What Is Computer Storage And Its Types

Alienware Tower opened up exposing hard disk drive, fan and wiresWhat is computer storage?

Computer storage is a hardware component of the computer that is used to store files temporarily or permanently in the computer system.

Let’s talk about computer storage. There are basically two types of computer storage:

  • Primary storage and
  • Secondary storage

Primary storage:

Primary storage is like the main memory of the computer where almost all the basic instructions for a computer to operate remains which is why it is the fastest for the computer to access. Primary storage can be divided into two types:

  • RAM
  • ROM

RAM : PCSeviceDallas technician holding a ram on focus with lots of RAM in the background

RAM stands for Random Access memory which is the part of the main memory which is also called temporary memory or cache memory because whatever is stored inside the RAM is temporary and gets easily wiped out if it is not saved and the power supply gets cut off. A higher ram means that the performance of the computer will be fast. You can upgrade the Ram in most cases but sometimes there are instances when there are no ram slots and the ram is embedded. In that case, you cannot upgrade Ram. In most of the newer apple MacBooks, the Ram is embedded.

ROM :

 ROM stands for Read-Only Memory. The contents of ROM are written by the manufacturer and we as users cannot change the contents of ROM. The data stored in ROM is permanent and cannot be deleted.

Secondary Storage:

Secondary Storage can be defined as any other storage non-volatile devices other than the primary storage. It can either be external or internal and can store data permanently unless it is deleted, overwritten or the hardware breaks down or there is severe damage to the hardware. Some of the examples of Secondary Storage are:

  • Hard drive
  • Solid State Drive
  • USB Thumb Drive
  • SD Card
  • CD
  • DVD
  • Floppy Disk etc.

The commonly used secondary storage device used in computers is hard drives.

So what is a hard drive?

A hard drive is a device that stores all the software inside the computer whether it be the OS or game or utility and it also stores all the data files created, downloaded or used by the user. There are two types of hard drives

  • Hard disk drive
  • Solid-state drive

Hard disk drive(HDD)

A hard disk drive is a 500g device that performs the task of a hard drive. How Hard disk drive works? It is a remarkable piece of engineering because it is designed in such a way that various moving parts need to work together to store information in such a compact space. The data is stored in an arranged pattern which is in a circular format called tracks. Each track is separated into different sectors. One of the parts of the hard drive has a map that stores information about which sector has information and which sector is free. (In the Windows Operating System this type of map is called File Allocation Table or FAT) After figuring out which sector of the track is free, the part of the hard drive responsible for writing data onto the hard drive moves to the exact location and stores information in that section. If you want to access the information it is the same process but in reverse. The access time of Hard disk drive (HDD) is 10 ms. Access time is measured in a millisecond. The time it takes to Read data is 50-100 Mb/s. This time is calculated by megabytes per second. It consumes the power of around 6W. It is a very powerful device but it has its drawbacks. Because it is engineered with moving parts if only one part of the HDD is not working, there may be a chance of HDD not working at all. Even small particles like dust can also affect the HDD. If it is close to full, it makes the computer slow. So it may not be the most reliable if it’s not kept with care.

Hard Disk Drives Piled up together for replacement

 So what do we do to get a more reliable, faster, less power consuming and lighter hard drive? We can upgrade our hard disk drive to a solid-state drive

Solid State Drive(SSD)

Hard disk drive(HDD) was a mechanical device that had physical parts moving to erase and retain data but Solid State Drive(SSD) is completely different than HDD because it uses flash memory. Flash memory uses memory chips (commonly NAND-style-chips). These chips contain semiconductors that use different types of arrays and flip them into different states of electric charge to store information. It is given the name Solid-state because none of the parts are moving. SSD is a little expensive in comparison but it makes up for its price point by delivering faster, reliable and easier service than HDD.

240 GB SSD connected to a wire for data recovery

The advantage SSD has in retrospect to HDD is that they have an access time of 0.1 ms and read speed of 200-500mb/s. This is because in HDD there are moving parts and SSD uses electricity to access data and read. Since electricity is faster it has faster process time. It also weighs less in comparison to HDD because it doesn’t need a heavy protective casing like HDD. It usually just weighs around 50g so it also has better portability. It consumes even less power than HDD because there are no moving parts that consume power. It is also said by scientists that it is seen to last generally longer than HDDs. And because it doesn’t have any moving parts it is less likely to malfunction in the new SSDs causing low failure rates. SSD can be connected to the logic board.

SSD can be differentiated by the different types of connections they come with. The connections are listed below:

SATAIII

This type of connection played a huge role in the transition from an HDD to SSD because it is the same connection option used by HDD. This was very helpful during the transition phase going from HDD to SSD but now since SSD is becoming more common SATAIII connection type has been losing their functionality. This connection can handle a maximum bandwidth of about 600megabytes/second.

PCIe

PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express Option. These connection types connect directly to the PCIe lanes of the motherboard of the computer giving it more direct flow to data. It makes the access speed and the read speed very fast. It supports SSD writing speed unto 1GB per second. It is a very expensive system and it increases the price of the computer significantly.

NVMe

NVMe stands for Non-volatile Memory Express is designed to upgrade PCIe connections so that they are more versatile, easier to upgrade and faster. This connection type is even newer than the PCIe and is even more expensive than the PCIe connection types.

How many types of Pin categories SSD have and what are they??

The pin categories can be categorized into

SATA pin and

mSATA pin