The ICT Lounge
 
Section 3.6:
Solid State Storage Media
 
In this section you will see the 4 different types of solid state storage media.
  • Solid State Hard Drive
  • Memory stick
  • Flash memory
  • Micro flash memory
Key Concepts of this section:
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Know the different types of solid state storage media.
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Understand the uses of each solid state media.
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Be able to discuss advantages and disadvantages of each solid state media.
For each we will discuss features, uses, advantages/disadvantages.

Solid State Media (an overview)
Key Words:
Flash memory, No moving parts, Electronic circuits
Definition:
"Any memory device with no moving parts and are based on electronic circuits."

Overview of Solid State Media:
Examples:
Summary of solid state drives.
(Click to zoom)
 
Solid state hard drives are much smaller than magnetic hard disks.
 
NOTE:
All the examples of solid state storage media on this page use direct data access.
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Solid State Drives have no moving parts.

No reels of tape, no spinning disks, no moving laser beams etc.

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SSD technology is known as 'flash memory' and this is the smallest form of data storage.

Examples include memory sticks, memory cards etc.

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They store data as 1’s and 0’s within millions of electrical transistors instead of on films of magnetic substance or as dots on discs.

Animation showing how flash memory works.
If the transistor conducts an electric current, this equates a 1.

If it does not conduct a current, this
equates a 0


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They hold several advantages over Magnetic Disc Drives:
  • Much smaller
  • Use less power (no moving parts means less power needed)
  • Faster data access and transfer times
  • Much more robust (harder to damage)

Examples of Solid State Media
Key Words:
Solid state hard drive , Memory stick, Pen drive, Flash memory, Micro flash memory, SD card, Micro SD card

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The table below shows you some examples of solid state storage media. Click each of the media to move to more information:

 
Solid State Hard Drives
Memory Stick /
Pen Drive
Flash Memory
Cards
Micro Flash
Memory Cards
 
REMEMBER!
Solid state media have no moving parts.
NOTE:
Click the images to the left to move to more information about each one.
 
(Direct Access)
(Direct Access)
(Direct Access)
(Direct Access)
       
Breakdown of each output device:
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The following sections will help summarise each of the manual input devices. For each one you will see:




  • Information about the media
  • Uses of the media
  • Advantages of the media
  • Disadvantages of the media
Solid State Hard Drives (SSD's)
Information:
Examples:
SSD's are used in place of magnetic hard disks in laptops and PC's .
 
SSD's compared to magnetic hard disk drives.
(Click to zoom)
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Used in desktop PC's and laptops in place of magnetic hard disk drives.

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They are also known as 'SSD's'.

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They offer advantages over magnetic hard drives such as:
  • Run silently (magnetic hard disk drives spin producing whirring sound)
  • Longer life span
  • Faster data access and transfer times
  • Use less power
  • Produce less heat
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They use solid state technology based on electrical circuits which means they have no moving parts.

No moving parts = less chance of them breaking down.

Magnetic hard disks have moving parts such as spinning disks and read/write heads.

Eventually these parts stop functioning.

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These store files permanently (non-volatile storage).

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They have a current capacity of about 1TB (approx 1 million thick books worth of text)


Uses of Solid State Hard Drives:
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Used in desktop PC's and laptops to permanently store data such as:
  • Operating systems
  • Software applications (such as word processors, spreadsheets etc)
  • Music/Video files
  • School work, photos

Advantages/Disadvantages of Solid State Hard Drives:
 
Advantages
Disadvantages
Last longer than magnetic hard disks (no moving parts).
Smaller storage capacity than magnetic hard disks.
Faster data access/transfer times.

Note: Computers even boot up faster using solid state hard drives.
More expensive than magnetic hard disks.
Use less power and produce less heat.
Run silently.
Memory Sticks / Pen Drives
Information:
Examples:
Summary of memory sticks.
(Click to zoom)
 
Memory sticks are very small and connect to computers via USB.
 
Memory sticks have large capacities.
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Memory sticks are small, portable external storage devices.

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They are used to easily transfer data between computers.

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Memory sticks use solid state technology and are usually connected to the computer via USB ports.

Note:
Memory sticks are making other forms of portable storage (like CD’s and DVD’s) redundant as they are much easier and quicker to transfer data.

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Data access and transfer is very fast.

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Memory sticks are very cheap to buy.

You can currently get 32GB of storage for less than £10!

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Current capacities of memory sticks are up to 512GB (about 500,000 thick books)


Uses of Memory Sticks:
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Used for easily transporting files/data between computers.

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Used for backing up data quickly and easily.


Advantages/Disadvantages of Memory Sticks:
Advantages
Disadvantages
Very small and lightweight (portable).
No write-protect feature . This means that it is possible to accidentally copy over data
Robust - no moving parts means they are less likely to become damaged.

For example: CD's and DVD's can get scratched.

Small physical size means that they are easy to misplace or lose

Compatible with almost any computer.

(most computers have USB ports)

More expensive per GB than magnetic hard disks.
Large storage capacities (up to 512 GB)
Flash Memory Cards (and Micro Flash Memory Cards)
Information:
Examples:
Summary of memory sticks.
(Click to zoom)
 
SD cards and Micro SD cards are really the
same thing except for the size
.
 
Micro SD cards have a very small physical size.
Flash memory is used as storage in devices
such as mp3 players
.
Flash card readers can connect flash cards to PC's
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Flash memory cards are also known as 'Secure Digital Cards' (or SD Cards).

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SD cards are small and rectangular in shape.

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These are a form of Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM).

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SD cards use solid state technology (they have no moving parts).

Note:
Micro flash memory cards are just smaller versions of the regular flash memory cards.

Micro flash memory cards are sometimes also called 'Micro SD Cards'.

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A wide range of devices have slots to read flash memory cards including laptops, mobile phones, tablets and mp3 players.

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SD card readers can be used to transfer data from the cards onto a desktop PC.

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SD Cards have a maximum capacity of about 256GB

Micro SD Cards have a maximum capacity of about 128GB


Uses of Flash Memory Cards:
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SD cards are used to store photos on digital cameras.

Note:
Many stores that offer printing services have SD card readers that access data on your cards.

This means you can get your photographs printed without even having to take your digital camera with you to the store.

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SD cards are used in hand held devices (like PDA’s and palmtop's) to store files and data.

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Micro SD cards are used in mobile phones as memory cards to store photos and music etc.

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Micro SD cards can be used by MP3 players to store music files


Advantages/Disadvantages of Flash Memory Cards:
Advantages
Disadvantages
Very small so they are easy to transport files from one device to another (Camera to Camera for example).
More expensive per GB than magnetic hard disk drives.

Robust and not easily damaged (No moving parts).

Lower storage capacity than magnetic hard disks.
Easy to connect to mobile devices through SD Slots

Small size makes them easy to have stolen or lose.
Desktop PC's don't usually come with built-in memory card readers. To connect to a desktop PC you need to buy an SD card reader.

Activity!

Click the above task and write-up the required information about solid state storage media.

Links to Theory Units:
Section 4: Networks and the Effects of using them
Section 6: ICT Applications
Section 7: The Systems Life Cycle
Section 8: Safety and Security
Section 9: Audience
Section 10: Communication
 
Links to Practical Units:
Section 11: File Management
Section 12: Images
Section 13: layout
Section 14: Styles
Section 15: Proofing
Section 16: Graphs and Charts
Section 17: Document Production
Section 18: Data Manipulation
Section 19: Presentations
Section 20: Data Analysis
Section 21: Website Authoring