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Old 12-24-2014, 07:59 PM   #81
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It occurred to me that for the last 15 year, I have enjoyed hard disks that get cheaper and larger in storage capacity, but have not bothered to look further to see how the technology has evolved. So, I just did a quick look and was dumbfounded.

The bit density now has reached 1 Terabit/sq.in. This is achieved by having track width as narrow as 30 nm (30 billionths of a meter). This is about 1/3000 the diameter of a human hair. The head flies at about 10 nm above the platter surface.

So, the platter surface must be smoother than 10nm, though I have not found the specs. But one article talks about how the platters are coated with many different layers of material, and one of the layers is made of ruthenium, and only 3 atoms thick!

This kind of precision is unbelievable, yet they sell these drives at such ridiculous retail prices. Very expensive machinery and processes are used, so the lower labor rate in China or Thailand is not the enabling factor.

How the heck can the head positioning seek to a 30-nm wide track? And the bearing precision, the mechanical wobble of the spindle bearings must be commensurate. Astounding! Remember that this is down to the same level as line width of ICs, and the latter do not have moving parts.

By the way, helium is used to fill the new drives because it is light and offers less drag. But this implies that the drive must be hermetically sealed, else you lose helium with time by leaks. Ten years ago when I last looked at a drive that was opened, I saw that it was vented to the atmosphere via a small breathing hole, which was covered by a dust filter.

PS. I forgot to add the following for comparison. A flu virus is about 100 nm in diameter.
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:47 PM   #82
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I don't know, I definitely recall some drive prices going up on Amazon for awhile around that time period.

But maybe also the popularity of SSDs is driving HDD prices down too.
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:42 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
So your "Black Market" sources are able to deliver them?
Just call me the Dread Pirate Roberts. Mostly it was a matter back after ER of getting set up with mega as a registered vendor. The lab needs a lot of stuff that isn't part of the standardized cube/PC configuration. They test the systems against the equipment normally used in a home. And they need lead time, so they're always getting the newest toys to be able to get them tested before they get brought into everyday use. It's pretty cool. I don't get to play with them anymore, but at least I get to see what's out there. It's always a fun time when they come back from CES.

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While you have only a factor of 12 to get to a petabyte drive 10**15 you have 12000 to get to 10**18 exabyte. According to Wikipedia the rate of growth of disk capacity is about 8-12% per year Hard disk drive - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Which implies a doubling every 6 years or so. Forecasts suggest the rate increasing up to 20% per year or perhaps a bit faster implying a doubling of 3 years. So to get to the petabyte drive (assuming no limits by physics) it could be about 10-15 years for the petabyte drive, and about 14 or so doubleings to get to 10**18, or perhaps 50 years or so.
Great! I'll only be 109. I literally can't wait.

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This kind of precision is unbelievable, yet they sell these drives at such ridiculous retail prices. Very expensive machinery and processes are used, so the lower labor rate in China or Thailand is not the enabling factor.

How the heck can the head positioning seek to a 30-nm wide track? And the bearing precision, the mechanical wobble of the spindle bearings must be commensurate. Astounding! Remember that this is down to the same level as line width of ICs, and the latter do not have moving parts.
Clarke's third law.
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Old 12-25-2014, 12:28 AM   #84
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By the way, helium is used to fill the new drives because it is light and offers less drag. But this implies that the drive must be hermetically sealed, else you lose helium with time by leaks.

I wonder if this will impact the long term longevity of the drive if the seal is less than perfect. I have quite a few drives that are older than 5 years that I still use as additional backups (secondary/tertiary/etc).


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Old 12-25-2014, 09:05 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
It occurred to me that for the last 15 year, I have enjoyed hard disks that get cheaper and larger in storage capacity, but have not bothered to look further to see how the technology has evolved. ...
This kind of precision is unbelievable, yet they sell these drives at such ridiculous retail prices. ...

How the heck can the head positioning seek to a 30-nm wide track? And the bearing precision, the mechanical wobble of the spindle bearings must be commensurate. Astounding! ...
I agree, it is amazing that this precision can be delivered at such affordable prices. It really makes me wonder why some other products are so expensive?

But some of this 'precision' is accomplished with feedback, I imagine? I don't think the bearings need to be so very precise, the head could follow a slight wobble. A 7200 RPM disc is only 120 revs per second, so the corrections would just take a 120 Hz pattern (sinusoidal if the bearing is just off-center, could be other harmonics, or 'noise' if there are other bearing imperfections?).

Quote:
By the way, helium is used to fill the new drives because it is light and offers less drag. But this implies that the drive must be hermetically sealed, else you lose helium with time by leaks. Ten years ago when I last looked at a drive that was opened, I saw that it was vented to the atmosphere via a small breathing hole, which was covered by a dust filter.
Interesting - the ones I've taken apart are as you describe, a filter to allow clean air to flow, or just allow pressure to be even in/out.

Just some random thoughts as we wait for the kids to show up, then prepare for more company later. Merry Christmas!

-ERD50
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:07 AM   #86
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I don't know, I definitely recall some drive prices going up on Amazon for awhile around that time period.

