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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Performance, Quality and Reliability | Hard Disk Performance | Hard Disk Performance Specifications | Other Performance Specifications ]

Drive Start-Up Ready Time

Hard disks are one of the slowest components in the PC to become ready to use when the power is applied to them. To put this in context, consider that it takes less than a second from the time you hit the power switch until the electronic components are "ready 'n rarin' to go". Hard disks, however, always have their slow mechanical components to deal with. As a result, they can take as many as 10 seconds until the platters "spin up" and the drive is ready. The time from when the power is applied until the drive is ready is called the drive start-up ready time or start-up time.

The drive start-up time is a parameter that usually is not given too much attention, and for good reason: it has no impact on the performance of the drive. The only time it generally comes into play is when the PC boots up so quickly that it tries to boot the operating system before the drive is ready. Newer drives start up quickly enough that this is usually not a problem, but you may want to check this specification if you suspect you may have an issue. Changing your BIOS settings to slow down the initial boot process may be of assistance as well.

The drive start-up ready time spec is largely a function of the drive's spindle motor, and to a lesser extent, its controller. The size and number of platters also has an impact since more mass will cause the spindle assembly to take longer to spin up to speed, all else being equal.

Next: Spin-Up Time

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