Types of Input/Output Storage Devices

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Types of Input/Output Storage Devices
Input/output hardware used to save data. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Dan Zen)

An input and output storage device is computer hardware. When information is processed through a computer, people can store their information for later retrieval by saving it to a computer hardware device either internally or externally.

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Input/Output Defined

Input is the process of sending data or information to the computer's central processing unit. Output is the process of receiving data from the central processing unit. The CPU controls how the computer information is sent and received. Input storage is data being stored using the computer's internal hardware. Output storage is data from a computer stored on an external device.

CPU Explained

The CPU is the brain of the computer. The CPU gives the computer instructions on how to handle data. Computers have more than one type of memory chip stored onto the computer circuit board. Read Access Memory (RAM) is temporary information. Once the computer is turned off, tasks that were performed are lost. They cannot be retrieved but can be done over. An example would be copying and pasting information in a word processor or copied information posted to the clip board. Read Only Memory (ROM) is permanent information. An example is when the computer is given instructions to turn on when the power button is pressed.

Internal Storage

Input storage devices allow information on a computer to be retrieved anytime. Depending on the computer manufacturer, different internal storage devices are made with computers. Magnetic disks use a read-write head that give direct access to storage. So information can be skipped to get to the correct data. RAID (redundant array of independent/inexpensive disks) uses a stripping method where data is stored on individual physical disks and information lost is retrieved by the individual disks. Magneto-optical disks use a laser beam to record information. Magnetic tape can be used on a computer internally or externally. Information from a magnetic tape is saved sequentially, so data is lost when accessing a certain file or record.

External Storage

Output storage uses external hardware devices to save information from a computer. Optical discs uses laser beams to record information on a compact disc (CD) or digital versatile disc (DVD). Iomega Zip drives compress data onto a disk. Virtual tape stores information on a tape cartridge. PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) cards are used with a digital camera or mobile phone. PCMCIA cards can be used to save or upload files to a computer. Information can also be stored on an iPod or MP3 music device.

Virtual Storage

There are certain websites that offer virtual storage where information can be stored on a company's server, but you either have to become a member of their website or pay a fee. Cloud computing is an Internet service where you work with applications and save information on the Internet using a computer. With cloud computing all information is handled over the Internet.

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