What type of memory is a hard disk?

Questions about hard disks' performance, issues, tips, and software.
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What type of memory is a hard disk?

Post by shravan »

It’s called non-volatile, long term storage.

It’s slow, but lasts even if power is cut. It’s also cheap for the capacity, much more so than most other “memory”. Especially compared to fast volatile RAM.

These days however, hard disks (HDD) is becoming a cheap and too slow storage device. It is now more than 50 years old technology and we’ve effectively tweaked it to as best it can be.

Physically a HDD is a set of spinning metal discs with some magnetic coating over each side of each disc. A set of “heads” sense the magnetization and adjusts it to “read” and “write” data on these. This means it needs to physically move stuff about to get to the parts where the data is stored. And mechanical movement has its limits, not to mention a head can only do one thing to one part at a time. All this combines to mean such drives cannot perform as fast as a purely electronic device could have, no matter how “optimized” you can make it.

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