Difference between a storage medium and a storage device

Storage Media

A storage medium is the physical material on which a computer keeps data, instructions, and information. There is a variety of storage media available as shown in the figure below.

A reasonably priced USB flash drive can store 1GB of data (approximately one billion bytes) and a typical hard disk has 320 GB (approximately 320 billion bytes) of storage capacity. Items on a storage medium remain intact even when power is removed from the computer.


Storage Devices

A storage device records (reads) and/or retrieves (writes) items to and from a storage medium.

Each time a storage device transfers data, instructions, and information from a storage medium into memory, a process called reading, it functions as an input source. When a storage device transfers these items from memory to a storage medium, a process called writing, it functions as an output source.


For example you can use a card reader/writer to transfer stored items, such as digital photos, from the memory card to a computer or printer.

Storage devices like CD readers/ Floppy disk drives, etc often function as a source of input because they transfer items from storage to memory. Many computers have storage devices like card readers already embedded on the motherboard and accessible through a port on the system unit.




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