Tech

What’s inside a hard drive?

Hard-disk drives (HDDs) have been around since IBM conceived
of the need for extra computer storage in 1956. A hard disk
uses magnetised platters made of aluminium, ceramics or
even glass to store data. These are typically rotated at 5,400 or 7,200
revolutions per minute for drives in home PCs. An arm that hovers just
above the platters reads data from and writes data to the disk. SSDs,
meanwhile, are built very much like the USB fl ash drives that have
become popular over the last decade. There are no moving parts in an
SSD, which helps it to access data signifi cantly faster. SSDs use a type
of memory called NAND, which is non-volatile: instead of writing a
magnetic pattern to a ceramic substrate, it stores data as an electrical
signal that it retains even after the computer is switched off . Each SSD
features a small processor called a controller, which performs the same
role as the read/write arm of an HDD.