What are Storage Devices?

By Grace Ferguson

Storage devices have been some of the most important computer devices since the early 1970s. They are used to store information (music, videos, documents) from your computer system. Two general types of storage devices exist (internal and external). An internal storage device is implanted inside of your computer. An external storage device can be held in the palm of your hand and carried anywhere you go.

Floppy disks

Invented at IBM by Alan Shugart in 1967, floppy disks were the first storage devices used to rip information from computers. With a diameter of 5.25 inches, the earliest floppy disks had the ability to hold 360 kilobytes. Of course, this small amount of memory is nothing compared to the 1.44 megabyte capacity of today's 3.5-inch diskette. However, this device was a huge revolution to the world of computer engineering when it was first invented.

USB Flash Drives

IBM's USB flash drive first became available on Dec. 15, 2000. This is the newest external storage device available. It also is commonly known as a jump drive, a thumb drive or a memory key. It is a thumb-sized tool that can be purchased at different prices, varying by the memory size: 1GB: $5 to $8, 8GB: $25 to $30, 16GB: $40 to $55 (approximate prices valid as of June 2009). Almost every person with a computer has a USB flash drive to store data, as it is the most convenient storage device thus far.

DVD roms

Sony first introduced the DVD-Video format to Japan in November 1996. You primarily use a DVD rom (Digital Versatile Disc) as a storage device to which you can burn videos and movies. Its circular design enables it to be inserted into any computer disk drive. The memory resides on the two sides of the DVD rom, to later be read by a computer system. DVDs can be purchased in large and small quantities, and vary in memory capacity.

Internal Storage

Internal storage devices are physically installed into the computer. Generally, they tend to be cheaper than external storage devices, because the latter requires special casings to prevent malfunction. As of June 2009, the prices range anywhere from $3 to $80.

External vs. Internal

Internal storage devices: Pros--hard to lose, faster to upload files from and cost-effective. Cons--inconvenient and difficult to install. External storage devices: Pros--small, convenient and handheld. Cons--easy to lose, more expensive than internal storage devices. When choosing a storage device, select the appropriate one based on your personal needs.


Storage devices are a useful way of keeping important information with you in case your computer malfunctions. The history of storage devices has progressed, and tech wizards will continue to develop new technology. We've gone from floppy disks to USB flash drives. Who knows what the storage device market will come up with next?