Hard Disk Drives- Simply a warehouse

Posted on June 11, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

INTRODUCTION:

Choosing a hard drive is the simplest but most important stage while making a purchase of a desktop pc or a laptop. Generally you’ll go for a hard drive either when you are running out of data storage space or when you are looking for a new machine with required specifications.

Hard disk drive as the name implies is hard data storage device that acts as a primary data storage unit in computer. It is mainly used to store raw data, processed, unprocessed and partially processed data files, computer programs, software and other important databases if any. It is considered to be the main storehouse of data treasure in the form of text, images, favorite music tracks and photo galleries.

Important issues to be kept in mind when going for new hard disk drive are price, speed, storage capacity, compatibility, portability, size and reliability.If you’re going for a new desktop pc or a laptop, you must thank the technocrats from corporate world who consistently strive to design PC and Laptops with disk drives and other hardware devices according to your needs.

TYPE OF HARD DISK

INTERNAL:

Generally you’ll prefer buying a pc with internal hard disk drive since they are compact, dust resistant and provides ample of free space sufficient enough to fulfill your data storage requirement. On the other side if you are looking for upgradation then issues like physical dimensions and connection interface need to be addressed. Interfaces coming from common standards are free from compatibility issues therefore disk drives with SATA, IDE or SCSI standards are upgraded with the same technology.

Internal disk drives tend to be cheaper when purchased along with PC since they are free from compatibility issues, however if you are upgrading then drives implementing IDE technology are cheaper then drives with SCSI technology. Difference in price is mainly due to the data management capabilities exhibited by these technologies. Data management includes data transfer rate, data retrieval rate, cable management, data swapping and buffer size or cache used by these technologies for efficient data management. Consequently disk drives with phasing out technology like IDE are low cost whereas disk drives armed with SCSI are on the other side of the spectrum of price range. Disk drives with SATA and equivalent configuration is the most preferred configuration because of efficient data management, high performance and affordable price range capable of meeting almost all of the user’s needs.

EXTERNAL:

External disk drives are the right choice if you are running out of space because of too large imageries, graphic files or video content on your internal disk drive eating up almost entire chunk of storage space making it difficult to accommodate more data on internal drive. Connecting an external disk drive is preferred due to simplicity of procedure and easy accessibility of storage medium.

Restoration of lost data and recovery of machine in case of emergency is another reason why external drive is preferred over internal one.

You may face a choice conflict in external drives between desktop and portable external drive because of features they provide almost in the same price range.

DESKTOP EXTERNAL DRIVE:

These drives vary in terms of speed, data storage capacity, and source of power supply. Normally desktop external drive is available in the speed range of 7200 rotation per minute to 12000 rotations per minute. Data storage space ranges from 300 GB to 1 TB and direct power supply is commonly used.

PORTABLE EXTERNAL DRIVE:

Extremely compact with speed of 5000 rotations per minute, data storage space of 10 GB to 300 GB and Firewire or USB used as a mode of power supply through the system unit.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DESKTOP AND PORTABLE EXTERNAL DRIVE AND WHICH YOU SHOULD GO FOR:

You can go for desktop external drive if you are relying on a networked environment with large downloads coming from your superior’s desks while portable external drive will suffice if requirement is just to ensure increasing the bounds of data storage.

INTERFACE:

ATA

An industry standard for connection of hard disk drive with the motherboard that uses parallel connection for data transfer. A 16 bit connection transfers 2 bytes of data in an instant. Generally computer systems with older standards follows ATA standard. A 40 pin ATA connection is used as an interface to connect to motherboard through a broad cable that transfers data simultaneously in bits. Mostly an optical drive is used to connect with ATA standard to hardware devices in the system unit.

SCSI:

SCSI interfaces are quite advanced and therefore hard disk drives armed with SCSI interfaces cost more. It transfers data in separate blocks of data streams and therefore it is considered to be more efficient than ATA standards. Mostly SCSI standards are seen in hard disk drives used in very advanced computers that employ multitasking operations.

SATA :

Similar on the lines of ATA interface, SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) gives room for faster and efficient data transfer. In technical language, SATA will provide you less seek time, less latency and fast data transmission. Most important feature of SATA is, it gives you plug n play feature. It implies you can swap among different hard disk drives without rebooting computer. This saves your time and improves your performance when you are busy in data editing and manipulation on different hard disk drives. No doubt SATA is costlier than hard disk drives with ATA interfaces.

