Difference Between Optical Disk vs. Magnetic Disk

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Primary Difference

Disks are used to store data, and therefore it becomes critical for the person who wants to buy, that they know exactly what they are getting. The two terms discussed here are optical disk and a magnetic disk; they come with their differences. First one becomes variable by the laser beam present on the surface that allows for the data to become readable whenever required and to write things on personal choice. The second one becomes variable as it uses the magnetization process to read and write data on the system and does so with the help of a mechanical arm.

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Comparison Chart

Optical DiskMagnetic Disk
General DefinitionDevices that store information on the computer and on the system, which comes in a round and flat shape and rotates along the axis.Devices that store information on the computer and on the system, which comes in a round and flat shape and rotates along the axis.
DifferentiationUses laser tools to store and read informationUses magnetization process.
WorkingA laser is used to read the information stored in the dots and then converted into a signal of electricity that gave an audio or visual outputThe mechanical arm becomes the primary tool that uses the handle to read data from the device and write data to the disk.
Space27 GB maximumSeveral hundred GBs
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Definition of Optical Disk

It is a device that stores information on the computer and on the system, which comes in a round and flat shape and rotates along the axis to give access to all parts of the information to the user. It is known as an optical disk and becomes different from other kinds by the laser beam present on the surface that allows for the data to become readable whenever required and to write things on personal choice. The first type of such device was made in the 1960’s and used a micron-wide dot system of light and dark spots. A laser was used to read the information stored in the dots and then converted into a signal of electricity that gave an audio or visual output depending on the requirement. No progress was made in these systems for a long time and gained more fame when the first compact disk came in the market around 1982. An optical disk has the capacity of storing much more data as compared to other devices and that originates from the fact that with the help of laser beams, people can have more controlled and focused system. This function allows more data storage in the same space. Initially, data up to few hundred MBs was stored on such devices but now with the emergence of Blu-ray space up to 27 GB is available to perform the tasks.

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Definition of Magnetic Disk

It is a device that stores information on the computer and on the system, which comes in a round and flat shape and rotates along the axis to give access to all parts of the information to the user. It is known as a magnetic disk because it uses the magnetization process to read and write data on the system. Another use of this is the rewriting and accessing the information in a fast manner. A magnetic disk mostly uses a rotating magnetic surface and an arm that helps it to rotate around its axis for the data to become readable. The mechanical arm is the primary tool that uses the handle to read data from the device and write data to the disk. The data gets controlled through the magnetization process, and therefore these types of drives become an integral part of a computer. Data arranges itself on the device in the form of tracks and sectors; the first ones are the circular divisions on the disks that become separated as segments that contain blocks of data. Therefore, all the read and write operations on the magnetic disk performed in these areas. Objects up to around several hundred GBs get stored on such devices, and they do not require any such speedups. The speeds range up to 100 MB per second and will get improved a lot in the future.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. Both optical and magnetic disks are devices that store information on the computer and on the system, which comes in a round and flat shape and rotates along the axis to give access to all parts of the information to the user.
  2. An optical disk uses laser tools to store and read information on the system whereas a magnetic disk uses magnetization process to perform the same task.
  3. Optical disks work such that a laser is used to read the information stored in the dots and then converted into a signal of electricity that gave an audio or visual output depending on the requirement. Magnetic disks work in such a way that the mechanical arm becomes the primary tool that uses the handle to read data from the device and write data to the disk.
  4. For the optical drives now with the emergence of Blu-ray space up to 27 GB is available to perform the tasks. For magnetic devices, the data that gets stored is up to several hundred gigabytes.
  5. Data gets accessed and stored at a faster speed with the help of laser beams whereas it takes more time to copy the information on a magnetic disk.
  6. Optical disks are optional whereas magnetic disks are an integral component of a computer.

Conclusion

Optical Disks and Magnetic disks are two terms which belong to the same family but are very different from each other. There are many differences between them which keep getting mentioned above that help in creating a clear understanding of how they differ and then help people how they are working and what exactly goes on between them.