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An Introduction To Modern Storage Devices

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An Introduction To Modern Storage Devices There are many ways of storing information and data for use with modern computer systems and new developments are constantly being made. Many changes have occurred since the first personal computers were developed, allowing a lot more information to be stored, and on storage devices which are generally a lot smaller and easier to handle than methods of storage previously used. In the past two or three years, there has been a massive change in the emphasis that has been placed on certain storage devices. Whereas 3.5" floppy discs were practically the only commercially available storage medium available to the public there are now many more on offer. The biggest change has perhaps been that writeable and rewriteable CD's are now widely available to the public. For many people, CD-R's have now replaced the use of floppy discs, as they offer an inexpensive way of storing large amounts of data. A typical floppy disc stores 1.44 Mb's of data, whereas a CD-R stores 650 Mb and both offer a similarly priced product. Some examples of modern storage mediums are: * Mini Disc * Tape Drive * MP3 Card * Hard Disk Drives * CD ROM * Zip Disk * DVD The major advances in the ability to store larger amounts of data is not only desireable, but essential as computers become more complex each day. As computing technology develops, much more complex information can be stored requiring much more storage space. ...read more.


The first hard disk drive designed in the 5.25" form factor used in the first PCs was the Seagate ST-506. It featured four heads and a 5 MB capacity. Below is a diagram which illustrates the evolution of the IBM harddisk from 1984 to date. Modern Hard Disk Drives Since we started using hard disk drives, there have been many advances in the technology within the computing and manufacturing industry. This has led to major improvements within the manufacture of hard disk drives although the basic principles and operating procedures of hard disks have remained unchanged since the early 80's. Most PC's now come with a minimum of 10GB of hard disk drive storage space, and it can be as much as around 73 GB. An image of a modern hard disk can be clearly seen below, including labelling illustrating the most important features. How Do Hard Disks Work? A hard disk uses round, flat disks called platters, coated on both sides with a special material designed to store information as magnetic patterns. The platters are mounted on a spindle. The platters rotate on the spindle at high speed, powered by a special spindle motor. Special heads are mounted onto sliders and used to either record information onto the disk or read from it. The sliders are mounted onto actuator arms, which are positioned over the surface of the disk and controlled by a device called an actuator. The surface of each platter on the disk can hold tens of billions of individual bits of data. ...read more.


The following table summarises the most common platter sizes used in PC's Platter Diameter Typical Form Factor Application 5.12 5.25" Oldest PCs, used in servers through the mid-1990s and some retail drives in the mid-to-late 1990s; now obsolete 3.74 3.5" Standard platter size for the most common hard disk drives used in PCs 3.0 3.5" High-end 10,000 RPM drives 2.5 2.5", 3.5" Laptop drives (2.5" form factor); 15,000 RPM drives (3.5" form factor) 1.8 PC Card (PCMCIA) PC Card (PCMCIA) drives for laptops 1.3 PC Card (PCMCIA) Originally used on hand-held PCs (no longer made) 1.0 CompactFlash Digital cameras, hand-held PCs and other consumer electronic devices Researchers at IBM are currently developing a new substance that could be used in the manufacture of hard disk drive platters in the future. Instead of using metallic film on the surface, a solution containing organic molecules and iron and platinum particles if used on the platters. This solution is spread out and heated. This causes the iron and platinum particles to arrange themselves into a natural grid of crystals, with each crystal able to hold a magnetic charge. This has the potential to increase the areal density capability of the recording media of hard disks by as much as 100 times. It is still in the development stages, and advances still need to be made in the read/write head capabilities of a hard disk before it can be put into commercial use. BSc Business Information Systems - I.T Assignment - David Davies Page 1 of 6 ...read more.

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