Be vewwy vewwy quiet... I'm fetching bits!

Sun engineer Brendan Gregg has discovered that hard disks are more susceptible to minor vibrations than we thought...

We all know that conventional rotating hard disk drives aren't the sturdiest gizmos in the world. We're trained to treat our laptops gingerly when they're running, and many laptops are equipped with motion sensors that move the disk heads away from the data tracks if the machine is bumped or dropped.

But I've just learned that disk drives are more sensitive to minor vibrations than I thought. A blog post titled "Unusual disk latency" by Sun engineer Brendan Gregg describes how disk drives can go idle for relatively long periods of time-- over half a second-- when someone shouts at them!

The post even includes a video demonstration of the discovery.

Suddenly I no longer wish for more volume from the speakers on my MacBook Pro, and I'm reconsidering the position of the subwoofer under my desk next to the Power Mac...

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About the author

    Peter N. Glaskowsky is a computer architect in Silicon Valley and a technology analyst for the Envisioneering Group. He has designed chip- and board-level products in the defense and computer industries, managed design teams, and served as editor in chief of the industry newsletter "Microprocessor Report." He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

     

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