Types of computer storage devices with examples

Data  storage devices are the components of a computer system that have the role of transmitting or retrieving digital information ( record and read ) in various physical media created for it. For example: RAM memory, Zip drive, hard drive. types of computer storage device

They should not be confused with the data storage medium or data storage medium, terms that refer precisely to the physical vehicle of the information, whether it is handled by a computer or by a device of another nature.

types of computer storage deviceStorage capacity no longer depends on the physical capacity of the computer. There are many options for saving your files and saving storage space on your computer, phone, or tablet. If your devices are slow and running out of space, you can download the files to a physical storage device. Or better yet, use the best storage technology and save your files in the cloud

Cloud storage types of computer storage device

Although not exactly a device in itself,   cloud storage   is the newest and most versatile type of storage for computers. “The cloud” is not a place or object, but rather a huge set of servers housed in data centers around the world. When you save a document to the cloud, you are storing it on these servers.

Because cloud storage stores everything online, it doesn’t use your computer’s secondary storage,  saving you space .

Cloud storage offers significantly larger storage capacities than USB flash drives and other physical options. Then you won’t have to search every device to find the right file.

Although external HDDs and SSDs were initially preferred for their portability, they also fell short when compared to cloud storage. There are not many profitable external hard drives out there. Although they are smaller and lighter than a computer’s internal storage drive, they are still tangible devices. The cloud , on the other hand, can accompany you anywhere without taking up physical space and without the physical vulnerabilities of an external drive. types of computer storage device

External storage devices were also popular as a quick fix for transferring files, but they’re only useful if you can access each physical device. Cloud computing is booming as many businesses now operate remotely. You probably wouldn’t mail a USB drive abroad to  send a large file to a colleague. Cloud storage acts as a bridge between remote workers, facilitating remote collaboration.

If you forget to bring a hard drive with important documents to a meeting, there’s not much you can do other than go back and grab it. If you crash or lose a hard drive completely, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get that data back. These risks do not exist for cloud storage: your data is   backed up   and can be accessed anytime, anywhere, as long as you have internet access.

With  Dropbox Smart Sync , you can access any file in your Dropbox from your desktop. It’s like storing your files locally, only they don’t use up your disk space. Having all your files stored in Dropbox means they’re always just a click away. You can access them from any device with an Internet connection, and share them in an instant. types of computer storage device

External storage devices

In addition to the storage media contained in a computer, there are also digital storage devices that are external to computers. They are often used to expand the storage capacity of a computer that is short on space, allow greater portability, or make it easier to transfer files from one device to another.

External hard drives and solid state drives

You can get both HDD and SSD devices as external drives. They generally offer the largest storage capacity among external options, with external HDDs offering up to 20TB of storage and (reasonably priced) external SSDs offering up to 8TB of storage.

External HDDs and SSDs work in exactly the same way as their internal counterparts. Most external drives can be connected to any computer; they’re not tied to a single device, so they’re a decent solution for transferring files between devices.

Flash memory devices types of computer storage device

We mentioned flash memory earlier when talking about SSDs. A flash memory device contains millions of interconnected flash memory cells that store data. These cells contain millions of transistors that, when turned on or off, represent 1s and 0s in binary code, allowing a computer to read and write information.

One of the most recognizable types of flash memory device is the USB flash drive. Also known as a USB drive or memory stick, these small portable storage devices have long been a popular choice for extra computer storage. Before it was quick and easy to share files online, USB flash drives were basically essential for easily moving files from one device to another.
However, they can only be used on devices with a USB port. Older computers have a USB port, but newer ones may need an adapter. types of computer storage device

Today, a USB flash drive can hold up to 2TB of storage. More expensive per gigabyte than an external hard drive, they have prevailed as a simple and convenient solution for storing and transferring smaller files.

In addition to USB drives, flash memory devices also include SD and memory cards, which you’ll recognize as the storage medium used in digital cameras. types of computer storage device

Optical storage devices types of computer storage device

CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are used for much more than just playing music and videos – they also act as storage devices. Collectively, they are known as optical storage devices or optical media.

The binary code is stored on these disks in the form of tiny bumps along a track that spirals out from the center of the disk. When the disk is running, it spins at a constant speed, while a laser contained in the disk drive scans the bumps on the disk. The way the laser reflects or bounces off a bump determines whether it represents a 0 or a 1 in binary.

A DVD has a narrower spiral track than a CD, allowing it to store more data for the same size, and DVD drives use a finer red laser than CD drives. DVDs also allow for a double layer to further increase their capacity. Blu-Ray took things to another level, storing data in multiple layers with even smaller bumps that require an even finer blue laser to read.

  • CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, and BD-ROMs are read-only optical storage discs. Data written to them is permanent and cannot be removed or overwritten. This is the reason why they cannot be used as personal storage. Instead, they are often used for software installation programs.
  • CD-R, DVD-R and BD-R format discs are recordable, but cannot be overwritten. Any data you save to a blank recordable disc will be permanently stored on that disc. So they can store data, but they are not as flexible as other storage devices. types of computer storage device
  • CD-RW, DVD-RW, and BD-RE can be overwritten. This allows you to write new data to them and delete unwanted data as many times as you like. They’ve been superseded by newer technologies like flash memory, but CD-RWs were once the best option for external storage. Most desktop and laptop computers have a DVD or CD drive.

CD can store up to 700 MB of data, DVD-DL can store up to 8.5 GB, and Blu-Ray can store between 25 and 128 GB of data.

Floppy types of computer storage device

Although they may be obsolete by now, we can’t talk about storage devices without at least mentioning the humble floppy disk, also known as a floppy disk. Floppy disks were the first widely available portable and removable storage devices. This is why most of the “Save” icons look like this, they are designed after the floppy disk. They work in the same way as hard drives, although on a much smaller scale.

The storage capacity of floppy disks never exceeded 200 MB before CD-RW and flash memory became the storage media of choice. The iMac was the first personal computer released without a floppy drive in 1998. From this point on, the floppy’s 30-plus-year reign waned rapidly.

Storage in computer systems

A storage device is hardware that is primarily used to store data. All desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones have some type of storage device. There are also standalone external storage drives that you can use on all your devices.

Storage is not only necessary to save files, but also to run tasks and applications. Any file you create or save on your computer is saved on your computer’s storage device. This storage device also stores your computer’s applications and operating system.

As technology has advanced over time, data storage devices have also evolved in important ways. Storage devices today come in many shapes and sizes, and there are a few different types of storage devices to suit different devices and functions.

A storage device is also known as a storage medium or storage media. Digital storage is measured in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), and currently  terabytes (TB) .

Some computer storage devices can permanently retain information, while others can only temporarily retain information. Every computer has both primary and secondary storage, where primary storage acts as the computer’s short-term memory and secondary storage acts as the computer’s long-term memory. types of computer storage device

Primary Storage: Random Access Memory (RAM)

Random access memory, or RAM, is the main storage of a computer.

When you work with a file on your computer, it will temporarily store the data in RAM. RAM allows you to perform everyday tasks such as opening applications, loading web pages, editing a document or playing games. It also allows you to jump from one task to another without losing your progress. Basically, the larger the computer’s RAM, the smoother and faster it is for you to multitask. types of computer storage device

RAM is volatile memory, which means that it cannot retain information after the system is turned off. For example, if you copy a block of text, restart your computer, and then try to paste that block of text into a document, you’ll find that your computer has forgotten the copied text. This is because it was only temporarily stored in your RAM.

RAM makes it possible for a computer to access data in a random order and therefore reads and writes much faster than a computer’s secondary storage.

Secondary Storage: Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) and Solid State Drives (SSDs)

In addition to RAM memory, all computers have another storage unit that is used for long-term storage of information. This is secondary storage. Any files you create or download are saved to your computer’s secondary storage. There are two types of storage devices used as secondary storage in computers: HDD and SSD. While HDDs are the more traditional of the two, SSDs are quickly overtaking HDDs as the technology of choice for secondary storage. types of computer storage device

Secondary storage devices are usually removable, so you can replace or upgrade your computer’s storage or move the storage drive to another computer. However, there are notable exceptions, like MacBooks, that don’t offer removable storage.

Hard disk drives (HDDs)

The hard disk drive (HDD) is the original hard drive. They are magnetic storage devices that have been used since the 1950s, although they have evolved over time.

A hard drive is made up of a stack of spinning metal disks known as platters. Each spinning disk has millions of tiny shards that can be magnetized to represent bits (1s and 0s in binary code). An actuator arm with a read/write head scans the spinning platters and magnetizes the shards to write digital information to the HDD, or detects the magnetic charges to read information from the HDD. types of computer storage device

Hard drives are used for TV recorders, servers, and laptop and PC storage.

Solid State Drives (SSD) types of computer storage device

Solid state drives emerged much more recently, in the 1990s. SSDs don’t rely on magnets and platters, instead they use a type of flash memory called NAND. In an SSD, semiconductors store information by changing the electrical current of the circuitry inside the drive. This means that, unlike hard drives, SSDs don’t require any moving parts to function.

