Upgrading And Repairing PCs 21st Edition: Flash Storage

Upgrading And Repairing PCs 21st Edition

Alternative Storage Devices

Since the mid-1980s, the primary storage device used by computers has been the hard disk drive. More recently, however, flash-based storage including SSDs (solid-state drives) are increasingly being used as hard drive replacements. Although SSDs can physically replace a hard disk drive (HDD), they operate using a completely different set of principles that may require a treatment unlike that used for conventional HDDs. For data backup, data transport between computers, and temporary storage, secondary removable storage devices such as flash memory devices/drives, optical drives, magnetic tape drives, removable media hard drives, and even floppy drives have been useful supplements to primary storage. Cloud storage, too, now plays a major role in data transfer, storage, and backup.

Flash Memory Devices

Flash memory is a special type of solid-state memory chip that requires no power to maintain its contents. Flash memory cards can easily be moved from digital cameras to laptop or desktop computers and can even be inserted into photo printers or self-contained photo display devices. Flash memory can store any type of computer data, but its original primary application was digital photography. However, more and more digital music players have removable flash memory cards, and so-called thumb or keychain flash memory devices that plug directly into a USB port have helped make flash memory a mainstream storage medium and a popular replacement for some types of magnetic removable-media storage, particularly floppy disks, Zip drives, and SuperDisk drives. Flash memory in the form of SSDs is rapidly increasing in market share as a high-speed alternative to conventional magnetic hard disk storage.

Flash memory was invented by Fujio Masuoka at Toshiba in the early 1980s, with the original patents filed in late 1981. At the time Toshiba unfortunately didn't know how important this invention was, and by 1988 Intel had introduced competitive versions and quickly took the lead in flash memory development and production.

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