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Computer Memory Essay

1291 words - 6 pages

Magnetic Storage
Magnetic storage devices store data by magnetizing particles on a disk or tape.
A floppy disk is so called because it consists of a flexible sheet of plastic, coated with iron oxide – a magnetizable material. A floppy disk drive spins at 360 revolutions per minute (rpm), so it's relatively slow. However, a hard drive spins at over 7,200 rpm and stores data on a stack of metal rotating disks called platters. This means you can store much more data and retrieve information much faster.

New disks need to be formatted before you can use them, unless they come preformatted from the manufacturer. When the disk is formatted, the operating system (OS) organizes the disk surface ...view middle of the document...

Don't confuse this with transfer rate - the average speed required to transmit data from the disk to the CPU, measured in megabytes per second.
How to protect your hard drive
• Don’t hit or move the computer while the hard drive is spinning. Hard drives are very sensitive to vibration and shocks, especially when they are operating; when the read/write head touches the rotating disk, it can scratch and damage the disk surface. This is known as head crash.
• You shouldn't turn your computer off and on quickly. Wait at least ten seconds to ensure that the drive has stopped spinning.
• Check your hard drive regularly for logical and physical errors. To check and repair a drive, you can use a disk diagnosis utility like Windows ScanDisk.
• To minimize the risk of data loss or corruption, you should install an up-to-date virus scanner. You should also back up your hard drive regularly.
The future of hard drives may be hybrid hard drives. Hybrid hard drives combine a magnetic hard disk and flash memory into one device. This allows computers to boot, or start, more quickly, and also reduces power consumption.
OPTICAL DISCS AND DRIVES
Optical discs can store data at much higher densities than magnetic disks. They are therefore ideal for multimedia applications where images, animation and sound occupy a lot of disc space. Furthermore, optical discs are not affected by magnetic fields, meaning that they are secure and stable, and can be transported through airport metal detectors without damaging the data. However, optical drives are slower than hard drives.
At first sight, a DVD is similar to a CD. Both discs are 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick. They also both use a laser beam to read data. However, they are very different in internal structure and data capacity. In a DVD, the tracks are very close together, thus allowing more tracks. The pits in which data is stored are also smaller, so there are more pits per track. As a result, a CD can hold 650-700MB, whereas a basic DVD can hold 4.7GB. In addition, a DVD can be double-sided and dual layer, with a capacity of 17GB.
CDs come in three different formats:
• CD-ROMs (read-only memory) are read-only units, meaning you cannot change the data stored on them (for example, a dictionary or a game).
• CD-R (recordable) discs are write-once devices which let you duplicate music CDs and other data CDs.
• CD-RW (rewritable) discs enable you to write onto them many times, just like a hard disk.
DVDs also come in several formats:
• DVD-ROMs are used in DVD computer drives. They allow for data archiving as well as interactive...

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