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Secondary memory

It is also known as External memory/Storage memory/Auxiliary memory/Backup memory. It

is used for storing data and instructions permanently. It is also used for carrying data from
one computer to another. Secondary memory is not directly accessible to CPU. It is usually
slower for read/write, cheaper and used in larger storage capacity.
Example: Hard disk, CD, DVD, Pen drive, etc.
Types of Secondary memory are:
· Magnetic memory
· Optical memory

Magnetic Memory
Magnetic memory uses the property of magnet for storing data. It is in use since first
generations of computer. It contains data storing surface coated by magnetic oxide. Magnetic
memory is further divided as:
 Magnetic Drum
Magnetic drum contains a metallic drum coated by magnetic oxide on the outer surface of the
drum, data is stored in this surface. It was in use in first and second generations of computer.
 Magnetic tape
Magnetic tape contains thin plastic ribbon, only one side of the ribbon is used for storing
data. The data storing side is coated by magnetic oxide. It is a sequential access memory. So,
the data read/write speed is slower. It is mainly used for storing audio, video and back-up
data. It is highly reliable. It requires magnetic tape drive for reading and writing data. It has
the storage capacity of 100MB-200GB. The width of the ribbon also varies from 4mm-1inch.
 Magnetic disk
Magnetic disk contains a circular disc made of metal or plastic. Both side of the disc is
usually used for storing data. The disc is coated by magnetic oxide. The disc is divided into
multiple concentric circles known as track. Tracks are further divided into small area known
as sectors. Data are stored in sectors.
Example: Hard disk, floppy disk, zip disk, super disk, Winchesterdisk, jaz disk.

Hard disk
It is used as main storage device of the computer. It uses 2-4 metallic disk (platter). The disk
is usually made of aluminum. Both sides of the disk is used for storing data except the upper
side of the uppermost disk and lower side of the lowermost disk. The data storing surface is
coated by magnetic oxide. Each data storing surface contains separate read/write head.
During data read/write process platter rotates at the rate of 3600-15000rpm. It has the storage
capacity of few mega bytes to tera byte.

Floppy disk
It contains single plastic disk. Initially it was used as a main storage device but nowadays it is
used for carrying data from one computer to another. It requires floppy drive for its operation.
It is not reliable as hard disk because the data storing surface is exposed. So, it may be
affected by dust particles and magnetic field.
Pen drives
Pen drive, or a USB flash drive, is a portable data-storage device. It has replaced the floppy drives
and CD/DVD of old and has become the most popular data-storage devices among consumers.
Optical Memory
Optical memory uses light beam for its operation. It is developed in fourth generation of
computer. It is mainly used for storing audio/video, backup as well as for carrying data. It
requires optical drive for its operation. Its read/write speed is slower compared to hard disk
and flash memories.
Example: CD, DVD, BD

It stands for Compact Disk. It has storage capacity of 700 MB or approximately 90 minutes
of standard audio. CD contains hard circular plastic, single side of this plastic is coated by
aluminum alloy. This alloy stores data. It is protected by additional thin plastic covering. CD
required CD drive for its operation. Types of CD are:
CD-R is a blank CD in which data can be stored once. After storing data it is converted into
CD-ROM -- It cannot be erased or updated
CD-RW -- It can be erased and used for multiple times.

It stands for Digital Versatile Disk. It has the storage capacity of 4.7GB to 17GB. Its shape
and size is similar to CD but the difference in storage capacity is due to different chemical
component and data is compressed before storing. It requires DVD drive for its operation.
Read/write speed of DVD is slower than that of CD. Types of DVD are:

DVD can also be classified as:

 Single sided single layered DVD (4.7GB)
 Single sided dual layered DVD (7-8GB)
 Dual sided single layered DVD (9GB)
 Dual sided dual layered DVD (17GB)

It stands for Bluray disk. It has the storage capacity of 25GB-50GB. It requires BD drive for
its operation. Its shape and size is similar to CD and DVD. Types of BD are:
 BD-R
Hard Disks and Its types

It is a non-volatile storage device which stores digitally encoded data on rapidly rotating
platters with magnetic surface.

Types of HDD :

1. IDE : Integrated Drive Electronics. IDE drives are also known as PATA drives(
Parallel advance technology attachment )
2. SATA : Serial advance technology attachment
3. SCSI : Small Computer System Interface. SCSI is pronounced as scuzzy.
4. SAS : Serial Attached SCSI

IDE / PATA (Integrated Drive Electronics Drive / Parallel Advance Technology Attachment

 IDE/PATA Drives have usually 40 pins.

