Hmm, learn something new everyday around here. Never knew the firmware was stored on the platters. Is this something relatively new, or has this been true for many years in hard drives?
Also found an explanation in plain language: ...the information stored on the EEPROM (on the PCB) is not the firmware, contrary to many peoples belief, the firmware of the hard drive is stored on the platters. The EEPROM acts as a sort of BIOS, with adaptive information that helps point the drive to the SA (Service Area) sectors, and then the actual firmware is loaded from the SA on the platters.