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What's a HDD - Basic Description Of A Mechanical Hard Drive

HDD Basics

A hard disk drive is a computer device that allows data to be stored permanently. A hard drive (HDD), stores data even when it is powered down making it non-volatile, an example of volatile memory would be RAM which does lose data when it is powered down.

Parts Of The Hard Disk Drive

  • ​​​​Read/write head(s) - Just as the name suggests the heads are the physical part of the disk that writes data to the platter surface, reads the data already written to the platters or deletes the data on the platters.
  • Actuator arm - The actuator arm is the part of the disk which holds the read write heads.
  • Case/chassis - The chassis is the metal casing which contains all the internal parts of the disk as well and holding the external circuit board.
  • Spindle - For mechanical hard disks the spindle holds the platters and allows them to spin at high speed.
  • Platter(s) - The platters are the disks contained within the hard disk normally made using aluminium or in some cases glass that contains a ferrous surface which holds magnetic charge which is how the data is stored on them.
  • Circuit board - A printed circuit board which contains chips and other electronic components which control the hard drive as well as the interface that connects it to a computer.

How Do They Save Data?

Data is written to a hard disk in the form if a magnetic signal in the surface of the platters, platters are broken down to specific areas.

How Does It Connect To The Computer?

Hard drives connect to a computer using a bus through an interface most often IDE or SATA although there are other interfaces such as SCSI and Fibre Channel.

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