Types of Computer Hard Disk Drives

Updated on August 10, 2018
Patkay profile image

Patrick, a Computer Technician, is a dedicated writer who wishes to make the world better by informing individuals who seek more knowledge.

Computer Hard Disk Drives

Computers rely on hard disk drives (HDDs) to store data permanently. They are storage devices used to save and retrieve digital information that will be required for future reference.

Hard drives are non-volatile, meaning that they retain data even when they do not have power. The information stored remains safe and intact unless the hard drive is destroyed or interfered with.

The information is stored or retrieved in a random access manner as opposed to sequential access. This implies that blocks of data can be accessed at any time they are required without going through other data blocks.

IBM 350 RAMAC, capacity 5Mb

The IBM 350 Disk File was developed under the code-name RAMAC by an IBM San Jose team led by Reynold Johnson
The IBM 350 Disk File was developed under the code-name RAMAC by an IBM San Jose team led by Reynold Johnson | Source

Hard Disk Drives Has Stood the Test of Time

Hard disk drives were introduced in 1956 by IBM. At the time, they were being used with general purpose mainframes and minicomputers. Like other electronic devices, these have witnessed numerous technological advancements over the years. This is in terms of capacity, size, shape, internal structure, performance, interface, and modes of storing data.

These numerous changes have made HDDs here to stay, not like other devices that became obsolete the moment they are introduced in the market.

Hard Drive Types

Currently, we can group hard drives into four types:

  • Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA)
  • Serial ATA (SATA)
  • Small Computer System Interface (SCSI)
  • Solid State Drives (SSD)

Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment

These were the first types of hard disk drives and they made use of the Parallel ATA interface standard to connect to computers. These types of drives are the ones we refer to as Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) and Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics (EIDE) drives.

These PATA drives were introduced by Western Digital back in 1986. They provided a common drive interface technology for connecting hard drives and other devices to computers. Data transfer rate can go up to 133MB/s and a maximum of 2 devices can be connected to a drive channel. Most of the motherboards have a provision of two channels, thus a total of 4 EIDE devices can be connected internally.

They make use of a 40 or 80 wire ribbon cable transferring multiple bits of data simultaneously in parallel. These drives store data by the use of magnetism. The internal structure is one made of mechanical moving parts. They have been superseded by serial ATA.

An EIDE Hard Disk Drive

A hard disk drive (PATA type)
A hard disk drive (PATA type) | Source

Serial ATA Storage Drives

These hard drives have replaced the PATA drives in desktop and laptop computers. The main physical difference between the two is the interface, although their method of connecting to a computer is the same. Here are some advantages of SATA Hard Disk Drives. Worth noting is that their capacities vary a lot and so does the prices. When buying a disk drive, you need to know its storage capacity and how much storage you want.

  • SATA drives can transfer data faster than PATA types by using serial signaling technology.
  • SATA cables are thinner and more flexible than PATA cables.
  • They have a 7-pin data connection, with cable limit of 1 meter.
  • Disks do not share bandwidth because there is only one disk drive allowed per SATA controller chip on the computer motherboard.
  • They consume less power. They only require 250 mV as opposed to 5V for PATA.

Interface of SATA Drive

A SATA Hard Disk Drive Pin Out
A SATA Hard Disk Drive Pin Out | Source

Small Computer System Interface

These are quite similar to IDE hard drives but they make use of the Small Computer System Interface to connect to the computer. SCSI drives can be connected internally or externally. Devices that are connected in a SCSI have to be terminated at the end. Here are some of their advantages.

  • They are faster.
  • They are very reliable.
  • Good for 24/7 operations.
  • Have a better scalability and flexibility in arrays.
  • Well-adapted for storing and moving large amounts of data.

Solid State Drives

These are the latest in drive technology that we have in the computer industry. They are totally different from the other drives in that they do not consist of moving parts. They also do not store data using magnetism. Instead, they make use of flash memory technology. They make use of integrated circuits or semiconductor devices to store data permanently, at least until they are erased. Here are some of their advantages.

  • Faster data access.
  • Less susceptible to shock.
  • Lower access times and latency.
  • Durability.
  • Less power usage.

A Solid State Drive (SSD)

Solid State Drive (SSD)
Solid State Drive (SSD) | Source

How to Identify Which Type Hard Drive You Have

Which type of a hard disk drive do you prefer?

See results

© 2012 Patrick Kamau

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      8 days ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hello Kiprop. Most of these Acer Mini Laptops come with a 250 or 500 GB hard disk drives. It is possible to upgrade or change the hard disk as long as you replace with the correct type. In this case, it is not possible that the machine has a 10 GB hard disk.

    • profile image

      Kiprop 

      9 days ago

      I have a friend who has an acer mini laptop. There's a certain technician who told her that it's 10GB hard disk cannot be replaced with a larger hdd..is it true?

    • profile image

      smita 

      2 weeks ago

      Latest technology of hard disk drive

    • profile image

      Shri tijare(MH india) 

      2 months ago

      What is the best hard disk drive

    • profile image

      3 months ago

      can a Sata be replaced with a solid state in a labtop?

    • profile image

      skzed 

      3 months ago

      which type of hard is toshiba dynabook ss s21 using and where can i get it in Nigeria

    • profile image

      KRISHNA KUMAR 

      5 months ago

      is that possible to use replace SDD in the place of SCSI

    • profile image

      WIN NAING 

      6 months ago

      can you tell me about ram

    • profile image

      WIN NAING 

      6 months ago

      can you tell me more about PATA drives and also RAM

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      7 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      It is a type of a hard disk, not a part of a hard disk. SSD is a solid-state storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently. SSD technology primarily uses electronic interfaces compatible with traditional block input/output (I/O) hard disk drives (HDDs), which permit simple replacements in common application

    • profile image

      Rupesh 

      7 months ago

      Is SSD a part of hdd ??

    • profile image

      miriam 

      9 months ago

      helpful

    • profile image

      vivek 

      11 months ago

      Also display use full video thanX

    • profile image

      chwechwe gathekia 

      12 months ago

      ssd are less susceptible to shock

    • profile image

      jai parkash 

      13 months ago

      ssd drives are best for using all people

    • profile image

      Matthew 

      15 months ago

      We now also have M.2 SATA.

      NVMe & NGFF.

      Much quicker data rate!

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      lucy patrick, thanks for reading and commenting. I am glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      lucy patrick 

      5 years ago

      i like your hub. Thank's patkay.

    • Patkay profile imageAUTHOR

      Patrick Kamau 

      5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks njeri p, for reading and commenting. Glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      njeri p 

      5 years ago

      best description patkay. useful

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)