Storage Devices of Computer, Definitions, Types, and Examples

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In this article, we provide all the important information about “Storage Devices of Computer” based on the previous year’s questions asked in various competitive exams.

Computer awareness is an important subject for various competitive exams. Recently, SSC released its new exam pattern which includes a computer knowledge test of 60 marks.

Also, for candidates preparing for competitive exams, some sample computer storage device questions have been given along with their answers.

Aspirants who are preparing for exams that have computer knowledge as a subject in the syllabus can refer them for help.

In this article, we bring to you the various storage devices of a computer along with their functions, Types, and uses.

Introduction of Storage Devices of Computer

• A computer storage device enables its user to store and safely access the data and applications on a computer device.

• It is a key component of computers and has many types.

• For basic “computer awareness”, all types of computer storage devices and their examples should be learned.

What is a storage device?

Definition of storage device

• A storage device is a hardware device that can be used to store digital data and applications which may be in the form of images, video, audio, etc.

Common example of a computer storage device

• Hard disk drives, solid-state drives, CDs, DVDs, and pen drives are common examples of computer storage devices.

Types of storage devices

• Computer storage units are divided into three categories. Here is a detailed description of the three types of computer storage:

Primary Storage

• Primary storage in a computer is the main memory of a computer.

• It is volatile in nature, which means the storage data is deleted when it is turned off.

• It is direct memory that is accessible to the central processing unit (CPU).

• It is temporary because whenever the device is turned off or rebooted, the memory is erased.

• Compared to secondary and tertiary storage, it is smaller in size.

• Primary storage consists of internal memory only.

• Examples of primary storage include Cache memory and RAM etc.

Secondary Storage

• It is non-volatile in nature, which means the storage data is not deleted when it is turned off.

• It has a larger storage capacity than primary storage.

• This type of storage does not have direct accessibility to the central processing unit (CPU).

• External Secondary Storage devices (for example – external Hard Disk) are connected to the computer through input and output channels.

• Examples of secondary storage are Memory Cards, USB drives, floppy disks, etc.

Tertiary Memory

• This type of storage is typically slower than a secondary storage device.

• It is not a part of personal computers.

• It involves mounting and unmounting the mass storage device controlled by a robotic arm.

• It can work automatically without human intervention.

• Examples of tertiary storage devices are tape libraries and optical jukeboxes.

List of Computer Storage Devices

• There are four types of devices in which computer data can be stored.

  1. Magnetic Storage Devices
  2. Optical Storage Devices
  3. Flash Memory Devices
  4. Online Cloud Storage

Magnetic Storage Devices

• They are currently the most widely used storage devices due to their being affordable and easily accessible.

• Large amounts of data can be stored on magnetic media.

• Below are examples of magnetic storage devices.

Floppy Disk

• It is also known as a floppy diskette.
• It is a removable storage device.
• It is square in shape.

• It is made of plastic and a magnetic material attached to the plastic enclosure.

• It stores digital data that can be read and written to a floppy disk drive (HDD) when the disk is inserted.

• The first floppy disks were invented and made by IBM.

• It comes in three different sizes, 8-inch, 5¼-inch, and 3½-inch.

• The maximum storage capacity of a floppy disk is around 1.44 megabytes.

• An 8-inch floppy disk has a storage capacity of about 80 kilobytes.

• Today, these floppy disks have been replaced by CDs, DVDs, and USB drives.

Hard Drive

• A hard disk drive (HDD) is an electro-mechanical data storage device.

• It is directly connected to the motherboard’s disk controller.

• This is integral storage space as it is required to install any new programs or applications on the device.

• Hard disk drive is the most common secondary storage device for desktop computers.

• It can store applications, software programs, images, videos, etc.

Zip Disk

• The Zip Disk is a removable floppy disk storage system.

• It was introduced by Iomega in late 1994.

• Initially it had a storage capacity of 100 MB which was later increased to 250 and finally 750 MB.

Magnetic Strip

• Magnetic Strip was an important medium for storing basic information in early computers.

• A magnetic strip is attached to the device comprising digital data.

• A perfect example of this is a debit card that has a strip on one side that stores digital data.

Optical Storage Devices

• Such devices used lasers and lights to detect and store data.

• They are cheaper in comparison to USB drives and can store more data.

• Some of the widely used optical storage devices are CD-ROM, DVD, and Blu-Ray Disc.

CD-ROM

• CD-ROM stands for Compact Disc read-only memory.

• Computers can read—but not write—or erase CD-ROM data because it is a type of read-only memory.

Blu-Ray Disc

• It can store up to 25 GB of data in a single-layer disc and 50 GB of data in a dual-layer disc.

• Blu-ray discs were backed up by major IT and computer companies.

DVD

• DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc.
• It can be readable, recordable, and rewritable.

• Recordings can be done in such devices and then can be attached to the system.

CD-R

• CD-R stands for Compact disc-recordable.

