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Hard Disk Drive Design. By Daniel Ofori-Darko. What is a Hard Drive?. Hard Drive (HDD): Device located in a computer tower/case that stores and retrieves program files and data files; also known as the C:drive. . History of the HDD. Computer Tower.

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Hard disk drive design

Hard Disk Drive Design

By Daniel Ofori-Darko

What is a hard drive
What is a Hard Drive?

Hard Drive (HDD): Device located in a computer tower/case that stores and retrieves program files and data files; also known as the C:drive.

History of the HDD

Computer Tower

- Developed by IBM in order to create random access files; with high capacity and random access to data.

- In 1956 it was commercialized; the IBM 305 RAMAC

How does it work
How does it work?

  • - Platter holds magnetic medium

  • - Magnetic recording material is layered onto aluminum or glass disc, the platter is then polished to a mirror-like surface

  • - Magnetic head on the actuator arm glides over the disk to read/write

  • - Controller electronics attached to the side control the read/write mechanism and the motor that provides the spin

Connection to pc etc
Connection to PC & etc

  • - Using the OS (Linux, Windows, Mac), the microprocessor (CPU) requests a file at the activation of a program

  • - Motherboard has everything connected and contains basic software; helps transfer command.

  • - That command is sent to the HDD, which finds the data, and simultaneously sends it to allow reading and writing of data.

How it works information processing
How it works : Information Processing

  • Information on the hard disk is in small magnetic domains; possible due to precision of platter and speed of medium

  • Data that is stored on the HDD is stored in files (strings of bytes), when a program running requests a file, the arm of the HDD retrieves those exact bytes and sends them to the CPU at the same time.

  • Electronics also assemble the magnetic domains into bytes for reading, and turn them back to domains for writing.

Typical specifications
Typical Specifications

  • Capacity: # of bytes a HDD contains, started with 5MB, can now be up to 4TB as of 2012.

  • - 1TB = 1000GB, 1GB = 1000MB, 1MB = 1000KB, etc

  • Data Rate: # of bytes/second to deliver to CPU, typically 5-40 MB/s.

  • Seek Time: Time between CPU’s request & send time, often 10-20 milliseconds.

  • Size of HDD is commonly 3.5 inches in desktops, and 2.5 inches in laptops.

Future trends
Future Trends

New Features

- Actuator head could land on a special area, External HDD using USB connection,


- Byte Capacity, weight, aesthetics, faster data rate and seek time,


- Surpass 5TB barrier (density), heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR); enables different use of materials as the magnetic storage media, faster data rate and seek time, shrink in disk size, Areal density (AD); more bytes per inch without HDD destruction, idle usage (conservation).

Additional info
Additional Info

Price as of 2013

- $1.3 per GB

Leading Manufacturers/Products

- Seagate, Toshiba, Western Digital

- Churning Sound: As the arm of the HDD moves back and forth rapidly, it sets vibrations that our ears hear as sounds.

- Similar to how a speaker works, which moves a lightweight cone back and forth hundreds of times per second to generate sound.


  • Pcworld/com/article/127105/article.html

  • http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/computer-parts#1TC=windows-7

  • http://computer.howstuffworks.com/hard-disk.htm

  • http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/audio-music/cassette.htm

  • http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/technology-explained-how-does-a-hard-drive-work-nb/

  • http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57577479-1/seagate-ships-4tb-desktop-hdd/

  • http://www.extremetech.com/computing/153879-storage-pricewatch-hdds-back-to-pre-flood-prices-ssds-grow-as-gb-holds-steady

  • http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Hard-drive-capacity-emphasized-over-performancefor-future-enterprise-hard-drives

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/smr-hamr-tech-for-future-hdds

  • http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_part_of_the_computer_is_the_brain