Article 24 - Is it Proper to Align a Hard Drive Vertically?

Many new technology products have been including space for vertical hard drives, such as computer chassis, or external hard drives. Vertically aligned hard drives are marketed as safe, but is that true?

To understand the consequences of a vertically aligned hard drive, we must understand the interior workings of a hard drive disk.

Inside a hard drive, there are many components that operate at high speed. These components includes, but not limited to, disks, and the read/write head. The read/write head moves along the disk many times each second and performs the reads or writes to the disk. This moving head is prone to shakes and physical disturbance.

Components of a Hard Drive Disk.

In the design of a modern hard drive disk, the disks are tangent to the head contact. Thus the head moves parallel to the disk itself. If the disk sits horizontally, then placing the disk vertically, by means of aligning the hard drive vertically, will make the head move vertically too.

Unfourtunately, in a vertical system, gravity will affect the head as it moves vertically up and down. There are two cases, when the head moves up, it must fight against gravity and when the head moves down, it fights alongside gravity. This will affect the performance of the hard drive, since the hard drive needs to use more force to move the head up and down.

Since the hard drive works in microseconds, or even nanoseconds, then the little force of gravity will have a strong impact on the performance of the hard drive.

Next time you align your hard drive vertically, consider the impact on the life of your hard drive.

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