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Old Site Updates - June 2000

June 26, 2000:

  • Thanks! My thanks to those of you who have taken the time to provide me with feedback on the new hard disk performance, reliability and RAID section. And special thanks to Eugene Ra from StorageReview.com for his kind front page reference to the new material.
  • Important RAID Correction: Due to some much appreciated feedback from two of my readers, I have been made aware of an error I made in my new RAID section. I had mistakenly been under the impression that when doing striping, files would be split between stripe blocks, causing wasted space when using larger block sizes; I had compared this to the situation where slack occurs in a file system due to wasted space at the end of a cluster. In fact, this does not occur, because RAID striping occurs at a low level, and the controller has no concept of files or clusters. I have changed about 15 or so pages and most of the RAID level diagrams. The change only affects this one concept, but I thought it important enough to change quickly and update the site. I apologize for any confusion.
  • RAID Service Note: I added a note to the section on RAID service and support (and a couple of other pages) to clarify a good point that a reader mentioned to me: some arrays want to have any drives that fail replaced with identical models.
  • Zoned Recording Table Update: I have updated the page discussing zoned bit recording. I have finally found a modern drive family (the new IBM 75GXP and 40GV models) that has its zones and track counts published, to provide a counterpart to the data I had before from a 1996 drive.
  • Areal Density Correction and Explanation: I had said on the page discussing the areal density specification, that the highest linear density on a disk was found on the outermost tracks. That's incorrect--highest density is generally found in the innermost tracks, though in theory it depends on the ratio of the lengths of the tracks and the ratio of the number of sectors stored on them. I have made a correction to the page discussing the areal density specification, and have added an explanation of this variance in density to the operation section on areal density.
  • Minor Fixes: I fixed some typos and brainos elsewhere on the site.

June 19, 2000:

  • Major Hard Disk Performance and Reliability Section Expansion: I have greatly expanded the section on Hard Disk Performance, renaming it to Hard Disk Performance, Quality and Reliability in the process. The number of pages in this section has been increased from about 30 to about 180, and represents over 80,000 words of new material. I'm quite excited about it, and would very much like your comments. Here are the highlights of what has been added:
    • Performance: I have substantially expanded the discussion of all issues related to hard disk performance. This includes a separate discussion of hard disk performance specifications and various internal and external factors. I also discuss general performance issues, performance measurement, ranking specifications and so on.
    • Quality and Reliability: The revised section on quality and reliability covers important specs and issues in considerably more detail than before, including a whole section on warranty issues.
    • RAID: I have added a new section that provides pretty good coverage of the various facets of RAID technology (well, I had one page before that discussed RAID, but now it's more like 80.) This includes an explanation of RAID concepts, coverage of all the common RAID levels (and a few uncommon ones too), a look at how the levels are differentiated, a discussion of performance and reliability factors, and a discussion of configuration and implementation issues. RAID is becoming increasingly popular and there isn't a lot written about it online, so I hope you will enjoy this section.
  • Hard Drive Tray Photo: I added to the page on removable hard disk trays a photo of the Kingwin KF-21-IPF mobile rack system that I use on my work desktop PC for backups and file archiving.
  • Power Basics Change: Based on feedback from a reader, I made a small change to the page discussing Work, Power and Apparent Power to make more clear under what circumstances current leads or lags voltage.
  • New Resource Section: I created a new section in the General World Wide Web Links section covering free technical support resources. These are sites that are staffed by volunteers who will offer assistance with technical problems. The first three sites in this section are:
    • RealPCHelp.com: As their slogan says, "Real People, Real PC Help. 'Nuff Said!" :^)
    • The Computer Vine: This isn't strictly a technical support resource, but more of an online community of computer enthusiasts. Worth checking out.
    • www.protonic.com: An organization of volunteers offering free technical support by email.
  • Minor Fixes and Link Updates: I corrected some typos and small errors, and fixed some bad links.

June 16, 2000:

  • June Industry Update Posted: I have posted the latest in the Real World Technologies industry update series to the Articles and Editorials section. See the report here for the latest on PC chipsets, CPUs, motherboards and more.
  • Meta-Update: After three straight weeks of writing all day (no kidding) I am almost done. Look for a big update next week, and thanks again for your patience.

June 5, 2000:

  • Work Progresses: Hello everyone! I'm hard at work on a large update for the site, a rewrite of a section that will include coverage of some new topics of interest, especially to hard disk performance enthusiasts, like me. It's a big job, with well over 100 new pages, which is why I haven't put up an "official" site update since mid-April. I expect this big update to be done in about two weeks or so.

Next: Old Site Updates - May 2000


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