What is a hard disk?

A hard disk usually consists of two or more rigid metal platters enclosed in a hermitically sealed case. Like a floppy disk or cassette tape, a hard disk stores data as magnetic patterns. A hard disk contains two or more platters (rigid disks) coated with iron oxide or special metal plating. Each platter has two sides or surface and has its own read/write head. Physical portions of hard disk 1. tracks – narrow concentric circles 2. sectors – segments or division of tracks 3. sides How a hard disk works? The main element of a standard read/write head is a tiny magnet. One design is made of one or more turns of copper wire on a ring of ferrite; the ferrite core has a hairline gap facing the disk. When the current is passed through the coil, the disk surface under the gap is magnetized, and a bit is written to the disk. The direction of the magnetization, from north to south or from south to north, depends on the polarity of the current. The disk controller is in charge of rapidly Changing the polarity in order to write either 0s or 1s. To read information from the disk, the device’s electronic sense the current caused by the passage of the magnetized sections of the disk as it spins beneath the gap. The electronic sense the change in polarity to the decode the difference between a 1 and 0. The signal pulses are amplified the converted from analog waves detected by the read/write head, and then converted to precise digital pulses of 0 and 1. The next step is to separate the data pulses from the clock pulses. A clock signal is a string of precisely spaced pulses that serve as timing references for other signals including drive control and positioning. The disk controller examines the sector address, and if it matches the address the computer is looking for, the processing continues. If not, the data is ignored. If the data is found to be okay, the stream of data bits must be converted from serial form-one bit behind the other-to the parallel form in which it will move across the computer’s bus. On IDE and SCSI drives this conversion is performed

by the drive’s integrated electronics in a circuit called a data separator; on most other designs, the data moves form the drive to the controller as serial information and is converted by the controller. Hard disk controller Hard disk controllers perform two functions: 1. giving instructions to the hard disk 2. transferring data between the computer system and the hard disk Types of hard disk controllers 1. Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI) - ideal for network servers, workstations, and other high performance system. 2. Integrated Drive Electronic (IDE) - an extension of ST506/412 interface, has controller circuitry mounted on the drive itself and does not require a controller card. 3. ST506/412- earliest and the most common controller. 4. Enhanced Small Device Interface (ESDI) - does not require separate controller card. 5. 6. Serial Advance Technology Attachment Parallel Advance Technology Attachment (PATA)

Data storage encoding schemes 1. Modified Frequency Modulation (MFM)- typical access time is 28 ms. 2. Run Length Limited (RLL) – converts hard disk capacity by 50% of the original capacity. 3. Extended Run Length Limited (ERLL) – creates greater storage than RLL. Interleave Tells how many sectors fall between two sectors that the hard disk reads or writes consecutively on a track. Eg. 4:1, 3:1 Hard disk type 1. half-height 5 ¼ inches (20 mb – 400mb) 2. Full-height 5 ¼ inches (60-2gb) 3. Half-height 3 ½ inches (500mb plus)

4. Full-height 3 ½ inches (1gb) 5. Non-standard size (1.8, 2, and 2.5 inches) 6. Hard disk cards- 3 ½ inch hard disk drive directly mounted on its controller card.

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