Mass Storage Devices A mass storage device is much like the memory of a computer. Sometimes this memory can be confused with RAM or Random Access Memory. Unlike RAM, mass storage devices can retain data while the computer’s power is off. Their purpose is to hold large amounts of data for long periods. In today’s world, the best mass storage devices can hold incredible amounts of data and be easily accessible on multiple computers as well as operating systems. The main types of mass storage are described as solid-state, magnetic, and optical.
Solid-state storage refers to memory that does not require moving parts. One example of solid-state storage is the USB, or Universal Serial Bus drive. Sometimes called a thumb, or flash drive, these devices contain of a small circuit board, a flash memory chip, and a usb connector. These devices are very durable because their parts are in a fixed state and do not rotate. Therefore, the lack of moving parts allows the drive to maintain functionality for a longer duration than other kinds of drives.
One unique characteristic of a flash drive is that they are often small. This can be an advantage if the user is frequently using multiple computers or would like to keep the drive with them. It can also be a disadvantage if you have a habit of losing things, because they are significantly smaller than other storage devices. Solid-state drives are easily operated, relatively inexpensive and a moderately fast way to transfer data. However, they are currently incapable of holding as much information as the other types of storage.
Magnetic storage devices use a moving disc or tape to store information. When magnetized in a particular way, the device produces and translates data to your computer. Every computer contains a magnetic storage device called a hard-disk drive. This is what allows your computer to store or save your information even after you have turned the computer off. Hard-drives can also be external, or contained outside of the computer and connected by a USB connector. These are the most popular way to store data being that they are in all computers.
In comparison to the other kinds of mass storage devices, magnetic devices are currently capable storing the largest amount of information. Unfortunately, magnetic devices are also the most expensive kind of storage. Along with being expensive, they typically do not last as long as optical devices. Another way we describe the properties of a mass storage device is optical. Optical devices are read and written by a laser which imprints the information onto a disc. CDs and DVDs are examples of optical storage.
These devices are very susceptible to damage because if the disc receives a prominent scratch, dent, or crack on the surface of the disc it will often be incapable of correctly being depicted by the laser that is translating it. Along with being very fragile, the optical devices take significantly longer and more difficult to transfer data than magnetic and solid state devices. In order to use optical means of importing and exporting data a computer must be equipped with a laser capable of writing along with reading the disc, which is not always the case.
After describing the properties of each mass storage device, it is amazing to see the different types of technology all utilized and incorporated in and out of the computer system. Many people use these products without-ever really grasping how differently they work. Perhaps now, mass storage devices will not go without a second thought.
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