Storage Devices

External Hard Drive

External Hard Drive

Stores very large amounts of data, can be plugged into your computer via USB or Firewire

+ Very large storage

+ Portable

+ Cheap £ / Gb


- Easy to corrupt data (dust, dropping, magnetic field Etc.)

- Moving parts are easy to break

- Slower than non-moving part devices

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Magnetic Tape

Magnetic Tape

Used for storing and archiving small amounts of data

+ Small

+ Robust

+ Portable

+ Low cost


- Very slow read write

- Serial Access (All data must be read, before it can be opened)

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Memory Sticks

Memory Sticks

A small pen top sized usb device, seen as a removable drive (millions of NAND transistors)

+ Quick and durable because of no moving parts

+ Stores large amounts of data

+ Extremely portable because of size


- Can easily br lost or stolen as it's so small

- Expensive compared to SSD

- Limited number of read - write cycles

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Memory Cards

Memory Cards

Stamp sized USB device (E.g. SD card), can be read with a memory card reader

+ Small, so can be used in cameras and other small/light devices

+ Holds large quantities of data

+ Extremely portable

+ Durable as there's no moving parts


- Most computers don't have a built in memory card reader

- Extremely small, easily stolen, lost or damaged

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Optical Drives

Optical Drives

Disks such as CDs , DVDs, and Blu - Ray disks, can hold audio, video and other files for transfer

+ Most can be re-written and used again

+ Very cheap

+ Large storage capacity available


- Some older computers or laptops may not be able to read disks

- CD - ROMs or DVD - ROMs cannot be overwritten and re-used


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In order of capacity

Capacity order

Floppy Disk         Lowest

Zip Drive



Flash Drive

Hard Drive

Tape Drive           Highest

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In order of speed

Data access speed

RAM and ROM          Fastest

Hard Disk

Flash Drive


Zip disk

Floppy disk

Magnetic Tape          Slowest

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In order of price

Price per Gigabyte

Magnetic Tape         Cheapest

Hard Disk



Flash Stick

Zip Disk

Floppy Disk            Expensive

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