Secondary Storage

This resource details the three main types of storage (magnetic, optical and solid state) with advantages and disadvantages of each.

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SECONDARY STORAGE
This is data storage which retains its contents when the computer is switched off
(nonvolatile!)
It is slower to access secondary storage than internal memory.
Data in internal memory is lost when the computer is switched off.
Types of secondary storage:
Magnetic
o Stores binary data on a disk/tape ­ different parts magnetised to store 0/1
Optical
o Stores binary through reflection/non reflection of light
Solid state
o Stores binary on material where areas act as open/closed switches
One example of a magnetic storage device is a hard drive. Platters rotate while a
read/write head moves to load and save data. A hard drive is used to store the OS,
applications and files.
Advantages:
Very fast access to data
Random access means data can be read from any part
Disadvantages:
If the data is not backed up elsewhere, it will be lost when the drive
eventually fails
Another form of magnetic storage is magnetic tape. The tape is written to or read
from when it passes the heads. You have to start at the beginning of the tape (serial
access) when searching for data. This tape is commonly used to backup data.
Advantages:
Cheap
Large storage capabilities
Disadvantages:
Serial access makes data access slow
A CDROM is a type of optical storage device. It is slower to access than a hard
drive but faster than a floppy disc.
Advantages:
Large quantities of data can be stored
CD drives are common in PCs
Disadvantages:
Files cannot be saved on a CDROM
If scratched, they can stop working

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Solid state storage devices include solid state drives and USB flash drives. They do
not have moving parts.…read more

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