As a result, SSDs not only run faster and smoother than HDDs (HDDs take longer to collect data due to the mechanical nature of their platters and heads), they also tend to last longer than HDDs (with so many intricate moving parts, HDDs are vulnerable to damage and wear). types of computer storage device

In addition to new PCs and high-end computers, SSDs can be found in smartphones, tablets, and sometimes video cameras.

The best way to store large amounts of dataThe best way to store large amounts of data types of computer storage device

If you’re running out of space on your devices, it’s time to look for an alternative storage device. Even external storage devices like flash drives can run out of space, get broken, or get lost. Therefore, the best way to store all your files is in the cloud. It’s safer, faster, and easier to access.

20 Examples of Storage devices

Data storage devices can be:

  • Primaries . Those necessary for the operation of the system as they contain vital metadata to start the operating system .
  • secondaries . Those accessories, removable or not, with which it is possible to enter and extract data from and to the system.

Examples of storage devices

  1. RAM memory . Acronym for Random Access Memory , it is the storage field used as a working medium in computer systems, since it contains all the processor instructions and most of the software instructions . Shutting down or restarting the system erases all of its content.
  2. ROM memory . Acronym for Read-Only Memory , it is a storage medium that contains data that is difficult (or impossible) to modify, vital for the basic functioning of the computer system and its primary operating system .
  3. Magnetic tape decks (DAT) . These are systems for recording and reading digital audio information, which handle small devices or plastic cassettes with magnetic tape inside, operating similarly to their analog cousins.
  4. Digital Magnetic Tape Devices (DDS) . Derived from the DAT systems, they are digital and computerized information management units from magnetic tape, remotely similar to the VHS format.
  5. 3½ floppy drives (obsolete) . Evolution of the floppy disk drive, these drives used more rigid and durable diskettes, with higher capacity (1.44 MB). types of computer storage device
Internal hard-drive
Image of a hard drive inside.
  1. Rigid or “Hard” Drives . Known as HDD (Acronym for Hard Disk Drive ), they are much larger storage units than optical disks and memories, but they are usually found inside the CPU and are not removable. That is why they usually contain the information of the operating system and the content of files and software of the computer in its entirety.
  2. Portable Hard Drives . Removable and external version of the hard drive, they connect to the computer through its I/O ports and hold large amounts of information.
  3. CD-ROM drives . Abbreviations for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory (Compact Disc Read-Only Memory), are read-only devices created in 1985 and that operate on the basis of a laser beam that, reflected on the sheet inside the disc, supplies the computer with a set of binary signals from the plains and indentations of it.
  4. CD-R/RW drives . Similar to CD-ROM, these drives allow not only reading but also partial or definitive writing of compact optical discs, in some cases allowing their reuse.
  5. DVD-ROM drives . Acronym for Digital Versatile Disc (Digital Versatile Disc), it operates in a similar way to the CD, that is, it is recorded only once and can be read many times, but with the difference that it holds up to 7 times the load of information of said formats.
  6. DVD-R/RW drives . These are DVD disc recording and re-recording units, which allow up to 4.7 Gigabytes of information to be written to them.
  7. Blue Ray Units . This is the name given to a new generation optical disc format, endowed with much greater storage capacity and reading quality, since the laser used for said reading is blue instead of the traditional red. Supports up to 33.4 Gigabytes per recording layer.
  8. Zip drives . Introduced to the market in the mid-1990s, ZIP drives operate from high-capacity magnetic disk storage peripheral drives . They were replaced by flash memories.
pendrive - flash storage
Pendrive (flash memory).
  1. Flash Memory Units . Connected to the equipment via USB or Firewire, these readers allow the support of information in a portable format compatible with digital cameras and electronic agendas.
  2. Memory Card Units . Like flash memory (arguably a form of it), portable memory devices or memory cards allow large-scale physical handling of information through USB ports. There is a huge variety of models, known as Pendrive since some have the practicality of a pen.
  3. Punched card unit (obsolete) . This technology consisted of information reading systems from cardboard cards to which a hole was made in a certain place, to allow the optical reading of the binary code: hole represented a value (1), without a hole represented another (0) .
  4. Punched tape drive (obsolete) . Similar to punch cards in operation, they were his step forward, turning cardboard cards into a long strip of instructions, which allowed much more information to be handled.
  5. Magnetic drums (obsolete) . One of the earliest forms of computer memory, invented in 1932, stored information in layers of iron oxide across rotating metals that, while not removable, allowed information to be retrieved at high speeds.
  6. Cloud storage . The development of online storage systems and high data transmission speeds on the Internet have allowed it to be used as a reading and writing device, which is why many trust their files to “the cloud” instead of physical media. . types of computer storage device

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