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Difference Between Flash Drives and Hard Drives

Flash Drives vs Hard Drives

With today’s endless list of activities executed through the use of personal computers, users are in constant need for memory devices that can contain multiple, large files. In such cases, users are usually torn between using a flash drive and a hard drive. Both can expand the disc space of a personal computer, but these two have different capacities and file storage systems.

A flash drive and a hard drive can be both portable and are generally plug-and-play. A flash drive, however, has smaller capacity compared to a hard drive. Flash drives can only contain up to 128 GB of files, while hard drives can work efficiently in storing up to 2 terabytes. Thus, a portable hard drive (also called external hard drive) is capable of storing almost all of the personal computer’s content for backup. Hard drives are more preferred by consumers today as they can serve as protection for the files amidst the vast expanse of Trojan horses, spyware, and viruses that may corrupt the files in a personal computer.

Flash drives, on the other hand, can be related to the traditional lines of a floppy disk. They can, of course, store more data than a diskette, but flash drives actually work like one. They are used not for long storage and backing up of files but only for quick file transfer purposes; thus, the term “flash” drive. They are handier compared to hard drives which are fairly heavy and palm-sized. Flash drives are also virtually weightless and can retain memory without a source of power. They can help greatly in the extension of the laptop’s battery when users work outside their homes or offices.

The two memory devices operate with different processes. A hard drive consists of spinning platters along with a roving head which can read data that are magnetically imprinted on the platters. On the other hand, flash disks store data without moving parts. This makes them less likely to fail as they generate very little heat. The memory storage works with an electronic process where “cells” of memory chips are flashed in order for the data to be cleared or changed. The reduced energy use and heat generation makes flash drives more durable than hard drives.

While flash drives are more convenient and friendlier to personal computers with limited power supply, hard drives can also give a wide range of benefits to users. Aside from being capable of storing files with larger sizes, hard drives can also come with cheaper price tags. A hard drive with a 2 terabyte memory capacity can be purchased for at least $75, while a flash drive with the maximum memory capacity can be bought with the price doubled. If the ratio of the price and memory is considered, the user’s better bet can be the hard drive.

Electronic manufacturers, however, are developing technologies to expand the memory of flash drives. The hybrid hard drive which incorporates a flash memory cache has already been introduced in the market along with the Not And (NAND) flash drives incorporated into most laptops produced today. Nonetheless, these new technologies come with hefty prices. Users can, therefore, hang on to their platters while waiting for cheaper opportunities to be flashed.


1.Flash drives and hard drives can both be used to expand the memory of a personal computer.
2.Hard drives can have bigger memory capacity than flash drives.
3.Hard drives are cheaper than flash drives.
4.Flash drives do not require a power source for memory storage while hard drives do.
5.Flash drives store memory by flashing into the “cells” of the memory chip, while hard drives store memory with a spinning platter and a rotating head.

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1 Comment

  1. flash drive of 256 giga bytes is already available and planning is of introducing 2 tera byte.source wikipedia

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