Hard Disk factor – It’s affect on PC performance

Hard Disk and PC Performance.Disk can be almost full: One common misconception amongst PC users is that when the disk gets full PC gets slow.

Disk is for storage and how much you store does not have an affect on how the PC performs. Leaving about 10- 20 % of disk space free may be necessary so that system has enough capacity to handle any temporary system space requirements such as swap space, temp files etc. Leaving the above mentioned amount of disk space free and using all the rest of the space would have no bad affect on the system performance.

Coming back to the influence of hard disk on PC performance, look for factors like seek time, RPM, Interface (IDE, SATA, SCSI etc), and cache memory on disk.

Seek time is the amount of time disk requires to seek data. Specified in milli seconds this can be an influential parameter. RPM can be 5400 and 7200 on IDE drives and SCSI drives come in 10,000 and 15,000 RPMs. When the RPM increases performance increases.

IDE is the most common interface and SATA is beginning to make inroads. SCSI is used in higher-end systems for better performance and reliability. Support of these interfaces on the PC is important and must be verified before purchase. SCSI is not a commonly used standard on the PCs however IDE and SATA are. However SCSI is very much available for PCs if you wish to.

Another factor is the cache memory on the disk. Normally higher disk capacity means better technology and performance. However this must be evaluated through the parameters discussed here.

Defragmentation : Over a period of time, use of the hard disk by the system causes files to be stored in non – contiguous sectors requiring the disk to stop at several places to be able to retrieve a single file. Such a situation is known as fragmentation. Clearing this fragmentation and making the files contiguous again is called defragmentation.

In fact the affect of defragmentation is not significant in improving PC performance. However a moderate improvement in performance can be achieved through defragmentation.

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