• It uses photosensitive organic dye to record data and store it.

• They are a low-cost replacement for storing software and applications.

Flash Memory Devices

• Flash memory is an electronic non-volatile computer memory storage medium.

• The two main types of flash memory, NOR flash and NAND flash, are named for the NOR and NAND logic gates.

• They are easy to use, portable, and readily available and accessible.

• They have become a cheaper and more convenient option to store data.

• Some of the common examples are USB Drives, Memory Cards, and Memory sticks.

USB Drive

• USB Drive also known as a pen drive.

• This storage device is small in size and portable.

• It ranges between storage space of 2 GB to 1 TB.

• It comprises an integrated circuit that allows it to store data and also replace it.

Memory Card

• Usually attached with small electronic and computerized devices like mobile phones or digital cameras.

• A memory card can be used to store images, videos, and audio and is compatible and small in size.

Memory Stick

• The Memory Stick is a removable flash memory card.

• It was Originally launched by Sony in 1998.

• Generally, a memory stick is used as storage media for a portable device.

• It was available in capacities from 4 MB to 128 MB.

SD Card

• SD Card stands for Secure Digital Card.

• It is available in mini and micro sizes.

• It is used to store data in various portable electronic devices such as Digital Camera.

• It is a proprietary non-volatile flash memory card format developed by the SD Association (SDA).

Cloud Storage

• In cloud storage, data is stored on a server and in single and multiple locations around the world.

• Data stored in cloud storage is accessible through the Internet.

• The servers are managed by the cloud storage service provider.

• They are responsible for keeping data available and accessible and for keeping the physical environment safe, secure, and running.

• Individuals and organizations purchase or lease storage capacity from providers to store user, organization, or application data.

• Common examples of cloud storage services are Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.

Characteristics of Computer Storage Devices

Volatile memory

• Because of volatile memory, data stored in primary memory can be saved and replaced as needed.

Readable, Writable, and Rewritable

• These devices are readable, writable, and rewritable which ensures that the data saved if not necessary can be removed or replaced accordingly

Accessibility

• Their accessibility has become very easy and convenient. The devices are easily available online and offline and require no skills to use.

Capacity and Size

• They are widely available in different sizes (micro SD card to External hard disk) and different capacities (Large data storage up to terabytes).

Performance

• Data can be stored easily using these storage devices. They provide enough speed to perform any task.

Transferable

• Data stored in secondary and tertiary storage devices can be easily transferred from one device to another.

Computer Storage Devices Previous Year Questions

Question 1. A compact disc (CD) is a data storage system of the type: [SSC CGL Prelim 2000]
A. Magnetic
B. Optical
C. Electrical
D. Electromechanical

Answer: B. Optical

Question 2. Which of the following is not a secondary storage unit? [SSC MTS Exam. 2013]

A. RAM
B. DVD
C. Floppy
D. Magnetic tape

Answer: A. RAM

Question 3. Which one of the following is used as a secondary storage system in the computer? [SSC CGL Tier-I Re-Exam–2013]

A. RAM
B. Floppy
C. EPROM
D. ROM

Answer: B. Floppy

Question 4. Which of the following is used as the primary memory of a computer? [SSC CAPFs SI, CISF ASI & Delhi Police SI Exam 2015]

A. Optical storage device
B. Magnetic storage device
C. RAM
D. Magneto-Optical storage device

Answer: C. RAM

Question 5. USB is _____ a type of storage device. [SSC CHSL (10+2) LDC, DEO & PA/SA Exam 2015]

A. Auxillary
B. Primary
C. Secondary
D. Tertiary

Answer: C. Secondary

Question 5. The fastest, costlier, and relatively small form of storage managed by computer system hardware is: [SSC CHSL (10+2) LDC, DEO & PA/SA Exam 2015]

A. Disk
B. Flash Memory
C. Main memory
D. Cache

Answer: D. Cache

Question 6. Which is not an external storage device? [SSC CGL Tier-I (CBE) Exam. 2016]

A. CD – ROM
B. DVD-ROM
C. Pen Drive
D. RAM

Answer: D. RAM

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Computer Storage Devices

Q1. What are computer storage devices?

Answer. A storage device enables its user to store and securely access data and applications on a computer device.

Q2. What are secondary storage devices?

Answer: Secondary storage devices are non-volatile in nature, which means that data is not deleted when the storage is turned off, and it has a much higher storage capacity than primary storage devices.

Q3. What are examples of storage devices?

Answer: Some of the widely used storage devices are CDs, DVDs, Pen drives, Memory Cards, SSD, and HDDs.

Q4. What is a magnetic storage device?

Ans. Magnetic storage devices are non-volatile storage in nature, and data are stored using magnetic medium and such data is stored in binary form as 0 and 1.

Q5. What are examples of an Optic storage device?

Ans. Examples of common optical storage devices are CD-ROM, Blu-Disc, DVD, CD-R.


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