- Mar 24, 2018
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What Are The Four Storage Types?
Data storage capabilities are among the most important factors to consider when buying a laptop.Usually, your choice of internal data storage device will depend on your needs, as well as its performance and cost.
There are basically four storage types in the IT world. Windows-based laptops and other portable PCs make use of these storage device and this greatly influence their performance. The four storage types include: hard disk drives (HDD), solid state drives (SSD), hybrids (HHDD / SSHD), and eMMC storage.
In this article, we will explain the main differences between the four storage types available.
1. Embedded Multimedia Card (eMMC) Storage
Embedded Multimedia Card (eMMC) is a more affordable and slower Flash-based storage than solid state drives. eMMC is usually found in smartphones and other consumer electronics devices, but it’s also used in personal computers. eMMCs are power-efficient and completely quiet. In everyday use, performance of eMMC storage is somewhere between speed of HDDs and SSDs.
eMMC capacity is either 32GB or 64GB. These are quite limited capacities by today’s standards. To make things easier, most of the eMMC-equipped laptops have a memory card slot in which you can insert a memory card (SD or microSD) to expand internal storage capacity.
In addition, computer manufacturers often bundle eMMC-based computers with free access to storage on a remote server, popularly known as cloud storage.
2. Hard Disk Drive Storage (HDD)
Hard disk drives (HDDs) are the traditional storage devices for PCs. They are available in the vast majority of notebooks, especially inexpensive ones. HDDs are based on rotating magnetic platters and reading heads.
Unfortunately, HDDs are the slowest kind of storage in modern PCs. In today’s era of fast processors and large system memory amounts, hard drive is oftentimes a system performance bottleneck. They’re characterized by longer system boot-up times, slower application and file loading, and slower file copy / paste command execution.
However, HDD is the cheapest kind of storage.
Besides rotational speedof 5,400 rpm forvlaptops and 7,200 for notebooks, the size of an HDD’s cache memory which is usually either 8GB or 16MB, also affects performance.
Since hard disk drives are mechanical devices and notebooks are meant to be carried around, manufacturers have to use enhanced HDD shock protection technologies to prevent data loses caused by accidental drops.
The most common HDD capacity in today’s laptops is 1 Terabyte (TB) or 1,000 Gigabytes (GB). Many of the cheap laptops come with a smaller 500 GB hard drive, while 2 TB size is occasionally used in some more expensive notebooks.
3. Solid State Drive (SSD) Storage
Solid State Drive (SSD) storage is a newer technology. SSDs have no moving parts, since data is stored on Flash memory-based modules. The performance of different SSD models varies, but all available on the market are significantly faster than any laptop hard drive.
The advantages of solid state storage are: completely quiet operation, lower power consumption, and lower chances of data loss due to accidental drops.
In the latest notebooks, SSD come in two form factors:
- 2.5-inch (same as 2.5″ HDDs but thinner in some cases) with SATA 3 interface and
- Smaller M.2 card format with its own interface, which can be faster than SATA 3, depending on notebook’s motherboard design.
SSDs vary between 128 GB and 1 Terabyte and have a noticeably higher price per Gigabyte than hard drives.
4. Hybrid Hard Drive / Solid State Drive Storage (HHDD or SSHD)
This is a combo of hard drive and solid state storage in a single 2.5″ device. They aren’t as widely adopted as pure HDDs and SSDs. Hybrid drives have all parts you can find in a classic HDD and include an SSD module on top of them. It’s hard to compare raw performance of HHDDs / SSHDs to HDDs, SSDs, and eMMC, because hybrids don’t load every stored file and installed program at a same speed. They boost loading only of software and files selected by their caching algorithms, which do calculations based on your common computer usage scenarios.
Software and files you most frequently use, including those required for booting up the operating system itself, are stored on the SSD portion for faster loading.
Common capacities of laptops that use hybrid storage devices are 500GB and 1TB on the hard disk platters, plus either 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of SSD memory.
These are the four storage types. With this newly acquired knowledge, you should be able to define your PC's storage type and evaluate its performance.