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Choosing a Computer Hard Drive

An electro-mechanical data storage device that uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital information is referred to the hard drive. A hard disk uses one or more rigid rapidly rotating disks that are coated with magnetic material. A hard disk, hard disk drive and fixed disk are the other names of a hard drive. Platters or rotating disks are paired with magnetic heads that are usually arranged on a moving actuator arm that reads and writes data to the platter surfaces. An actuator is a component machine that results to moving and controlling a mechanism or system. So that the actuator can work it requires a control signal and a source of energy.

An example of a non-volatile storage is the hard drive which retains stored data even when powered off. Even if there is no power to run the computer, non-volatile memory is able to retrieve stored information. Non-volatile memory are made up of various examples which include; flash memory, hard disk drive, optical discs, floppy disks, read only memory and ferroelectric memory. Traditional non-volatile disk storage or storage in non-volatile memory chips are the classifications of non-volatile memory. However there are performance characteristics of a hard drive which are seek time, rotational latency, bit rate and defragmentation. Based on the number of blocks transferred, bit rate or data transfer rate is resulted from the creation of delay.

Moving of related items to physically proximate areas on the disk by minimizing delay of the retrieval data is defragmentation. Automatic occurring of defragmentation is based on the type of computer. Automatic occurrence of defragmentation reduces the access of delays but performance of the computer is temporarily inhibited.

Occurrence of rotational latency is due to the desired disk sector is not directly under the head when the data is transferred. A disk sector is a sub division of a track on a magnetic disk or optical disc. In a hard drive the disk sector is the minimum storage unit. Another performance characteristic of the hard drive is the seek time which is a measure of how long it takes the head assembly to travel to the track of the disc that contains data.

In addition to the performance characteristics price, power consumption, operating and non-operating shock resistance and audible noise are also considered. In order to buy a hard drive there are certain guidelines that need to be followed through. The interface types are PATA and SATA and need to be chosen correctly. PATA interfaces are good for repairs or upgrading of systems that lack SATA interfaces while SATA interface is good for repairs or upgrading of systems that has SATA interfaces. Choosing a hard drive model that has a large cache is important as they use the cache to increase performance.

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