Sunday, August 24, 2008

Know More Your Laptop Hard Drives

If you own a laptop, it might be useful for you to learn about the hard drive in the machine. The reason is that many hard drives might need to be upgraded for increased speed or capacity, or they might fail at some point.

We will explore 5 things you need to know about laptop hard drives so that you can upgrade or replace your hard drive if there is ever a need. Remember, laptop hard drives are more expensive than desktop units so you need to consider carefully before purchasing one.

Small Physical Size
Laptop hard drives are obviously smaller than their desktop counterparts. This is needed for mobility and you usually find laptop hard drives of thicknesses around 10 to 12 mm. That is extremely thin and suits lightweight and portable laptop models.
The smaller size reduces the capacity of laptop hard drives as well (see Point 3 below).

Lower Disk Speeds
Now, how does laptop hard drive speed measure up? Well, compared to their desktop and enterprise counterparts, laptop hard drives tend to be slower. You will usually find that a mobile hard drive spins at 5,400 rpm (although others spin with 7,200 rpm).

Hard Drive Capacity
Typical laptop hard drive capacities these days come at 100 to 200 GB. That's a lot of storage space compared to the days when you could only squeeze maybe 20 GB in laptop hard drive. Interestingly, Samsung has just released a 500 GB hard disk drive for laptops. That is amazing storage that you usually only get in desktops. Things are clearly progressing in the laptop world.

Solid State Drives
An important trend in laptop hard drives is the increasing use of solid state drives. What is a solid state drive? Well, a solid state storage device is like the thing that stores the music in your iPod nano or pen drive. It has no moving parts like a traditional hard drive, and is hence not subjected to damage due to jumps and shocks. Technology has progressed to the point where solid state drives are increasingly more popular and also more affordable. Some examples of laptops with solid state technology options are the Apple MacBook Air, the ASUS Eee PC and the Toshiba Portege R500.

Shock-Resistant Technology
One of the more recent innovations in laptop hard drives is that of shock-resistant technology. If you own an Lenovo ThinkPad, you will notice that there is an icon on the lower right corner of your screen that changes when you suddenly move the laptop.

Now, there's an accelerometer inside the laptop which monitors any sudden changes in motion. If the laptop detects it, it will instantly park the heads on the hard disk to prevent them from corrupting data. Ingenious idea, huh?

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