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Data Transfer Rates

When considering which <a href="">hard drive</a> to purchase, it is helpful to examine different performance characteristics like access time, interleave, seek time, and data transfer rates. Data transfer rates are important because they determine the speed and efficiency of most of what you do.<br /><br />

Part of what determines the data transfer rate is the access time. The access time has a lot to do with the construction of the hard drive. It takes time for the rotating disks and moving heads to retrieve information stored in the magnetic material.<br /><br />

The seek time is the measure of how long it takes for the head assembly to get to the disk that contains the data for retrieval. There are different factors that can lead to slight delays, in the milliseconds, such as latency, a rotational delay that happens when the disk sector needed is not right under the head.<br /><br />

Seek time ranges between 3 milliseconds and 15 milliseconds, depending on the quality of the drive. Desktop seek times are usually around 9 milliseconds, whereas laptops take closer to 12 milliseconds. High-end server drives can achieve 3 millisecond seek times.<br /><br />

The data transfer rate does depend on the track location, so if the sought-after data is on the higher tracks or outer tracks, the data transfer rate will be faster. If the data desired is on the inner tracks, it will take a little longer to transfer the data.<br /><br />

Currently, a 7200 RPM (rotations per minute) hard drive on a desktop will average about 1030 Mbits/sec. This is a disk-to-buffer rate. For a buffer-to-computer interface, the average is about 3.0Gbits/SATA. The greater the density of stored data, the faster the data transfer rate.

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