Wise Drives

Manufacturers may soon be unlocking the computing power hidden in your hard-disk drive

12 min read
Image: Larry Gilpin/Stone
Image: Larry Gilpin/Stone

If disk drives were enabled to perform a host of tasks that have traditionally been the work of CPUs, dramatic low-cost improvements could be made in computing environments ranging from laptops to storage networks and drive makers would gain new profit centers. But this will only happen if computer and drive manufacturers seize the opportunity and create new interfaces for these so-called intelligent disk drives.

Disk drives currently come equipped with 32-bit internal microprocessors, several megabytes of internal RAM, and tens of megabytes of disk capacity reserved for internal drive purposes. This onboard computing power has increased alongside improvements in the speed and capacity of disk drives, and has already allowed them to take on several intelligent tasks beyond basic data storage and retrieval, such as detecting imminent drive failures. This power could be exploited for even more tasks, and the addition of some relatively inexpensive extra processing power would open the door to a huge array of functions, such as searching and encryption, and so shift some of the processing burden from CPUs and networks to disk drives.

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Golf Robot Learns To Putt Like A Pro

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4 min read
Golf Robot Learns To Putt Like A Pro

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A gif showing a live pill bug on its back wiggling its body and feet as a very small robot hand touches it

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2 min read

This is a sponsored article brought to you by 321 Gang.

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