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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Performance, Quality and Reliability | Hard Disk Performance | Hard Disk Performance Specifications | Positioning Performance Specifications ]
The settle time specification (sometimes called settling time) refers to the amount of time required, after the actuator has moved the head assembly during a seek, for the heads to stabilize sufficiently for the data to begin to be read. Since it is a component of access time and therefore part of the time required to position for reading a random file, I include it here for completeness. However, since settle time is usually so short (typically less than 0.1 msec) it is dwarfed in importance by seek time and rotational latency, and differences between drives in this regard are not really significant. Some manufacturers do not even bother to specify settle time, and some just lump it in with seek time.
Settle time, like seek time, is a function of the drive's actuator characteristics.
Next: Command Overhead Time