Useful Notes: Mass Storage

Mass Storage is any data storage medium that retains its contents permanently. Typically slower, less compact and more power hungry than RAM, but far cheaper and more capacious, and unlike RAM they generally do not require constant power to retain their data. Some mass storage devices are Read Only Memory (these are also referred to as Write Once, Read Many, or WORM, formats), but many are fully rewriteable.

Mass storage is the main factor of two things:
  • Load times. Programs need to load into RAM before they can run, so the faster they can do it, the shorter load times are.
  • Response times. If the program streams data a lot (Wide Open Sandbox do this), then the program feels snappier if response times are low.

Typically optical based storage (CD, DVD, Blu-ray) are the slowest, but inexpensive to produce. Flash Memory is much faster, but typically very expensive to produce.

Examples include the Magnetic Disk, Optical Disc (CD and DVD), memory carts, and Flash Memory (which, interestingly enough, is actually a very electricity efficient eraseable ROM format).