Computer storage Tips

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Internal Options: Less Expensive; Harder to Install

OK, so you've filled your computer's 60GB hard drive with MP3s and video clips and you still need more space -- a lot more space. Removeable media won't work because you want it all accessible at any time. You need to upgrade the hard drive. If you're thinking about an internal drive, you hopefully have an extra bay on your PC. If not, you're going to have to replace your current hard drive, which is going to involve backing up all your data and then transfering it to the new machine.
The good part: Hard drives are bigger in terms of capacity, smaller in size, and less expensive than ever. Pay as low as about $60 up to more than $300 for a new internal drive (500GB), so the prices are reasonable for what you're getting.
The hard part: Installing an internal hard drive can be pretty complicated. If you're not used to working with the BIOS and motherboard, DON'T TRY TO DO IT. Pay a professional.


Store it Online

With digital storage space more easily available and less expensive, another alternative for personal digital storage has emerged: online storage.
The easiest example of this are free Web email services being offered by tech giants like Google and Microsoft. For example, Google offers 2-plus MB of space to every customer. So you can easily keep an online archive of all your emails. You can even use the space as an FTP server. But this requires an unofficial hack and Google might not be so happy about it.
The next step is purchasing a Web storage account. Most major Web hosting companies will sell you a plan with 5-10GB of space for as low as $10 monthly. You still have to FTP back and forth, but it's your space to do whatever you want.
Finally, there are many companies out there that offer sophisticated online storage capabilities. When you sign up and pay, an online storage company will automatically back up everything in your account, with a new back-up made every time there's a change to the site configuration. These services are also getting cheaper and can be had for as low as $15 monthly. But large-scale applications with a lot of storage will cost hundreds monthly.
Bottom line: Online storage is becoming an increasingly viable option for personal computer users, as well as business users.


Mac vs. PC

We could argue all day about Mac vs. PC. Everyone has their favorites. There are more PCs on the market, but Mac users are a vocal and powerful cult. So which one is better in terms of storage and memory capacity?
Let's look at the Power PC G5 vs. Dell's top-of-the-line XPS600:

g5: 250GB serial ATA hard drive, dual core 2.3GHZ processor and 1.15 GHz front-side bus per processor.
Dell XPS600: 160GB serial ATA drive, with the option to go to 500 GB or a 1TB RAID system with two 500 GB drives; 3.46 Ghz dual-core processor and 800 Mhz front-side bus.
Looks like you could make an argument for either side. The Dell has a faster processor, but a smaller standard hard drive and lower bus speed. Apple has the lower clock speed but faster bus.
You really couldn't go wrong with either of them. It's really a matter of what you want to use it for and your personal preference. Graphics people want their Macs, while business users and gamers are in the PC camp.


It's a RAID

Until recently, only serious business users would consider a RAID array to increase their storage. RAID stands for redundant array of independent (inexpensive) disks. The idea is that you set up multiple hard drives working in tandem, so that the hard drives can increase storage capacity, response speed and redundancy. But today, anyone can purchase a RAID array for their home unit as well. You're seeing RAID offered mostly on very-high-end systems. On a PC, RAID uses up to three 500GB hard drives in tandem to effectively increase capacity to 1.5TB. Be preapred to pay -- at the Dell store, a RAID system adds $800 to the price of the PC. But until hard drives can hit bigger capacities themselves, this is the only way to gain ultra-storage for your PC.


Many Options for Expanding Data Storage

It used to be a common problem: running out of space on your computer's hard drive. Get involved with MP3s or video clips and your hard drive gets filled up, requiring you to either transfer the information to removeable media, like a CD-ROM, or think about purchasing an expensive and hard-to-install internal hard drive.
Now, it seems like the problem has turned around 180 degrees. Instead of not enough storage, there are so many options for increasing your computer's external storage that your time and energy need to be focused on what's the best option for you and your needs: expansion hard drive, DVD-ROM, jump drive or online.
Bottom line: There are a ton of options for expanding your computer's storage, especially externally through a USB port. Take your time and figure out which one works best for you.


More Powerful; Less Expensive

Like everything else in the computer hardware world, everything is getting cheaper and more powerful, opening up huge new options for consumers.
Digital storage advances are helping the long-awaited convergence of computer and TV to occur. Microsoft's new Vista operating system reportedly integrates DVR technology, allowing anyone to use their PC as a Tivo-like recording device.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is already in a pitched battle over the expected replacement for the DVD-ROM. There are two competing standards -- HD-DVD and Blu-Ray -- jockeying for position. And the expected replacement technology for those two is called the HVD, which would hold up to 1TB of data on a single disk.
The Terabyte -- 1,000 GB -- has also become the newest high-end hard drive capacity on personal computers. Just to put this into perspective, you could fit 200-plus standard DVDs into a 1TB disk.
Bottom line: Storage capacity is continuing to increase while it becomes less expensive, leading to new possibilities for average users. Even better, this high-capacity, low-price cycle is expected to continue for a while.

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