A Hard Drive Crash Strikes Fear Into Computer Owners
The phrase hard drive crash strikes fear into the hearts of all computer users. A drive crash is an unexpected and unwanted event in which the computer's hard drive stops working. Hard drives that crash are not likely to resume functioning in the future. Hard drives that crash usually do so catastrophically. The crashed hard drive is often useless after these horrible events. All permanent data on the computer is stored on the hard drive. That is why drive crashes are such terrifying events.
What would cause a hard drive to crash? There are many reasons, although the unfortunate computer owner might never know which reason caused the crash. One reason is mechanical failure. The hard drive is one of the few moving parts in the computer. Nearly everything else is circuits and chips. Hard drives contain several horizontal magnetic platters supported by a vertical axis or spindle. These platters spin at amazing speeds while the computer is active. Read-write heads of the hard drive float over these platters, reading or writing data to the magnetic platters. A mechanical drive crash might be caused by the motor wearing out. An extreme bump or jolt might also cause the read-write heads to impact the surfaces of the platters.
Electrical events can also cause a hard drive to crash. The computer's power supply converts regular household current into tiny currents and voltages suitable for the delicate computer components. An electrical spike, such as a nearby lightning strike with one of Virginia Beach's many storms, can cause a hard drive to fail. Electrical surges are likely to cause many computer components to fail, in addition to the hard drive crashing. All computers should have surge protection devices, and should be turned off and unplugged during electrical storms.
When hard drives crash, the data they store are almost always destroyed too. There are specialty companies which might be able to recover the data. However, this is too expensive for the home user. It is best to keep multiple, up to date backups. Have all your installation disks together, and a list of websites from which you have downloaded software. Preparation and vigilance are the best tools against the chaos caused by a hard drive crash.
If you have never heard of external video cards, you are not alone. This new concept is only recently becoming common knowledge. Video cards, also called graphics cards, graphics accelerators, and other names, normally sit snugly inside the computer case. The purpose of video cards is to interpret the graphics signals from the computer and display them on a monitor. New external graphics cards are being developed, and there are good reasons why they must exist outside the computer's case.
Specialty 3D graphics accelerator cards have grown very powerful over the past several years. They are essentially graphics computers tucked inside the computer case. These internal video cards perform the highly intensive graphics calculations for games and graphics editing, leaving the main CPU to do other work. Some of these graphics cards have grown so powerful that they are more powerful than some of the early computers! Unfortunately this means that 3D graphics cards need lots of power, lots of room, and lots of cooling fans.
One solution is to move the next generation of massive video cards outside the computer case as external graphics cards. These external cards would sit outside the case in their own enclosure, much like an external hard drive. The external video enclosure would have its own power supply and cooling fan. This would greatly decrease the strain on the computer's power supply, and also remove a great deal of heat from the computer case. The external video card would enable many computer users to upgrade to the hottest graphics card without buying a new computer. An extra bonus is that laptop users should be able to connect their same external video card to their portable and use it to boost the video performance.
These external graphics cards are expected to connect to the computer via the PCI External or PCIe specification. Video cards inside the case have a direct connection to the motherboard. External video accelerators would need to connect via a cable. External components have traditionally been slower due to limitations of cable data transfer rates. If that problem can be solved, expect a whole range of awesome external video cards to enter the market soon.
Computer memory is very important. If you remember whaaayyy back in the 1990's during the time of 486 computers, a snail speed personal information machine was normal. Waiting for every action of a 486 electronic brain could take from 3 to 5 minutes. Nowadays, the PC remembrance available on the market can jack-up speeds of every mouse action to milliseconds. This results in sky-rocketing speeds for thinking machine applications, enabling them to load even faster than the regular blink of a electronic brain screen.
PC applications, however, can create an imbalance in the machines speeds. High speed applications may tire out the equipment if the PC's available thought processor is insufficient to run the installed application. The result is equipment failure. Often times, one can observe low performance from pop-up windows that warn the user of a low virtual recall. This virtual recollection is like a swap file. A swap file is a special file in the hard disk that functions like a Random Access Memory or RAM. Swap files and virtual memories are like special caches that are the last defense from the threat of the PC shutting down.
Once a PC user encounters such warnings from their pop-up windows, it is advised that an upgrade be done immediately. Using a machine with a low recollection will be futile or useless because it may result in one of two things: (1) the equipment will suddenly crash in the middle of a running program or (2) it will abnormally restart without warning to the anguish of the user.
It is a good thing that retention chips are continuously being upgraded to accommodate the required revival speeds of the latest data storage such as cd and dvd disks. The speed of PC storage is called clock speed and is measured in frequency or Hertz. The latest speed available for PC enhancement is about 400 MHz. That is exponentially beyond the speed of old 486 machines.
Also, the latest configurations in most machines require the use of separate recall chips for the microprocessor and the output requirement of the PC, most notably, its video output. Aligned with the current high video profile games available, computer memory chips are now being hardwired to serve specific outputs of the equipment.