Hard Drives

Posted by Dennis February 23rd, 2012

It makes me giggle when my customers call their computer a “hard drive”.  Your hard drive is a paperback book sized unit INSIDE the PC, and it’s where all the software (and your stuff) is stored.  Laptops have similar, but smaller drives.  One of the most common laptop failures I run across is a failed hard drive, often from vibration.  See, these drives are mechanical and have a tiny little magnetic “head” that moves around constantly across a spinning platter of zeros and ones.  It’s a VERY precise operation, and it doesn’t take much of a bump to damage the head or platters.  Some PC makers have tried to stop this problem by adding accelerometers that can sense when you drop it, and lock the heads in place.  Others make “ruggedized” laptops that have lots of rubber/padding around the drive to dampen vibration.  But the latest, greatest thing out there is called a Solid State Hard Drive.  It’s not mechanical; the storage is all memory chips, with no spinning platters.  They are incredibly fast and NOT sensitive to vibration.  I’ve had a chance to upgrade a few laptops to solid state, and I was VERY impressed.  The only downside is the higher price.  Right now you’ll pay about twice as much for around half the storage if you buy solid state.  This should change over time, and I expect to see a lot more laptops shipping with this feature in the next couple of years.   Next time:  PC prices are going UP…

One Response

  1. […] about Hard Drives.  I’ve written posts about the drive shortage, backing up, and solid state drives.  But there’s a whole new fleet of External USB (or networked) drives that deserve a closer […]

Trackback URL for this entry