Hard Disk

A hard disk, also referred to as a disk drive or hard drive, is a magnetic disk for storing computer data. It uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital data using one or more rigid, rapidly rotating platters coated with magnetic material. The platters are paired with magnetic heads that read and write data to the platter surfaces. Data is randomly accessed, meaning individual blocks of data can be retrieved and stored in any order. Hard disks contrast with floppy disks, as they are faster and hold more data than floppy disks.

Hard disks were introduced by IBM in 1956 and were the dominant secondary storage devices for general purpose computers in the early 1960s. Today, computers typically come with a hard disk that contains anywhere from billions to trillions of bytes of storage. The rotation speed of a hard disk in these computers can vary anywhere between 5,400 rotations per minute (rpm) and 7,200 rpm. Hard disks with higher rpm are normally found in high-end workstations and enterprises.

Hard disks vs. solid state drives (SSD)

Solid state drives (SSDs) have led to a decline in hard disk use and popularity. An SSD is a high-performance, plug-and-play storage device that requires no moving parts. It is faster, more durable, and uses less power than a hard disk. A major drawback of the SSD is it’s more expensive in terms of dollar per gigabyte.

An SSD fits into the same external and internal drive bay of a hard disk. While hard disks still exist in cheaper and older systems, SSDs are now used in most mainstream systems, such as the MacBook Pro. They are much faster and will boot in less than a minute. A hard disk takes time to speed up, and will almost always boot slower, launch slower, and transfer files slower. Hard disks provide much more space for the price, so it’s better for those needing high capacity.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

Related Articles

Special Character

A special character is one that is not considered a number or letter. Symbols, accent marks, and punctuation marks are considered special characters. Similarly,...

Software

Table of contents What is Software? History of Software Software vs. Hardware Software vs. Hardware Comparison Chart What Types of Software Exist? Saas vs....

Email Address

What is an Email Address? An email address is a designation for an electronic mailbox that sends and receives messages, known as email, on a...

Information Technology (IT) Architect

The information technology architect applies IT resources to meet specific business requirements. The role requires a high degree of technical expertise as well as...

Geotargeting

Geotargeting is a method of delivering data or content to users based on...

Agile Project Management

Agile project management enables business teams to approach their projects and tasks with...

Private 5G Network

A private 5G network is a private local area network (LAN) that utilizes...