Modern computers come with dedicated RAM for running applications and for storing program outputs and data when the computer is not in use. The disadvantage of large volume storage is that it has slower data access speeds. There are three types of volume storage: internal, external, and network storage options.

Internal Storage
Internal storage involves the use of a device housed inside the computer. There are two main types of internal storage devices: spinning disk and solid-state hard drives. Spinning disk hard drives feature platters of magnetic materials that store data, which can be written and over written by a drive head. On the other hand, solid-state disk drives store data in a flash memory. The advantage of solid-state hard drives is that they provide faster access speeds and can fit unusually shaped cases such as the MacBook Air and the Ultrabook. However, solid-state drives are more expensive than spinning disk drives.

External Storage
This storage device includes removable media including optical disks, SD cards, and USB-connected flash drives or thumb drives. The name thumb drive originates from the fact that this type of storage device is small like a thumb. The main function of external storage is to back up computer data, transfer files from one computer to another, and make copies of files for other users. Most modern computers do not have optical disks. Many people use external hard drives as backup storage and for file transfer.

Networked Storage
Examples of network storage include shared file servers, network attached storage device, and cloud services. The basic idea behind network storage is to take an external storage device and change the device’s connection method from USB to full network connection. Once you add file servers to your domain, you can easily determine who is authorized to access the files on the server. In addition, you can attach a network storage device to your computer or router and allow other users to access the files on the network storage device.

Computer storage devices have evolved from bulky storage devices with limited capacity to portable media with significant amounts of storage volume. Today, users can carry flash drives and hard disks with storage capacities of a few gigabytes to terabytes. Compare that with the first 1 GB drive released in 1980 that weighed more than 500 lbs and cost around $40000. People today can enjoy using a wide range of smaller, more affordable computer storage devices.

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