Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Storage Media
Upgrading RAM
One of the easiest ways to make your computer run faster is to add more RAM. The
more RAM a computer has, the more instructions and data can be stored there. You
can often add more RAM to a computer by installing additional memory cards on the
motherboard. Currently, you can buy from 512 MB to 16 GB RAM cards, and usually, you
can add more than one card. Check your computer’s specifications to see what size RAM
cards the slots on your motherboard will accept. Note that if your computer has a 32-bit
processor, it can’t use more than 4 GB of RAM, even if the computer has places to plug
in more cards.
Magnetic storage media store data as magnetized particles on a surface. Figure 10
shows how data is stored on magnetic media.
Figure 10
Storing data on magnetic media
magnetic
surface
magnetic surface
Before the data is
stored, the particles
in the magnetic
surface of the disk
are scattered in
random patterns
The read-write head can reverse polarity
to align the next row of particles in the
opposite direction. The patterns of
magnetized particles represent data.
The read-write head magnetizes the
particles. The positive poles of the
magnetized particles point toward the
negative pole of the read-write head.
Figure 11 shows the most common magnetic storage device, a hard disk , also called
a hard disk drive . A hard disk contains several magnetic oxide-covered metal platters
that are usually sealed in a case inside the computer. You can also purchase external
hard drives for extra or backup storage. The hard disk described in the ad in the Visual
Overview has a capacity of one TB. Although this might seem like a very high number,
a computer fully loaded with typical software can easily use 18 to 20 GB of space, and
disks fi ll up surprisingly quickly as you add data and multimedia fi les (pictures, music,
and video).
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