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idea: one head per track on a HDD?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
would it be feasible?
the only problem i can see will be to keep the head close enough the drive, without touching it...

if i understood correctly, the current heads are pretty big because they need to float over the drive, but the part of the head that actually read/write is much smaller, so it would be possible to put them on a "bridge" over the drive.

i hope the idea is clear enough for everyone to understand
    
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post #2 of 20
I can imagine if you could implament this correctly it would greatly increase the seek time of drives. the only problem i see, is the mast of circuitry needed to run all of the heads.

The way i can imagine the idea, is having a single head across the entire drive, then having the read/write heads attached to that strip, then you wouldn't have to worry about individual heads.
post #3 of 20
Sadly, no.
The read/write head is larger than any single 'track' (any single concentric ring on which data is encoded.
Edited by wcdolphin - 12/19/10 at 1:27pm
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post #4 of 20
The tracks are microscopic, so it would be impossible to cover every track with an individual head. And more heads would just increase the chance of failure, since if one fails it could kill the entire drive.
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post #5 of 20
I am sure if they really wanted to they could design something.

lemon, your statement about failure is backwards. Think a hard drive now has a single read write head per platter side. So if one fails you lose that entire side of the platter, but with a single read/write something/head, you would only lose the track of the broken read/write point. so you could actually have alot more failure from the read/write heads then normal and still have a working drive.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrasherht View Post
I am sure if they really wanted to they could design something.

lemon, your statement about failure is backwards. Think a hard drive now has a single read write head per platter side. So if one fails you lose that entire side of the platter, but with a single read/write something/head, you would only lose the track of the broken read/write point. so you could actually have alot more failure from the read/write heads then normal and still have a working drive.

Umm... no.

If you have 100 heads the chances of 20/100 failing are greater than the chance of a single head failing. Google replaces thousands of hard drives in their datacenters every year. They have more hard drives, so they have a greater chance of failure. Its the same with heads. If a head has a 10% chance of failure, then if you have 2 heads you'll have a 20% chance of failure.
    
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post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrasherht View Post
I am sure if they really wanted to they could design something.

lemon, your statement about failure is backwards. Think a hard drive now has a single read write head per platter side. So if one fails you lose that entire side of the platter, but with a single read/write something/head, you would only lose the track of the broken read/write point. so you could actually have alot more failure from the read/write heads then normal and still have a working drive.
Usually when one head fails the entire hard drive ceases to work. At least that has been the experience in my past. I've taken apart failed hard drives and discovered only one head has damage to it, but at that point the drive doesn't show up anymore. And more complex parts makes it harder to manufacture, more expensive, and more prone to manufacturing defects.
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post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
i did some research prior to this post, and i think it's possible...
1) the head cannot be larger than one single track, or it would corrupt the other tracks

2) the part of the head that actually does the read/write is MUCH smaller than the head itself... (due to the previous argument) it's a simple wire, extremely small. The large size of the head is necessary for the head to "fly" slightly over the platter.

the idea is to put a "bridge" over the disk, with one head/track. adding controllers that would each control a few heads would greatly reduce amount of circuitry required


and i have to agree with thrasherht with the chances of failure
    
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post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathris View Post
Umm... no.

If you have 100 heads the chances of 20/100 failing are greater than the chance of a single head failing. Google replaces thousands of hard drives in their datacenters every year. They have more hard drives, so they have a greater chance of failure. Its the same with heads. If a head has a 10% chance of failure, then if you have 2 heads you'll have a 20% chance of failure.
this may be true, but think about it, you have a hard drive with 4 heads in it, and the hard drive holds 200gb of data, when one head fails,(assuming it doesn't take out the whole drive) you have just lost 50gb of storage, with one read/write head per track, you can lose many many heads and only lose possibly a few gb of storage, if you have 1 read/write per 500mb, then you only lose 500mb every time a head goes bad.
so losing 20/100 is still. better then one head in a normal hard drive going bad.

understand?
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrasherht View Post
this may be true, but think about it, you have a hard drive with 4 heads in it, and the hard drive holds 200gb of data, when one head fails,(assuming it doesn't take out the whole drive) you have just lost 50gb of storage, with one read/write head per track, you can lose many many heads and only lose possibly a few gb of storage, if you have 1 read/write per 500mb, then you only lose 500mb every time a head goes bad.
so losing 20/100 is still. better then one head in a normal hard drive going bad.

understand?
It doesn't work like that. If you lose one head, the entire drive stops functioning. You don't just lose the data on that head. The only way to get the data back is expensive data recovery methods and those can recover data from bad heads most of the time if the disk remains intact.

So the more heads you have, the more chance of one out of the bunch failing. When that one head fails it will take out the whole drive. At least I've never heard of a hard drive that can run off a dead head. Also the heads are indeed very small, but they are mounted on a moderately large piece that is designed to actually lift the heads off the disk just a microscopic amount with the air flow inside the disk. This piece is roughly 1x1mm and there is no way to fit enough of these across the disk to read all the tracks simultaneously.
Edited by LemonSlice - 12/21/10 at 4:00am
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