If you want to know more about your different external memory options, then read this article to find about all the major types of external storage.
Related: 9 Types Of USB Storage Device
The 7 Major Types of External Storage
Made in 1982, Compact Discs (CDs) are one of the oldest forms of external memory. At the time, it was impressive how CDs were able to store up to 700 megabytes (MB).
It was made initially to replace cassette tapes until it grew and led to several types of CDs being made. The differences between each type lie in the read and write restrictions for users.
- CD Read-Only Memory (CD-ROM) — This type of CD doesn’t allow users to erase nor write over whatever is in the disc.
- CD-Recordable (CD-R) — A CD like this gives users the ability to write on the CD only once but has an unlimited number of reads available.
- CD Re-Writable (CD-RW) — With a CD like this, you can erase and write over it for up to 1000 times.
Digital Versatile Discs (DVDs) are much like CDs in that it also uses laser light to store and retrieve data. This particular way of storing or retrieving data is characteristic of optical storage devices.
Although a CD and a DVD are similar in many ways, they’re also different in just as many aspects too. One difference is their storage capacity.
In comparison to CDs, DVDs have much higher storage capacity. This external memory is capable of storing 4.7 gigabytes (GB) of data as a standard.
Usually, people use DVDs to store movies and videos, while CDs are more commonly used to store music.
3. External Hard Drives
One of the more common external memory devices in this day and age are external hard drives. An external hard drive is similar to a hard drive you’d find in a computer.
The difference between the two, however, is that an external hard drive is portable and connects to a computer via a USB cable or even without a wire. Plus, an external hard drive can connect with other computers, unlike an internal hard drive.
An external hard drive has a high storage capacity. Its storage capacity can range from 500MB to 1TB.
Aside from storing random data, there are many specific uses for an external hard drive. You can use it to store back-up data for your internal hard disks, or you can partition it so you can use it to share with other people.
External hard drives are among the best external memory storage options for users out there right now. With their portability and massive storage capacity, this comes as no surprise.
4. Flash Drive
Another popular type of external memory is the flash drive, which is a small device that can store and transfer data to and from various other devices. It has plenty of other names such as USB drive, pen drive, thumb drive, and more.
Flash drives can come in all shapes and sizes and have different memory capacities too. For the average user, however, a 32GB flash drive would probably be large enough for different purposes.
There are also creative ways outside of the usual with which you can make use of a flash drive.
5. PC Card/PC External Memory
Back in the day, if you wanted to extend the memory capacity of your PC, you had to have one of these around. They are slim, and are approximately the size of a credit card.
There are five types of PC cards: Type I, Type II, Type III, Type IV, and Compact Flash Cards. The difference between each type is its thickness and interface.
Nowadays, you’ll rarely find a laptop or notebook that uses a PC card. Instead, you’ll have SD card slots or USB ports available anywhere.
6. Memory Card
Memory cards are smaller and thinner external memory that users usually store in other devices. The most common types of memory cards are CompactFlash, a Memory Stick, an SD Card, and the xD-Picture Card.
You can use memory cards for a variety of devices, including video game consoles, mobile phones, and cameras. Memory cards are usually either a supplement or the primary storage of specific equipment.
The largest storage capacity of a memory card is at around 512GB.
You can access memory cards either through a slot in your laptops or if they don’t have a memory card slot, a memory card reader.
7. Online/Cloud Storage
Nowadays, you don’t have to have physical devices to have external memory storage. Online, or “cloud storage” is another option that utilizes the Internet.
Although technically the cloud storage is a physical server, it still enables you to access your data anywhere. As long as you have an Internet connection and you’ve saved your files on a cloud storage provider, you should be good to go.
Popular cloud storage service providers include Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.
With cloud storage, you usually pay a monthly fee to be able to store your data, which is unlike other external memory on this list, which typically require one-off payments. There are also free options available, but with limited storage.
External memory is a useful device that’s proving more and more necessary in this day and age. Depending on your needs and other factors, such as budget, there are different types of external memory you can choose from. We hope this guide has helped you learn more about external memory, and what options are out there to suit your needs.
Which of the external memory options on our list do you use most often? Comment down below to let us know!
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