the springs are there to help you apply the correct amount of pressure on to the CPU and GPU. If you tighten them all the way, it may not be the correct pressure! Leave maybe 1 mm of space, just before the screw stops turning. iFixit forgot to mention this important part, and also in the heat paste guide!!

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The Basics Of Solid State Drive (SSD)

An SSD does much the same job functionally (saving your data while the system is off, booting your system, etc.) as an HDD, but instead of a magnetic coating on top of platters, the data is stored on interconnected flash memory chips that retain the data even when there’s no power present. The chips can either be permanently installed on the system’s motherboard (like on some small laptops and ultrabooks), on a PCI/PCIe card (in some high-end workstations), or in a box that’s sized, shaped, and wired to slot in for a laptop or desktop’s hard drive (common on everything else). These flash memory chips differ from the flash memory in USB thumb drives in the type and speed of the memory. That’s the subject of a totally separate technical treatise, but suffice it to say that the flash memory in SSDs is faster and more reliable than the flash memory in USB thumb drives. SSDs are consequently more expensive than USB thumb drives for the same capacities.

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SSDs vs. hard Disk drives vs. hybrid Hard Drives

Perhaps no argument has stirred up more debate in the technology industry than the ongoing fight over flash and hard drive storage. The entire industry finds itself at a unique crossroads, where an established traditional product (hard disk) is threatened to be supplanted by the rival upstart (flash). Right now, the numbers favor hard disk storage. In 2012, more than 500 million hard disk drives were shipped out compared to only around 40 million flash drives. Even so, the number of flash drives is only expected to grow over the coming years, with flash supporters predicting 239 million flash drives shipped every year by 2016. So who will win out in the battle of flash storage vs. hard drive? The answer requires an examination of each technology, their strengths and weaknesses, and what future trends show.

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Software Setup Of Hard Drives

Once the hard drive has been setup in CMOS or appears to be detected in CMOS, the hard drive must be setup through the software. Using a bootable floppy diskette, boot from the diskette to prepare the setup: If you plan on installing MS-DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME, you need to setup the hard drive using the FDISK utility. If you plan on installing Windows NT or Windows 2000 you can utilize the Windows NT setup to create a NTFS partition or FAT32 partition if using Windows 2000.

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How is data read and stored on a hard drive?

Data sent to and from the hard drive is interpreted by the disk controller, which tells the hard drive what to do and how to move the components within the drive. When the operating system needs to read or write information, it examines the hard drive’s File Allocation Table (FAT) to determine file location and available areas. Once this has been determined, the disk controller instructs the actuator to move the read/write arm and align the read/write head. Because files are often scattered throughout the platter, the head needs to move to different locations to access all information.

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Hard Drive Encryption

Last but certainly not least is the desire in the enterprise for encryption of the whole disk drive. HGST and Seagate have a large number of details on encryption and how it works and that it has no impact on performance. Being in an enterprise environment, especially in a cloud environment or backup environment, means that the data is out of your data center being managed by someone else.

Now many of these services do provide their own encryption, but some do not. Having full disk encryption from my point of view is a must have and another major reason, due to reliability, that consumer drives should never be used for enterprise applications. Because if a hard drive gets removed from the environment it is unreadable.

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How to determine the hard drive type

Documentation from Seagate was the best, followed very closely by HGST, with WD far behind and Toshiba even farther behind. In the first part of this article, I’ll cover consumer and 4 TB enterprise drives and, later in this article, I’ll look at 2.5 inch 15K RPM drives and SSDs. (And as a reminder, HGST has been purchased by WD.)

Consumer Drives The first thing you will notice with consumer hard drives is that for many vendors there is a lack of documentation details like MTBF (mean time before failure) or MTTF (mean time to failure). This is especially true when comparing consumer drives to enterprise drives.

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Popular Hard Disk Drive Manufacturers

A hard drive is usually the size of a paperback book but much heavier. The sides of the hard drive have pre drilled, threaded holes for easy mounting in the 3.5 inch drive bay in the computer case. Mounting is also possible in a larger 5.25 inch drive bay with an adapter. The hard drive is mounted so the end with the connections faces inside the computer. The back end of the hard drive contains a port for a cable that connects to the motherboard. The type of cable used will depend on the type of drive but is almost always included with a hard drive purchase. Also here is a connection for power from the power supply.

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the different types of hard drive connections

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are starting to replace hard disk drives (HDDs) in many computers because of the clear advantages these drives have over HDD. While SSD is becoming more and more popular, HDD will continue to be in desktop computers with SSD because of the available capacity HDD offers over SSD. Most HDDs in the early 1980s were sold to PC end users as an external, add-on subsystem. The subsystem was not sold under the drive manufacturer’s name but under the subsystem manufacturer’s name such as Corvus Systems and Tallgrass Technologies, or under the PC system manufacturer’s name such as the Apple ProFile. The IBM PC/XT in 1983 included an internal 10 MB HDD, and soon thereafter internal HDDs proliferated on personal computers.

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Important Facts About Hard Drives

The hard drive is sometimes referred to as the “C drive” due to the fact that Microsoft Windows designates the “C” drive letter to the primary partition on the primary hard drive in a computer by default. While this is not a technically correct term to use, it is still common. For example, some computers have multiple drive letters (e.g. C, D, E) representing areas across one or more hard drives.

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How Data Is Stored On Hard Drives?

Data sent to and from the hard drive is interpreted by the disk controller, which tells the hard drive what to do and how to move the components within the drive. When the operating system needs to read or write information, it examines the hard drive’s File Allocation Table (FAT) to determine file location and available areas. Once this has been determined, the disk controller instructs the actuator to move the read/write arm and align the read/write head. Because files are often scattered throughout the platter, the head needs to move to different locations to access all information.

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