One of the qualities that make humans different from the rest of the species the inhabit the Earth is their constant need to save things. While many animals have the capacity to store things for an impending winter, we humans are the only ones that keep things simply for the sentimental or enjoyment factors. In times past, this quality was expressed solely in real world items, including personal items, such as photos or letters, to business-oriented items like records and inventory.
With the integration of computers in virtually every aspect of many people’s daily lives, the need for a different type of storage has arisen. While this type of storage does not require large spaces to accommodate, the value of what is being stored is many times no less valuable or important. Special emails from friends or loved ones, pictorial records of momentous vacations or even videos that you find worthy of replaying are just a few of the personal examples of things many people find important enough to digitally store. The number of things in the business end of life is no smaller, with lengthy business records kept instead of warehouses full of paper products, important memos that the boss needs for an upcoming meeting and all of the minutia that virtually every modern business runs on.
Answering the call for these needs is the individual storage medium that is found in each tech device. While the various storage components themselves may have some differences in terms of capacity and the way the information on them is saved, virtually every tech device used comes with this possibility in one form or another.
Different Storage for Desktop Computers
As the oldest of the most popular mainstream devices, computers have the most choices when it comes to the different types of available storage media. The most common storage component found in computers is the hard drive. Hard disc drives (HDD) are rectangular devices that are made up of discs coated in a magnetic substance, which rotate at high levels of speed. The information is both stored on and read from these magnetic discs using a magnetic actuator.
Another type of drive that is found in many desktop computer systems is the optical drive. Instead of the spinning discs and rotating actuator arms that are found in HDDs, optical drives use a laser to read and write information to and from removable discs. Historically, the most common type of optical drive seen in a computer was the CD-ROM. However, due to higher capacities of storage, DVD drives are becoming much more the norm.
When it comes to the decision on which type of drive to purchase, the main qualities to look for are how much information the drive can store, the rpms that the disc spins at and the form factor that it comes in. Faster rpm speed directly impacts how fast your computer will both save and retrieve the information that is stored on it. Form factor tells what size the drive is, important in ensuring that the drive will actually fit in your PC.
Different Storage for Laptops
Since laptops are basically a portable version of the desktop computers, they can use much the same types of drives that you would find in those types of devices. Granted, the drive size is usually smaller than those found in desktops, which corresponds with the laptops smaller size.
There is another type of drive that has recently gained a wider degree of acceptance called the solid state drive or SSD. The technology behind the solid state drive actually dates back to the 1950s; however it has only been relatively recently that these devices gained a larger market share with the general public. SSDs are completely different than both optical drives and HDDs in the fact that they have no moving parts. SSDs are found to handle many problems that are more prevalent in laptops at a higher success rate, such as wear and tear and electric shock. However, this added quality comes at a price that is currently around ten times the per gigabyte cost found in HDDs.
Storage for Smartphones & Tablets
Due to their smaller size, the drives that are usually found in desktops and laptops are simply not feasible in smartphones or tablet PCs. Instead, these devices use a medium known as the flash drive. Flash drives, like the solid state drive, contain none of the moving parts found in other types of drives. Instead these devices read and write to them electronically, usually in blocks of information segmented on the drive. Both smartphones and tablets contain an internal flash drive, as well as usually the capacity to connect supplemental drives through a USB port.
Without the capability of storage, most tech devices would lose much of the appeal that they currently enjoy. As a result, new and better technologies for this component are always being researched and improving in terms of capacity and speed, making them more effective and cost efficient.