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What we store on them has also changed, and as the files you store now are much bigger and different than what you have stored 20 years ago, you need greater storage space.
The invention of the hard drive in 1957 was a revolution for computer storage. We, the modern users are enjoying the fruits of such an invention.
The first hard drive had a capacity of 3.75 MB. And today, we have drives that can store as much as 15 TB of data. While you calculate the difference between the two, let us tell you what a hard drive is. Check out SSD storage details.
What is HDD Storage?
The moving read/writer arm, more like the hand of a clock, has a transducer at its head that hovers over the rotating series of disks inside, and data is retrieved or stored randomly.
This means that parts of the data can be stored or removed in any order, irrespective of how they were put in initially. There are two sizes available, 2.5” and 3.5.
Modern hard drives come at different rotational speeds like 5400 RPM, 7200 RPM. The faster the rotation speed, the better it is.
Importance of HDD Storage
The hard disks were the primary forms of storage earlier and are still so for many computer users since they are non-volatile, meaning that the data remains in them even when the computer is shut off.
Thus, your data once you store it is permanent as long as you don’t delete it or there is some problem in the drive.
Hard drives can be used to store all sorts of data including system files, various software data, games, files, movies, videos, etc and pretty much every sort of digital information.
How Does HDD Work?
Every hard drive functions in the same way and has a similar set of components, both moving and non-moving ones.
These include the set of discs where the data is stored, an electromagnet, the head that works to read, or write anything on the disk, a dc motor, etc.
Now, these discs are placed one over the other, much like a stack. They have a thin layer of magnetic metal grains over them.
A certain number of these grains together form very small patterns and each of these patterns is called a bit, the smallest unit of data. 1024 of these bits make a byte, 1024 bytes make a kilobyte (Kb), and so on.
So these bits are stored in the form of binary code (0s and 1s) since the computer doesn’t understand language as we do. A combination of these 0s and 1s forms each letter of the English Alphabet.
Each of the magnetic grain in a pattern has either of two directions, thus indicating a 0 or 1. The data is recorded by transforming the collection of bits into an electric current fed through the electromagnetic.
The metal grains’ direction of magnetization is thus changed by the field formed as a result.
The transducer recognizes whether a bit is a 1 or a 0. The head then takes all those bits and transforms them into a readable form. This, in turn, shows up on your display as a word or an image, or whatever else as the case may be.
Yes, although it seems like it, the metal head never actually touches the surface of the discs. It hovers above, and a space of about 5nm is maintained between the head and the disc’s surface.
The Pros of HDD
The rate at which data is accessed in these drives might be relatively slow, but they have many advantages over SSDs. Let’s see what those are:
1. Large Capacity
The hard drives usually have a large capacity to store data.
Thus, while a 240 GB hard drive might yet be found, you can easily buy a 2 or 4 TB hard drive at a pocket-friendly price.
This brings us to the next advantage.
Even the high capacity hard drives are relatively cheaper when compared to SSDs.
The average PC already comes with a 500 GB drive at least, and even if it doesn’t you can buy both internal and external ones at a nominal price.
A 2 TB hard drive, for instance, is available at about $60. Yes, they are that cheap.
Hard drives are the very long-lasting modes of storage.
A hard drive has thousands of reading/write cycles and therefore can last up to 5 years or even more.
4. Can be connected to even when the PC is dead
Suppose due to some reason your PC breaks down. Does this mean you will lose your data? Not at all.
Unless specifically the hard drive has been damaged, you can easily connect the hard drive to another computer using a connector and still find all of your data intact.
Not only that, but there are also yet other methods of collecting data from such a hard drive using BIOS or data recovering software.
The Cons of HDD
5. Not very Durable
Hard drives are not the sturdiest modes of data storage today. They cannot usually withstand a fall or a shock and still function.
This is not much of a problem for desktops, but for laptops, the risks of losing your data are great as you will take it out with you while traveling or might be working outdoors.
6. Slower than SSDs
While a hard drive’s speed is measured in RPMs (rotation per minute), SSDs have no such limitations and thus systems with an SSD drive are much faster.
7. Make noise while operating
If you use a hard disk, you might have noticed a slight noise coming from your computer when you are working on it.
This noise is from the hard drive, which is created as it rotates. While this is not extremely uncomfortable, many prefer to work with quieter SSDs.
8. Need more Power
A hard drive requires more power to function than an SSD.
The constant rotation of the disk consumes more power which might not seem too much at first, but in long term usage, you might have to spend a lot.
Rather, it is better to switch to an SSD initially.
9. Bulky Size
Large capacity HDDs often are a bit too big. This makes it a problem to carry or use them in smaller notebooks and laptops.
This is why many laptops use SSDs so that their lightweight and compact size can be maintained.
In the current scenario, hard drives cannot be forgotten because of their weaknesses. As long as they are available at a cheap price, they would be worth buying.