Explained: Types of storage devices that are available and how do they work


There are many different types of data storage device options that are available today. These devices vary from large networks ones that are perfect for multi-user environments to smaller drives that are made for portable and mobile devices. Data storage concepts also include Wi-Fi drives and the ones with cloud drive features.
Handling data and information is very important so it’s crucial for you to select the best data storage device possible. The perfect device should not only store your data but must also be capable of distributing it. Here are some of the things that you should consider first before finalising on a storage device. Let us discuss the types of data storage devices that are available in the market
Internal Storage
Internal storage options comprise mainly the primary storage devices. Internal storage includes the parts that are usually found within the chassis of a system. It is commonly found inside your PC and laptop.
The capacity of internal storage can range from 500 GB to 1 TB in laptops, whereas it can go as high as up to 6 TB for PCs. There are two advantages to internal storage: it can often be a lot , and it can be accessed almost always (if you’re not having trouble with the hardware).
Types of Internal Storage
Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)
The hard disk drive (commonly known as hard drive) is one of the earliest data storage devices to be invented. These devices are made up of mechanical components that use electromagnetism to store the data. It was first unveiled in the 1950s that came with IBM’s 305 RAMAC computer. This was the very first magnetic hard disk that surprised the world as it allowed the users to access their saved data instantly.
These hard drives are more prone to physical defects as they come with mechanical components. They are not good at withstanding damages that are caused from moving sharply or being dropped. There is a physical limitation to how quickly the data can be moved or accessed as it has to spin very fast. Despite all these drawbacks, hard drives are still used as a popular option for their all-round decent performance.
Users can add more hard drives to their desktop PC to increase storage capacity. It will be possible only if the PC case, power supply and connectors on the motherboard allows adding. Nevertheless, you will have to work with the same internal hard drive that was pre-installed into the laptop.
HDD Form Factors
Data drives are available in two form factors, which are the 2.5-inch drive and the 3.5-inch drive. Spinning metal disks in HDDsare used to store data so more disks are required for better data capacity. This is the reason for the drive form factor on a desktop to be 3.5 inches with a highest capacity of 12 TB. On the other hand, a laptop’s hard drive form factor is 2.5 inches and has a maximum capacity of 5 TB.
If you are planning to replace the laptop drive, always remember that the thickness is a crucial consideration. Slimmer laptops can incorporate 2.5-inch drives that come with a thickness of up to 7mm, whereas bigger laptops need drives that are 9.5mm thick. It is important to know the thickness that your laptop supports before trying to replace it.
Solid-State Drives (SSDs)
These drives were developed with two important goals in mind — to be faster and to boost reliability. SSDs are powered by electronic circuits and have no moving parts that help them to function effectively. They are also equipped with flash memory chips (replacement of spinning disk in HDDs), a flash controller (a version that works like the HDD’s magnetic actuator arm), and some of the primary parts that are mostly found on circuit boards.
This format makes sure of the quality and design of each circuit board that allows for faster speed and reliability. SSD is much quicker in writing and restoring data compared to HDD. It is also more silent, lighter and needs less power as it does not not have any moving parts. The only drawback of solid-state drives is the limited capacity, but there is a fix for that.
SSD Form Factors
Solid-state drives have evolved over the years like hard drives which also include the form factor. The basic consumer-level SSDs are present in a hard-drive-like chassis for desktop PCs. It is lighter, smaller and commonly comes in a size of 2.5 inches. The mSATA and M.2 form factors come in an even smaller and lighter package that also improves performance.
Most ultrabook-style laptops come with mSATA or M.2 form factor SSD drives. They are usually placed in a drive bay which are stick-like devices that are plugged into the motherboard. These notebooks are impossible to upgrade without drive bays. Instead, you should look for external storage solutions in such situations.
Solid- State Hybrid Hard Drives (SSHDs)
SSHD is a type of hard drive that includes both the parts of a classic hard drive in the 2.5-inch form factor and also the circuit board of a tiny SSD. Hybrid hard drives have a small SSD (8 GB, for example) to speed up common applications and operating systems that you use. There is a limit to the SSD space on the SSHD, so ensure the specifications of the device before buying it.
On the contrary, the hard disk drive works as a virtual storage room for stationary files like — music, pictures and videos. Although, things load or copy a bit slowly on this side. The advantage of a hard drive is that it can be huge (like 1 TB or more) while giving some of the characteristics that are present in an SSD. Another thing to note about SSHDs is that you won’t be able to control where certain files or programs get stored.
External Storage
This secondary storage option includes devices that are equipped with their own chassis. External data storage devices can be connected to a desktop PC, laptop or motherboard through USB, eSATA cable, Thunderbolt, or Firewire. These external hard drives also need a wall adapter for power. They are available in various sizes and storage capacities that vary from 1 TB to 8 TB and more, considering the physical size and that particular model.
External storage is the easiest and most user-friendly way of adding storage to your computer. It does not need any installation, all you have to do is simply plug it in and allow the system to detect it. You can connect an external drive via USB to any computer, as well as other supported devices like TVs and set-top boxes.


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