Saturday, February 16, 2008

Say hi to your computer - part 4 - the hard drive

Today, we're going to cover the hard drive.  As I mentioned before, your hard drive is like your desk drawer.  The bigger it is, the more info it can hold (duh).

There are 2 main types out there right now - SATA and IDE.   You don't have to know what they stand for.  (Why is the world full of so many acronyms anyways???)

SATA is faster.  You can tell what a SATA drive is versus IDE b/c it says so on the box.   Also, the connectors are the thinner, about 1.5 cm, compared to about the 3 inch thick IDE wires.
Most new computers come with SATA these days.  

Ok, let me tell you about a 3rd.  I kind of lied.  The latest rage are SSD hard drives.  I believe it stands for Solid State Disk.  It's just a fancy term for the kind of flash memory that your digital camera or usb drive uses.  It's faster overall and it doesn't spin like your regular SATA and IDE hard drive, so it's supposed to last longer.

The only caveat is that it's still very expensive technology, so it will cost you an arm and a leg more.  (you can thank me for those exact amounts later!)

Also, hard drives (the SATA, IDE) spin in different speeds.  There are 3 main speeds:   4200 rpm, 5400 rpm, and 7200 rpm.   The faster they spin, the faster your data will read/write from them.

Typically the slower ones in laptops, b/c the slower the speed, the less hot it is.  The faster it is, the hotter it gets.  It's just physics!

Often, you'll read some reviewer or something like that raving about how fast a laptop  is, but complaining that it gets hot.  You can't have both, unless you have some loud fan inside cooling it off.  That laptop probably has a fast processor and/or a fast hard drive.

That's it for hard drives!  Maybe I should prepare a certificate to hand out once this hardware portion is all done!

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