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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Construction and Operation of the Hard Disk ]

Hard Disk Read/Write Heads

The read/write heads of the hard disk are the interface between the magnetic physical media on which the data is stored and the electronic components that make up the rest of the hard disk (and the PC). The heads do the work of converting bits to magnetic pulses and storing them on the platters, and then reversing the process when the data needs to be read back.

Read/write heads are an extremely critical component in determining the overall performance of the hard disk, since they play such an important role in the storage and retrieval of data. They are usually one of the more expensive parts of the hard disk, and to enable areal densities and disk spin speeds to increase, they have had to evolve from rather humble, clumsy beginnings to being extremely advanced and complicated technology. New head technologies are often the triggering point to increasing the speed and size of modern hard disks.

Next: Read/Write Head Operation

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