RAID:

Redundant Array of Independent Disk (RAID) is a technology seen as a frontrunner in data management capabilities. Data Recovery, Data Mirroring, Data Backup, Backup scheduling, almost all features comes handy if you want to go for RAID, of course trading of with cost factor. Making the stream of smaller hard drives transparent to the computer Operating System through BIOS card or using PCIX card with BIOS in a networked environment can be taxing in terms of cost, more specifically if you are going for high end stream of drives with peripheral accessories.

SPEED:

Most important criterion of purchasing a new hard disk drive is speed. Unit used to measure speed of disk drive is RPM (Rotations per Minute). Generally speed of hard disk drive ranges from 5000 to 15000 RPM. Data is written over disks or read from it by means of read/write head which is magnetically charged and reads data from a given location on hard disk, the specifications of which is given to the constantly moving head through Operating System. Data is orderly arranged in a given track of a particular platter with specifications regarding sector and cylinder. Higher the speed in RPM, higher is the data access, data editing and data storing capabilities. Larger the magnitude of RPM, higher will be the price range provided other factors are held constant.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:

Either you’ll go for a new computer system with the given specifications on hard disk drive, or you may be interested in upgrading your existing disk drive. In both the cases, there are some important issues that you must consider so that you can make right decision and get value for hard earned money. Price, Speed, Portability, Warranty, Physical Dimensions and Reliability are some of them. Budget is the guiding beacon along the path of which you consider other issues already mentioned. Speed and portability, being the most important among them. Let me guide you in some other vital issues as well.

WARRANTY:

Samsung, Microtek, Sony, HP, IBM, Hitachi, you may consider buying any one of these brands but you must take a serious note of the warranty that brand offers with the required features mentioned in your manual.

SUPPORT:

After sales service is another important feature you must take a look at so as to avoid unnecessary headache if you’re in the middle of losing your data due to sudden abnormal behavior of your machine.

INCLUDED COMPONENTS:

Whether you are buying new computer system or going for upgradation of an existing machine, some accessories always accompany these gadgets. You must make sure that vendor has made required arrangements to deliver all necessary accessories including Hard Disk Drive Rail, Operation and Installation Manual, Parallel or Serial Cable for connection and compact diskette for installation of hard drive. Absence of any one of these accessories, may hamper smooth installation or upgradation of your machine.

INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL TRANSFER RATES:

Transfer rate refers to acceptance of command on specifications of location of data on hard drive, requisite adjustment in read/write head over the given platter with required configurations of track, sector and cylinder, retrieval of data and its transmission to the intermediate cache for further processing. Transfer rate varies for internal or external disk drive depending upon the technology used and medium deployed for data transmission. More advanced the technology, higher is the complexity in calculation with a warranty for high end efficiency and performance. This results in higher price for a value and therefore your own data processing requirement is most important deciding factor.

SMART:

It is basically an industry standard based on some mathematical formulae to detect potential problem in hard disk drive and give necessary intimation to the user to avoid data loss if any and take suitable action for recovery of hard disk drive from failure. Manufacturers make this technology available to the customer through standard software. Problems like unforeseen failure of Hard disk drive may be avoided with these standard technologies but by parting with necessary value.

FORM FACTOR, POWER CONSUMPTION AND REVOLUTION:

With variations in technology and one overtaking another at the speed of light, there is strong competition among manufacturers to deliver better quality to their customers. Everyday new features are being incorporated into the product to capture far reaching imaginations of customers. Daily new technologies are emerging with a promise to deliver better product to you. No doubt the day is very close when not only hard disk drives but entire computer will be an integrated, automated, self controlled unit of human being .

PRICE RANGE: Price of disk drives depends upon the interface, capacity, portability, physical dimensions, forward and backward compatibility.

READY TO PURCHASE:

Make sure that you are buying a brand which is reliable and have its own share in the market. Some popular brands in Hard Disk Drives includes Samsung, Sony, Hitachi, Microtek, Intel 510 Series, Seagate, Real hard disk drives and others. You’re sure to make a best deal in hard disk if you have read this review before going for a new one.

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