Storage

Pop Quiz: Traditional hard drive types

Do you know the difference between ATA, SATA, SCSI, and SAS hard drives? Take this short quiz and test your knowledge of hard drive basics.

Since the mid-80s, the traditional, electromechanical hard disk drive (HDD) has been the standard in non-volatile data storage for personal computers. And despite the rise in popularity of solid state drives (which store data via NAND flash or RAM chips), HDDs are still found in most modern desktops and servers. With that fact in mind, it's important that IT pros know the difference between the various types of traditional HDDs. So, I've put together this short quiz!

Note: Unfortunately, our poll tool, which I use to create each pop quiz, doesn't let me indicate a correct answer after each question. To keep from giving away the answers before everyone has a chance to test his/her knowledge, and ruining all the fun, I've published the answers on the second page of this blog post. I encourage everyone to answer all the questions before looking at the second page or using your favorite search engine to find the answers.

Answers are on the next page.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

24 comments
marrittad
marrittad

Neat 10/10! Seagate Employee

$aunder$
$aunder$

Not too difficult, power connector on sata scuppered my score !

thezar
thezar

It tells me that I may have a bad bookmark when I hit your VOTE button. This is even worse that the questions that have different numbering than the answers.

efehling57
efehling57

No wthat was an entertaining quiz

alinder
alinder

(I got the SATA power connector question wrong; said it was SAS) What amazed me is that nearly 10% (9%) of us thought that SATA ("Serial Advanced Technology [AT] Attachment") was parallel (even though ATA was retro-named to PATA ("Parallel...") just to emphasize that distinction), and 14% thought SAS was parallel (even though SAS means "Serial Attached SCSI [Small Computer System Interface]")!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Not bad, considering I've never seen SAS...

Dan Aquinas
Dan Aquinas

I thought the IDE interface was developed by Conner Peripherals? I remember when our company bought some Intel 386 66Mhz Compaq PCs with 80MB Conner hard drives and 1 MB RAM for $10K (ouch); they were state of the art for personal computers at the time.

robo_dev
robo_dev

other than it's the latest and greatest.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I thought about spelling out all the acronyms, but worried it would give this questions away.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Connor developed the 3.5" form factor for hard drives.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

When I saw "Traditional" I though "Obsolete" and expected to see MFM/RLL too!

TG2
TG2

LOL that was my first thought too.. would we actually see how old Bill was trying to go.. :)

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

my first encounter with SCSI was with a 50 pin cable 2GB HDD and 3x CDROM

seanferd
seanferd

It would be scary if you had to know those as a contemporary IT professional. :0

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

"Run Length Limited" or "Modified Frequency Modulation" wouldn't give much away... ;-)

Brian Doe
Brian Doe

My first encounter with SCSI was with a 50-pin ribbon cable to a 52MB (yes, Mega) hard drive, and a 25-pin DB-25 connector to an external 2x CDROM drive. This was on my Amiga A2000HD system.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Why did you have to bring that up? Now I remember the External SCSI connectors (and the effing Traveler) for the Zip and Jaz drives, something I'd managed to forget for over a decade. X-(

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

And you will hear the inimitable sound of a Remington 870 pump action... ;)

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