Random Hardware Questions

In summary, the conversation discusses the limitations of information density on a magnetic disk, the development of different types of ports for faster information exchange, and the conventions for classifying a bit in electronics. The main focus is on the manufacturing process for the read/write head for a hard drive and the challenges of making it smaller to increase information density. There are also questions about the theoretical and practical limits of information density in a single wire and the conventions for representing a bit in electronics.
  • #1
I was thinking about a colloquim speaker I heard once and I have a few unanswered questions. He was talking about the manufacturing process for the read/write head for a hard drive. Obviously, the goal was to make the part smaller and smaller to increase the possible information density on the disk. My question is...

What is the limiting factor for maximum information density on a magnetic disk? Size of the read/write head, mechanical limitations for moving the arm, or the size of the actual magnetic dipole that encodes the bit on the disk ? Or perhaps something I'm not even thinking of.

Secondly, I wonder about ports. At first, there were serial ports. Then came along parallel ports, allowing faster information exchange. However, the newest ports (USB/Firewire) have returned to serial communication. Was there a singular burst in the information that could be carried by a single wire that allowed this to occur?

Thirdly, I recall from my electronics class that there were several conventions that existed for classifying a bit. For example, 5V was a 1, while 0V was a 0. What is the current convention. I assume it is a minimum voltage to minimize power use, but large enough to consistently carry the bit.

Finally, what would be the theoretical and practical limit of information density in a single wire. Would assuming an ideal conductor change this limit?

I hope my random musings at least make sense. Thanks.
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  • #2
1. The minimal area the read/write head can polarize is equal to the width of the magnetic dipole. However, to write to the disc with a smaller gap size requires the head to be closer to the disk's surface. The difficulty is in making sure the head doesn't "crash" on the disc, i.e. stays above the surface. From a glance at Wikipedia, it looks like modern hard drives can let heads fly as close as 3 nm above the disc's surface.

2. Don't know.

3. I think the most common assignment is 0 to 0.8 V for 0, and 2 to 5 V for 1. The reason for the gap is to isolate the ranges so that there's no risk of one signal being interpreted for the other because of noise.

1. What is a random hardware question?

A random hardware question is a question related to hardware components, systems, or devices that does not follow a specific pattern or theme.

2. How can I troubleshoot a random hardware issue?

To troubleshoot a random hardware issue, you can try restarting the device, updating drivers, checking for loose connections, running diagnostic tests, or consulting with a professional technician.

3. What is the difference between hardware and software?

Hardware refers to the physical components of a computer or electronic device, while software refers to the programs and instructions that control and operate the hardware.

4. How often should I upgrade my hardware?

The frequency of hardware upgrades depends on individual needs and preferences. Generally, it is recommended to upgrade every 3-5 years to keep up with technological advancements and ensure optimal performance.

5. What is the best way to protect my hardware from damage?

To protect your hardware from damage, you can invest in a surge protector to prevent electrical surges, regularly clean and dust your devices, and handle them with care when moving or transporting them.

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