posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Jul 2007 20:21 UTC
Though we rely on them as a mainstay of modern computing, hard drives are really a mixed bag: part storage blessing and part performance albatross. The ongoing digital media revolution could never have gotten off the ground without plentiful, cheap storage, but even so, modern operating systems and programs are typically designed to rely on the hard drive as little as possible. Hard drive access times haven't kept pace with processor clockspeed increases, so computers increasingly employ sophisticated caching mechanisms (e.g. Intel's Turbo Memory tech) to minimize the need for a hard drive-based transfer. Now, researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands believe they've taken the first step towards solving some of the speed problems of a traditional magnet-based hard drive system.