 IDE/PATA Drives offer 133 MB/sec transfer rate.
 It sends 8 bit data at a time.
 PATA Cables are used to connect PATA HDD. Two drives can be connected in a
single pata cable. One as master and other as slave. The configuration of master and
slave is done by different combination of jumpers in the hdd.

SATA (Serial Advance Technology Attachment Drive)

 SATA Drives have usually 7 pins, 4 pins in pair of two for sending and receiving
data and rest 3 pins are grounded.
 SATA Drives offers generally 300MB/sec transfer rate.
 It sends data bit by bit.
 SATA Cables are used to connect SATA HDD. Only one drive can be connected in
a single sata cable.

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface Drive)

 SCSI Drives have usually 50 to 68 pins.

 SCSI Drive offers generally 640MB/sec transfer rate.
 This drives are hot swappable.
 SCSI cables are used to connect SCSI HDD. Maximum of 16 drives can be
connected in a single scsi cable. Each hdd have a 8 bytes hexadecimal code known
as WWN (worldwide name) for its identification in the cable.

SAS(Serial Attached SCSI Drive)

 SAS Drives generally offers 805 MB/sec transfer rate.

 This drives are hot swappable.
 SAS Cables are used to connect SAS Drives. Maximum of 128 drives can be
connected in a single sas cable.
HDD: Hard Disk Drive: This is a bunch of magnetic discs spinning very fast, with a head
reading and writing data on the magnetic surface of the disks. These are larger and cheaper,
but also slower, since the head has to reposition itself every time you need data from a
different location.

SSD: Solid State Drives: You can consider these as bigger version of pen drives. They store
data in memory (flash) chips, and this means they don't have any moving parts. This allows
higher speeds, but also makes them expensive. Also, they don't come in the capacities HDDs
come in.
Computer use two main types of connectors for hard drives:

SATA: This is the most common connector used in laptops. These come in SATA 2 and
SATA 3 versions, supporting 3.0 and 6.0 Gbps respectively.

SATA drives come in two form factors. 2.5" which goes into laptops and looks like this when
it is magnetic:

and like this when it is an SSD:

Then we have 3.5" which is bigger and thicker, a little bit faster, and looks like this when it is
and like this when it is an SSD:

3.5" SSDs are actually quite rare.

3.5" drives are faster on average because they have more power to play with.

PCIe: This is a very recent technology which comes in select Ultrabooks like the Macbook
Air. You can buy these for desktops, but they are quite expensive. However, they are insanely
quick. I know of some that can hit 24 Gbps, and there are even faster versions available.
For laptops, they look like this:

and for desktops, like this:

These are exclusively SSDs.

Apart from the size, you will hear about RPM rating. 5400 and 7200 RPM are the most
common ones. This is the speed at which the magnetic disks inside the HDD spin in
revolutions per minute A higher RPM HDD is faster, but it consumes more power and is
more expensive. The extra power consumption also translates to more heat, both of which are
issues in laptops, but not desktops.

Now we come to external drives.

External drives are of two main types. They are both based on SATA drives, and as a result,
come in two form factors.

2.5": These contain 2.5" magnetic drives with a chip that converts SATA to any one of the
connectors available.

These are small, and are powered by the port they are connected to, so they are commonly
called portable hard drives (for being small and portable, not because they use one port,
although they are portable also because they only use one port...okay enough puns :D).
They mostly connect using USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) or USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)

(USB 3 is blue inside, USB 2 may be white/black/grey. It's white here)

but you also have some Firewire 400(400 Mbps)

(4 pin variant on the left and 6 pin variant on the right)

Firewire 800

and Thunderbolt (10 Gbps)

versions available. Each version has a different "bridge" to convert SAT to the respective
3.5": These contain 3.5" drives with the same chip as 2.5", plus a power supply.

These need external power supplies since the disks are heavier, and need more power than the
port can supply. These also come in USB, Firewire and Thunderbolt versions. They are also
referred to as external hard drives.

There are a few differences in the 2.5" and 3.5" external drives. 2.5" is more convenient, but
3.5" is more heavy duty and reliable. Also, 3.5" drives tend to be faster on average, thanks to
the dedicated power supply.

Coming to your specific questions:

For laptops, for internal storage, you can use pretty much any 2.5" SATA drive. SSDs are
obviously faster, but for a lot more money, you get a lot less storage. PCIe drives are not
supported unless your laptop came with one.

For external storage, with laptops, it depends on your needs. If you need something to carry
around, go for a portable USB 3.0 drive. It is fast enough, reliable and convenient to haul
around. You do not need a power socket to get it to work, which is another advantage. If,
however, you need something nly for backup, I would recommend an external USB 3.0 drive.
They are faster, even more reliable, and you get more storage for the same money.