What Does Spin-Up Mean?

Spin-up is when a disk in a disk drive speeds up to the required revolutions per minute for effective writing to or reading from the disk. Conventional hard disk drives have one or more platters that revolve mechanically on a spindle while reading and writing elements alter the magnetic surface of the disk.


Techopedia Explains Spin-Up

One common reference to spin-up is the use of the term spin-up time to analyze the time that it takes for the disk to go from a dormant state to a readable or writable state. Spin-up time is influenced by many factors, including the required revolutions per minute, which range from around 3,000 to 4,000 for a personal device to up to 15,000 revolutions per minute or more for sophisticated servers.

Because spin-up requires a major portion of total power output for a computer or device, engineers have tried to limit the required power and the burden of spin-up on a specific device model. This includes efforts to stagger spin-up, or another process called power up in standby, where a RAID controller might control this process for a given drive or set of drives. Specific manufacturers have also developed proprietary technologies for optimizing spin-up and delivering low-energy solutions for the tech market.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.