|How A Hard Drive Operates
The basic structure of hard drive design has changed very little in the last 55 Years. The hard drive contains a stack of rotating magnetic platters. When information is needed to be read or written the drive read head goes to that section of the disk and pulls the information as the disk spins. The storage space of a hard drive is measured in Gigabytes (GB) or Terabytes (TB) (1 Terabyte is 1000 Gigabytes). The RPM of a drive tells you how fast the platters are spinning in the drive. The common rotational speed for modern desktop hard drives is either 5900 or 7200RPM. With the advent of SSD drives, the market for 10,000 RPM drives has virtually gone away.
(IDE 1986 ~2003) - From 1986 to 2003 The IDE (Parallel ATA) was the standard connection mechanism for desktop computer hard drives. A 2" wide flat cable was connected to the motherboard with up to two drives on the one cable.
(SATA 2003 ~2007) In these drives a cable carries the signal directly from each drive to a port on the motherboard. All versions of SATA drives can work on all SATA interface types, but at the speed of the slowest drive or interface (SATA2 / SATA II 2007 ~2010) - These second generation SATA drives pre-sorted the way the information is read from the drive in a much more intelligent way. This more intelligent staging of the information allowed the performance of the drive to improve.
* If you see anyone selling a SATA or SATA 2 drive it a USED hard drive, pulled from salvage / retired computers. These drives are available in bulk for just a few dollars per drive, but they can be very unreliable and we strongly recommend you avoid these used drives.
(SATA3 2010 ~ Present) - In 2010 SATA3 / SATA III drives and interfaces were introduced. Both the throughput of the interface and the way the information is sorted has again been improved. The drives we sell are brand new SATA3 type drives.
Used SATA 3 drives are becoming more common, so getting a SATA 3 drive does not guarantee it is new. Manufacturers now clearly put the manufacturing date of the drive on the face of the drive and all of the drives we sell will have a manufacturing date in the last few months.
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