hard drives, 4 heads or 6?

paul2

Solid State Member
Messages
7
Ok so my current hard drive is starting to sound a bit rough an with all this summer heat when its real warm it even starts clicking a bit so i think its about time to do an upgrade....
Bin looking on CCL computers and theres 2 drives with pretty much the same spec an only a quid(£) difference....

1. 160GB Western Digital Caviar WD160BB
Data buffer 2048KB
Heads 6

2. 160GB Western Digital Caviar WD1600JB
Data buffer 8192KB
Heads 4

My use is general i think, my computer spends most of its time providing me access to the tinterweb... I do however do some 3D animation (3DsMAX) when i get bored and a bit of gaming if im feeling like some commanding and conquering! Besides that its just the usuall useage and a bit of programming and web development.
So basically Im wondering which way to go, more heads or bigger buffer? Or does one cancel the other out, does having more heads mean u only need a smaller buffer??
 

Kage

Golden Master
Messages
13,873
Hmm... I wonder what it means by heads...

It could mean layers, so each platter has a certain amount.

In which case, its better to have the smaller amount in terms of getting to data faster, as data is more compact and so the drive head doesn't have to move so far to get to the same amount of data.

The buffer on the other hand though I'm guessing will be able to store more of the data found quicker, in a big batch, ready to send out to the CPU/Memory etc, for your use.

So, from my head, I'd think the 4 heads would be a better buy, since the bigger buffer on the one with more heads, is probably to make up for the amount of movement required to find the same amount of data.

So the one with 4 heads has 40gb a platter, whilst the one with 6 has 26.7gb (abouts) a platter. Thats alot of movement required!

Which ones more expensive by the way?
 

paul2

Solid State Member
Messages
7
hmmm I see what you mean, im a bit of a novice when it comes to hardware internals so im not sure what they are meaning. Personaly when talking about heads in a hard drive i think of the old 'HD is like a record player' analagy and in those terms i'd see a head as being the bit reading the data off the surface of the disc...
maybe ill slot them an email an see what they say in terms of this 'heads/layers' idea.....
2MB buffer + 6 heads = £43.29
8MB bufer + 4 heads = £44.92
Like i said the difference is so minimal its hard to work out which ones best, price is usually a fair guide but theres so little in it
 

Kage

Golden Master
Messages
13,873
Wow, there really isnt...

I'd say, go for the one with 4 heads. Its got a bigger buffer, and less movement required on a platter.

It'll need a bigger buffer to store the data found quicker I'd suppose.

So yeah, If I were to choose one, that would be the one :)

I'm pretty sure thats what it means by heads. Its just another word for a platter (maybe each platter needs a new head)

In terms of how a hard drive works, this webpage may help:

http://www.research.ibm.com/research/gmr/basics.html
 

paul2

Solid State Member
Messages
7
I emailed CCL and got the following response....

"I believe that if a drive has more heads it will have more platters, which means the
density of those platters is less than a drive with fewer heads. As a
drive with higher density platters will need to have its heads travel
less for the next bit of data, I would say that a drive with few heads
is better as it would be slightly faster."

It takes a couple of reads to make sense of it but all in all the guy agrees with what Kage said so thanks for that info, and the link too, an interesting read!
So ill be going for the 4 heads
 

Nik00117

Fully Optimized
Messages
4,032
Just a quick note to any "new computer user"

your heads on your HD isn't somthing many poeple worry about. So don't worry about researching how many heads your HD has.
 

prosser13

Daemon Poster
Messages
1,080
Each platter has a single head. That means that the less heads there are, the more platters there are.

The more higher the density of the platters, the faster the drive.

And a larger cache helps.

So the second one is better.
 

Kage

Golden Master
Messages
13,873
Yeah exactly, so I was right thinking that :)

And, the difference in performance would be minimal anyway, but it'd still be there.
And since the price was as close as they were, going for the one with 4 heads is the better buy anyway.

You can now by in confidence :)
 
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