noscriptUSB Sticks | SD Cards | Hard Drives | Blank CDs | Cromwell Tools

Data Storage

Shop for data storage online now at Cromwell. We stock a comprehensive range of flash drives and hard drives to back up your data and share information. Choose from well-known brands, like Q-Connect®, Verbatim®, Hewlett Packard® and Rexel®.

What are USB sticks, SD cards & hard drives?

USB sticks, SD cards and hard drives are all used to store data. Some are portable and allow the user to access data using more than one PC, to pass information from one source to another, or to back up important digital documents for safe keeping.

While USB sticks and SD cards are removable, hard drives can be internal or external. An internal hard drive is fitted into a PC case to increase the amount of storage memory, while an external hard drive is plugged into a PC to download the required documents for saving separately to the PC unit.

When are USB sticks, SD cards & hard drives used?

Used widely in Information Technology, data storage is often facilitated by an IT department in any given industry. They are, of course, used domestically and in education by students.

USB sticks, SD cards & hard drive types

USB sticks

USB flash drives are mainly about speed and the rate that data can be transferred from a PC to the flash drive. There are four types of flash drive:

USB 2.0 flash drive

USB 3.0 flash drive

USB 3.1 flash drive

USB 3.2 flash drive

Each one gives an increase in memory and transfer speed. For example, the 2.0 flash drive will transfer at a rate of up to 480mbps (megabits per second), while a 3.0 flash drive is a big step up from that, transferring data at a speed of up to 4800mbps.

SD cards

SD cards are a flash-based storage device. Memory capacity and speed are their main selling points:

Standard SD cards   -   The standard SD will provide basic memory capacity of up to 2GB.

SDHC cards   -   These high-capacity cards offer between 2GB and 32GB of memory.

SDXC cards   -   These extended capacity cards are the next step up in memory provision and deliver between 32GB and 2TB of memory.

Micro SD cards   -   These are similar to standard SD cards, but much smaller, and are usually used in phones or camera to expand the storage capacity.

Hard drives

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA)   -   This internal hard drive superseded PATA technology. They can be used in domestic PCs and sometimes utilise an SSD drive as well as mechanical drives.

Serial Attached Small Computer System Interface(SAS)   -   These hard drives are only used in servers and superseded SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) technology. Like the SATA drive, they can have both SSD drives and mechanical drives.

M.2   -   These hard drives are SSD (Solid State Drives) only, with no moving parts. They're the most modern technology on this list, and are considered the most reliable since, unlike mechanical drives, they have no moving parts that can fail, and aren't subject to seek times for faster loading.

Considerations when choosing USB sticks, SD cards & hard drives

Memory - for USB flash drives and SD cards, speed is relative to memory size. If a product advertises high transfer speeds but only has low memory capacity, that speed will never be achieved.

Connection - ensure you choose a product with a compatible connector type to the devices you'll be using it with.

Storage medium - the most reliable storage medium is SSD, which flash drives and the M.2 hard drive uses. Mechanical storage still does the job, but the moving parts are subject to a magnetic field and will break over time.


What is a micro-SD card adapter?

This is a device that will connect a micro-SD card to an SD card slot using either an SD shaped housing or a USB cable. These adapters are used for the transfer of data from one device to another, such as images from a camera to a laptop.

Can I use a 3.1 device in a USB 2.0 port?

One of the definites in technological advancement is that it definitely won't be the same twelve months down the line. Compatibility, therefore, is extremely important. The USB Type-A shape allows all Type-A versions to be used in any USB port, old or new.