Computer Tips and Tricks

Don’t Know Your HDD From Your USB? Read This Primer On Data Storage

Data storage is a hot topic in today’s digital age. It’s not just computers that store information. Storage devices get used for everything items ranging from cable TV boxes to smartphones and tablets.

There are so many storage mediums that it can sometimes get complex to choose the right one for your needs. Today’s primer will walk you through the different options when it comes to data storage.




Hard drives


These storage mediums are one of the most-popular ones in use these days. They are super-cheap to buy, and get used in pretty much any home or office electronic device.


They are mechanical devices, and data gets stored onto them magnetically. The process for data storage is similar in some ways to cassette tapes. They only last between four to six years if used daily, so it’s important you backup any important data onto another device.


You can use hard drives as internal drives for your computer, or as external USB-based ones. Hard drives are available in 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch sizes. The former for desktop PCs, the latter for laptops.


Solid-state drives


They are also called “SSDs.” These drives are gaining popularity with computer users for one good reason: speed. The thing about solid-state drives is that data access is quite quick. With an SSD, you can enjoy fast boot-up times, fast application access and no noise.


That’s because they are not mechanical drives. They have no moving parts and are, in essence, like giant USB flash drives!


There are a couple of downsides to solid-state drives that you should know about. The first is that they cost a lot more than a conventional hard drive. And the other is that affordable SSDs don’t offer the same amount of storage space as hard drives.


For example, a 500GB hard drive might cost $55. But if you want a similar capacity solid-state drive, you can expect to pay $300 for one!


Network-accessible storage


These guys are often called “NAS” drives. In its basic form, they are external hard drives that you can plug into your Ethernet network. You can have a single drive, or an array of drives for disk mirroring purposes.


NAS drives offer many options for data management. You can set them up in something called a “RAID” array so that your data won’t disappear if one of the drives becomes faulty. There are plenty of NAS options available. You can have a simple single-drive setup for your home, or a multi-drive setup for enterprise solutions.


USB flash drives


With a USB flash drive, you have the freedom to read and write data to it from any computer – regardless of operating system. They are handy when you need a convenient method of data storage, and they are pretty cheap to buy.


As with solid-state drives, USB drives use flash memory. That means there are no internal moving parts. So it doesn’t matter if you drop a USB flash drive because it won’t get damaged.


It’s worth noting that some external hard drives are marketed as “USB drives.” Just to confuse things!


I hope you have enjoyed reading today’s article.

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