One of the first considerations when buying a new PC or laptop is around the amount of memory available. If you can’t store all of your essential word documents, spreadsheets, treasured photographs, favourite songs and videos on the machine then you’re going to look elsewhere – especially now there are so many storage options available.
Back in the olden days of the 1990s you used to have very few options when it came to storage. You had the choice of a floppy disk then, latterly, CD-ROMs if you wanted to take your files with you; along with the built-in hard drive on the machine.
Today users have an abundance of options with both new and upgraded internal and external hard drives available along with SSD or flash storage and cloud storage options.
Is it the end for the hard drive?
Traditionally, desktop PCs and laptops used built-in memory devices known as hard drives. Their main role was to sit inside the machine, processing all of the information and storing what you need for a later date.
The issue that has developed over time, however, is that they’ve become somewhat outdated due to the ever-evolving industry – they’re not doing anything wrong as such, there are just better options out there now.
When a computer starts to run slowly it’s often down to a hard drive that is struggling to cope with all of the information. In the 1990s and early 2000s when computers became increasingly common investments at home, at work and in schools; they didn’t need a great deal of memory and they didn’t need to process all that much.
As time went by, however, and devices like smartphones came along making it possible to store and use music files, videos, pictures, emails and much more; desktop and laptop owners wanted the same from their computers.
As a result the previously adequate hard drives were put under significant strain and many just can’t cope. Manufacturers have been forced to develop new hard drives with the ability to store and process far more than ever before – and all within sleeker, more stylish machines which have meant that they’ve had to scale the hard drives down too while still packing in more power and storage space.
So what does the future hold for the hard drive? Well it’s almost certain that it will be a necessity for years to come yet; but it may be that users turn to external devices and even cloud storage for extra space and practicality.
The future is in the cloud
‘The cloud’ has become one of those mysterious buzzwords that many don’t actually understand. Saving items “in the cloud” utilises online storage platforms so that the files have no effect on your computer’s memory, and also so that you can access them from anywhere in the world – from any device – with an Internet connection and your login details.
Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, My Cloud from WD and OneDrive from Microsoft are all examples of cloud storage systems; and with the likes of Google Drive – who have created their own document, spreadsheet and presentation programs – you can actually work on these files in the cloud too for convenience and share them with colleagues and clients if you wish.
There is also the cross-device benefits associated with cloud storage, as many are already well aware of. If you own an Apple device, for example, then you’ll know that you can save music, images, videos, contacts and more in iCloud so that you can access them from a desktop PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet.
These advantages have persuaded many to invest in Apple products, based on compatibility alone (and the obvious quality), and more are likely to follow suit meaning that the future may very well be in the cloud.
The benefits of SSDs and flash storage
From a more physical device perspective, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are an excellent way to reduce the boot time for your operating system, speeding up the general responsiveness of your machine by a significant amount enabling you to do more than ever before, quicker than ever before.
The main role of an SSD is to provide a built-in storage option for your computer that works in a similar way to your hard drive, only without reducing the response of your machine or taking up vital memory space. You may already be aware of flash storage devices, and one good way of looking at this particular innovation is as a built-in flash drive.
That being said, flash storage devices also have their own place in the future of computer storage; enabling users to take their documents and machines with them anywhere they like. To summarise, the benefits are:
- SSDs are silent. Tired of the constant whirring noise coming from your hard drive as it tries to save and process everything? Then an SSD is the perfect solution as they work silently in the background and contain no moving parts
- Storage capacity is on the increase. SSDs currently offer users up to 4TB in storage capacity, and that amount is likely to continue rising in the near future
- Flash storage lets you save and access anywhere. We already know that flash, or USB memory drives, allow users to access files anywhere and with the “always on” audience
Flash storage has even been developed in recent years with the creation of power bank smartphone and tablet chargers. Simply charge the device up using a power supply from your computer or wall socket, plug it into your flat smartphone or tablet, and you can charge it up on the go.
Find all your computer storage solutions at BT Shop today. You can browse all of our internal and external hard drives, along with various cloud storage solutions and USB flash drives in our online store.