Your computer’s hard drive is a mechanical system that operates by reading data from a flat turntable disk at high speed. Usually, a small delay occurs as the drive searches the spinning disk for specific data. Computer scientists refer to this small delay as rotational latency. disk rotation
On the hard drive, a magnetic read-write head mounts on a finger-like mechanism just above a metal spinning disk. When the computer requests data from disk, it has to wait for the data on disk to “come close” to the head position.
The faster the disk spins, the shorter the waiting time for the computer. The hard disk drive spinning at 7,200 revolutions per minute has an average latency of 4.2 milliseconds. That’s about half the time it takes for the disc to turn a revolution.
While 4.2 milliseconds seems inconsequential, a computer can process thousands of data requests. The computer’s CPU is fast enough to keep up with the workload, but the hard drive’s spin latency creates a bottleneck.
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