Storage Quick Guide

This doc describes the different types of storage devices and outlines common questions about storage devices.

Common Storage Device Questions

  • What is a storage device?
  • A storage device, as the name implies is stores all the files on your computer. Programs, pictures, movies, documents, and the alike are all stored here. Most people refer to all storage drives as hard drives but the new standard in storage devices, a solid state drive, is not technically a hard drive.

  • Who needs a storage device?
  • Every computer owner needs a storage device. Without it, a computer will have nowhere to store software and personal data.

  • How do I know if it will be large enough?
  • As a basis for hard drive size determination, it is good to know that typically your operating system and basic programs installed (Office, iTunes, Spotify, internet browsers, email clients, etc) take about 20-40 GB of data. If you are planing on buying a new computer it is often helpful to look at the usage on your current computer to determine how much space you will need.

  • How do I tell if I need a hard disk drive (hard drive) or a solid state drive?
  • Two things come into consideration when looking at what type of storage device to get: how much space do you need and is speed more important. Solid state drives are more expensive for larger storage quantities than hard disk drives are but they are much faster, more durable, and more reliable (see table on the bottom of the page for the comparison)

  • How do I tell if I need an external drive?
  • Everyone should have an external drive for backing up his or her machine. The size of the backup drive should be at minimum the size of the computer's hard drive.

Internal vs External Drives

Drive Types:

  • 2.5" drives are the storage devices that are most commonly found in laptop computers.
  • 3.5" drives are the storage devices that are most commonly found in desktop computers.
  • The two drives types, 2.5" and 3.5" are shown below (2.5" on top and 3.5" on bottom).
  • 25and35drive.PNG

Connection Types

Drive Power
  • 4 Pin molex connection
  • molex.PNG
  • SATA power connection
  • sata.PNG
  • mSATA power connection
  • mSATA.jpg
Data Connection
  • IDE (old drives)
  • ide.PNG
  • SATA (current standard)
  • sata.PNG
  • mSATA (future standard)
  • mSATA.jpg

Drive Types:

  • 2.5" drives in an enclosure are the portable version of external storage devices. 2.5" drives receive power from the device that they are plugged into.
  • 25external.PNG
  • 3.5" drives in an enclosure are the desktop version of external storage devices. 3.5" drives receive power through an AC wall adapter.
  • 35external.PNG

Connection Types

  • USB 3.0 (left) & 2.0 (right)
  • usbb.PNG
  • FireWire 400 (left) & 800 (right)
  • firewire.PNG
  • Thunderbolt 1.0 & 2.0 (left) or Thunderbolt 3.0 (right)
  • thunderbolt12.jpgthunderbolt3.jpg
  • eSATA
  • esata.PNG

SSD vs HDD Comparison Table

AttributeSSD (Solid State Drive)HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
Drive Capacity2GB-5TB (After 1TB price increases drastically, this will stop as the technology improves).2.5": 40GB-2TB & 3.5": 120GB-6TB
Drive Speed (Average Latency)There are no moving parts on an SSD so drive speed is not a specification.5,400 RPM (2ms), 7,200 RPM (3ms), 10,000 RPM (4.16ms), 15,000 RPM (5.55ms)
Operating System Boot TimeSSDs have an average boot time of 10-20 seconds.HDDs have an average boot time of 45-60 seconds.
Read/Write SpeedThis varies greatly by device, however the average for SSDs is 100-500MB/s.This varies greatly by device, however the average for HDDs is 50-190 MB/s.
Power Draw/ Battery LifeLess power draw with an average of 2-3 watts. Adds an average of 30 minutes of battery life.More power draw with an average of 6-7 watts. Loses an average of 30 minutes of battery life.
CostGenerally more expensive especially for larger drives (price will continue to go down in the future).HDD are the cheaper option.
NoiseThere are no moving parts so the noise is not a factor.The spinning disk can cause noise, especially when in heavy use.
Mean Time Between FailuresTwo million hours1.5 million hours
File EncryptionFull disk encryption is supported on some modelsFull disk encryption is supported on some models
File OpeningSSDs average around 30% faster than HDDsSlower than SDDs
Effect of MagnetismSSDs are safe from magnetism.A strong enough magnet put close enough to an HDD will erase data.

Keywords:hard drive solid state drive molex sata data power connect usb firewire esata thunderbolt internal external 2.5 3.5 latency rpm read/write speed platter   Doc ID:66405
Owner:Ray S.Group:DoIT Tech Store
Created:2016-08-24 17:25 CDTUpdated:2018-10-10 15:45 CDT
Sites:DoIT Tech Store
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