But maybe also the popularity of SSDs is driving HDD prices down too.
It will be interesting to watch as SSD gets cheaper what will happen to HDD? Will we see HDD capacity continue to grow or will SSD become the standard? Some vendors were pushing that technology when I left the industry. Pushing as in "hey you bought so much HDD I'll throw in some SSD for free just try it".

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Old 12-25-2014, 11:06 AM   #87
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I don't know, I definitely recall some drive prices going up on Amazon for awhile around that time period.

But maybe also the popularity of SSDs is driving HDD prices down too.
I was not following prices of HD, but do remember that a few years ago a flood in Thailand caused shutdown of some electronic or semiconductor factories. That would have caused a temporary shortage.

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I agree, it is amazing that this precision can be delivered at such affordable prices. It really makes me wonder why some other products are so expensive?

But some of this 'precision' is accomplished with feedback, I imagine? I don't think the bearings need to be so very precise, the head could follow a slight wobble. A 7200 RPM disc is only 120 revs per second, so the corrections would just take a 120 Hz pattern (sinusoidal if the bearing is just off-center, could be other harmonics, or 'noise' if there are other bearing imperfections?).
-ERD50
Yes, if these technical wonders are so cheap, why some other consumer products are so expensive? It must be because of too many middle men, or the distribution channel. Go to a hardware store to buy some brackets or odd-and-ends and it will cost you $50. Or you can get an electronic piece that's made with precision for relatively peanuts, using the know-hows that's possessed by a few but who enrich the life of all rest of humanity.

And yes, the disk head tracking has been using embedded servo tracks for at least 20 years now, but only now I learned about the nanometer tracking accuracy. Again, we are talking about distances smaller than the size of a virus, not bacterias or human cells.
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Old 12-25-2014, 05:50 PM   #88
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While you have only a factor of 12 to get to a petabyte drive 10**15 you have 12000 to get to 10**18 exabyte. According to Wikipedia the rate of growth of disk capacity is about 8-12% per year Hard disk drive - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Which implies a doubling every 6 years or so. Forecasts suggest the rate increasing up to 20% per year or perhaps a bit faster implying a doubling of 3 years. So to get to the petabyte drive (assuming no limits by physics) it could be about 10-15 years for the petabyte drive, and about 14 or so doubleings to get to 10**18, or perhaps 50 years or so.
OOps math error its a factor of 120 to get to a petabyte drive or 7 doubelings (note the interesting feature of exponentials here to go from 12 at 12 to 24 years to 120 at 21 to 42 years shows how the longer you follow such a curve the faster it goes up). The Exabyte drive is 120000 or 17 doubleings or so, or between 51 and 102 years.
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Old 12-25-2014, 06:27 PM   #89
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I just bought 15 8TB internal hard drives, helium sealed for cooler running for $750 each.
Sweet

The first HD I personally bought was a Dataframe 20MB SCSI drive for my Mac Plus in the mid-80's. It was over $1000 ($1200?)

Dataframe: .02 GB -> $50,000 per GB
Harley's drive: 8,000 GB -> 94 per GB

1,000,000 MB = 1,000 GB = 1 TB -- neglecting 1000 vs 1024 debates...

(the first hard disk I had (was given) was a DEC 10MB RL-03 removable disk cartridge for a PDP-11 I worked with. Not sure what it cost, but I know I couldn't buy on at the corner store...)
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:57 AM   #90
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I suppose everyone already knows of this neat little program but I just found it this morning -- WinDirStat - Permalinks to downloads and other content

You know the problem: The hard disk is almost full, and you don't know, where the big files actually are lying, which occupy all the space. They may well be hidden in sub-sub-directories. To find out this by means of the Windows Explorer, is tiring: you would have to expand and collapse directories over and over or view the "Properties" of the directories, which always count just the size of a single subtree. It's hard to form a mental image of the hard disk usage in this way. This is where WinDirStat helps.

Here is a screenshot of my desktop machine's hard drives:

WinDirStat Screenshot.jpg

The colored rectangles are individual files & folders showing relative size -- hovering the mouse over them shows file name and location, etc.
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Old 12-26-2014, 08:49 AM   #91
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I typically just search for "size:gigantic", and if that returns too many I search for "size:>900MB" or some such. I can even sort by size, descending, after the search results are displayed.
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Old 12-26-2014, 09:52 AM   #92
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FYI, there is a similar app for the Mac:

GrandPerspective

Very handy for cleaning up and recovering file space.
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:08 AM   #93
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I ran the built-in find file on Win7.
On a new Dell, I found two 2.6GB installers for Photoshop elements and premiere.
On arrival the disk had 35GB on it. This means Dell had 10% waste built-in. LOL.
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:02 PM   #94
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I ran the built-in find file on Win7.
On a new Dell, I found two 2.6GB installers for Photoshop elements and premiere.
On arrival the disk had 35GB on it. This means Dell had 10% waste built-in. LOL.
Ah, the long term battle between hardware and software.

The hardware folk's job is to provide unlimited resources.

The software people attempt to use as many of the unlimited resources as possible.

It's sad today seeing new bright talant being surprised by physical implementation issues. Lived through "vitual storage constraint relief". Let's see "I had to pretend this virtual storage existed, now you're telling me I'm running out of it"? How does that make sense to anyone?

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