Speed The data transfer speed of a computer hard drive is determined by a combination of mechanical and electronic factors. Thanks to technological advances in recent years, hard drives in 2010 can transfer data about 60,000 times faster than early 1950s disks. History
The first computer hard drive was produced by International Business Machines. The IBM 305 unit had a data transfer rate of 100,000 bits per second. Hard drives produced in 2010 that often come equipped with a faster SATA interface can transfer data at speeds of up to 6 billion bits per second.
A hard drive has mechanical parts that rotate the inner disk platters and move the read heads back and forth across the platter’s surface. These mechanical operations add a few milliseconds to each data transfer. While this delay is minuscule for a single transfer, it adds up over millions of transfers.
Hard drives keep frequently used blocks of data in a fast random access memory (RAM) bank called a cache. If the drive is able to access data from the cache, instead of having to retrieve data from the hard drive, it can avoid mechanical delays and transfer data much more quickly.
The electronics and cables that connect the hard drive to the computer set the upper speed limit of the drive’s transfer rate. Computers use several standard interfaces, such as SCSI , IDE, SATA and .
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