TechnobabbleOur world is quickly moving from “just about anything” to digital. Our songs are no longer on tapes or discs, our movies are not on VHS or DVD, pictures are no longer backed up with negatives, our television can be recorded and viewed later with nothing but a small cable box.
By: Jason Ogaard, The Republican Eagle
-- Editor’s note: This is the third of a four-part series on memory, central processing units and hard drives.
Our world is quickly moving from “just about anything” to digital. Our songs are no longer on tapes or discs, our movies are not on VHS or DVD, pictures are no longer backed up with negatives, our television can be recorded and viewed later with nothing but a small cable box.
The list goes on and on. It seems all of our personal lives, from consuming entertainment to recording moments of our lives, is moving to (if not already in) the digital realm. For that reason I am writing about hard drives, a rather simple concept, but a critical piece of hardware.
The hard drive is the place that the computer stores information.
Your hard drive in a lot of ways is the most critical computer component. After all, it holds all of your music, pictures, programs, and maybe some of your movies.
Losing all of that data would be very costly and time consuming to rebuild. I suggest everyone WHO has a computer go out and buy an external hard drive for back-up purposes.
Today there are two main types of hard drives. There are solid state drives and what’s called a platter hard drive.
The platter is the older technology. In this drive there are many platters that look like small CDs stacked. Heads travel over the platter to read the data, and the platter spins to allow the head to read the data without having to move too far. It is very similar to a record player needle scanning the record to play music.
A solid state hard drive is a newer technology. There are no moving parts and all of the data is stored on flash memory.
SSD come in all shapes and sizes. You’ve seen them used, and many of you already own an SSD. A USB thumb drive is a SSD. Some computers use SSD and almost all mobile electronics devices use SSD. SSD is slowly becoming the dominant form of storage.
But platter Hard Drives are still ubiquitous.
Why get one over the other? There are pros and cons to each type.
SSD drives cost more money to make and generally have less storage. The larger SSD drive is 128 gigabytes, while a platter hard drive can reach up to 1.5 terabytes (1,500 gigabytes) and cost a lot less than an SSD. A platter hard drive, however, has a lot of moving parts and is much more likely to fail than a SSD over time.
I suggest that everyone gets a small USB thumb drive and back up your most critical data. Also, get an external hard drive and try to back up all of your data to that. Some of the external hard drives will even come with a program that automatically backs up your data for you (after some initial configuration).
Jason Ogaard is a Red Wing High School graduate and a software engineer in Bloomington, Minn. His columns will appear twice a month in the Republican Eagle.