There are several different types of mass storage devices, including hard drives, solid state drives, optical disks, floppy disks, flash drives, and other pieces of technology such as MP3 players and Secure Digital (SD) cards. Most types of storage devices can be used to store any type of file, but those on MP3 players can only display certain file types if they are not connected to a computer. All mass storage devices require a computer to function properly, because a computer is needed to move files to and from storage devices.
An SD card.
Hard drives are among the most common types of mass storage devices. Most computers already have a hard disk drive built in and can provide a large amount of memory that can be easily accessed by the user. Universal serial bus (USB) portable hard drives are also available, which offer the storage of a hard drive in a more transportable form. Most hard drives use magnetic disks that store data as a magnetic pattern. Solid state drives are essentially an alternative type of hard drive that runs faster, quieter and lasts longer.
A large capacity USB flash drive can store a large amount of data.
Optical discs are another of the most commonly used storage devices. An optical disc is better known to most people as a compact disc (CD) or digital versatile disc (DVD), which has data “written” to it by a laser. Most computers come equipped with a CD/DVD drive that can also write data to optical storage devices. This functionality has made optical discs common types of mass storage devices, and the data can be read by a variety of devices. For example, music stored on a CD can be played by most stereo systems, depending on the file format.
A hard disk drive is considered a mass storage device.
Floppy disks are an older class of mass storage devices, and while some computers can still play them, optical disks are much more popular. The memory of floppy disks is considerably less than that found in optical disks and hard disks, but they are generally much cheaper to buy and easily transportable. Another advantage of floppy disks is that they are universal, but unfortunately they run very slowly, especially when compared to other devices.
An MP3 player is a type of mass storage device used to store digital files.
Other technologies such as MP3 players and digital cameras can be used as mass storage devices. Most digital cameras use SD cards, which can offer a large amount of storage space, at least surpassing that of a CD or DVD. SD cards can often display photos and videos when connected to a digital camera. MP3 players usually have a lot of memory and can play music files without the help of a PC after transferring.
Floppy disks are an older class of mass storage devices.
Bulk data storage can be done using CDs.