With pretty much every business going online, and entrepreneurs coming up in all corners of the world, the internet is being used like never before. This also results in an increasing demand for backup systems. Enter the world of storage devices, where there are solutions for all kinds of needs, whether it’s to backup Lego stop motion videos or provide network based storage system for an office.

Here we list 10 PC storage devices, some new and some that have been around a while. These come mainly under 3 broad categories – External, Internal and Network Based.

Internal Storage Devices

Internal storage constitutes the storage devices that come within the computer, storing the operating system and other fundamental programs. Larger storage translates into better speed, all the more since they’re directly connected to the motherboard and data bus.

1. Internal Hard Disk

The HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is the most common internal storage device. Most HDDs for PCs today come in two sizes, 3.5” for PCs and 2.5” for laptops and a memory configuration of 120 GB to upwards of 1 TB. Since any malfunction can result in a loss of all the data in the disk, a second internal disk can be used as a backup. Two or more hard disks can be linked and used together for increased performance using the RAID (Redundant Array of Internal Devices) Array.

2. Solid State Drives

The SSD is an upcoming form of internal drive that relies entirely on semiconductors for storage and currently found mainly in laptops and notebooks. Although it looks similar to the general internal disk, it is faster, less prone to damage and more energy efficient. However, the cost is higher. An average SSD has a memory capacity of 128 GB to 256 GB which is significantly lower than a traditional hard disk.

External Storage Devices

External storage includes all the devices that you can connect to the computer via an external port. They could be large, desktop based with more storage space or smaller and portable. Being external, these are more prone to damage and large ones can be cumbersome to haul around.

3. External Hard Drives

Also called Direct Attached Storage (DAS), these devices are connected to the PC externally through a peripheral port, the most common one being USB, although many drives provide multiple connectivity options. They function similar to the internal HDD and even use RAID for multiple drives.

They are available in slimmer, portable versions as well as larger, desktop sizes, in memory capacities ranging from under 80 GB to over 2 TB.

4. Secure Digital Cards

In spite of being only the size of a stamp, SD cards pack quite a punch with memory capacities ranging from under 8 GB to 64 GB. They are available in several varieties, five speed classes and are seen commonly in three sizes – SD, miniSD and microSD; the faster cards being more expensive. While they are inserted directly into mobile phones and cameras, they require adapters for PC/laptop connectivity.

5. USB Flash Drives

Also called pen drives, or USB sticks, these are available in a variety of colors and fancy styles. While essentially a memory card in a flash card reader, these drives are extremely handy and durable. Their portability is probably their greatest advantage and they range in memory from 512 MB to 256 GB. The USB 2 can be slow especially for huge amounts of data, compared to USB 3’s superior speed.

6. Optical Disk Storage

Optical Disks consist of CDs, DVDs and the increasingly popular Blu-ray in capacities of 700 MB, 4.7 GB and 25-50GB respectively. While these provide handy storage and make purchasing movies, movies and software a lot cheaper, they are unreliable as long term storage due to low durability.

7. Wireless Drives

The name ‘drive’ for these devices are actually a misnomer, since they don’t contain any storage of their own and are actually wireless hubs. A Wi-Fi hub runs on battery power and can be plugged into one or more external storage devices and consequently acts as a single large storage system with the combined capacity of all the individual devices. This can then be simultaneously accessed by phones, tablets and computers with Wi-Fi.

8. Thunderbolt Hard Drives

Thunderbolt is actually a peripheral interface similar to the USB, but with a much better speed at 10 GB/s. The main requirement here is that the device and computer are equipped with Thunderbolt ports to enable access. Now available for both MAC and Windows PCs, up to seven devices can be connected together at once.

Network Based Storage

Network based storage is used to connect a network of users to a common storage space, which could either be on a file server within their office or on some remote location in the ‘cloud’.

9. Network Attached Storage

Also known as NAS, it provides storage for the entire network by connecting to a router. This is commonly used in homes with advanced requirements or in small offices. It follows a client-server system, and file sharing protocols are used to access the common data. It usually consists of a RAID-style arrangement of hard drives connected to the network.

10. Cloud Storage

This is a system where data is saved in the ‘cloud’ which is storage space on the internet, hosted by a third party company. The space is offered either free or for a price, and the backup and maintenance is handled by the company, so that users only need to worry about regularly uploading and syncing their files.

As the floppy disk died, and cloud computing is taking over the world, choosing the right storage system can seem confusing amidst the large number of options. Just be sure to keep your requirements in mind, especially those of size, speed and networking and you’re sure to find a solution that fits your life and needs.

The article is written and shared by Alisa Tayler. She likes to share information about top cloud storage sites and top storage devices for internet users.