We live in a data-centric world; we’re all saving photos, music, videos, contact details, and personal and business documents on storage devices that range from itty bitty flash drives to mega terabyte hard drives. Even the cloud comes into the picture.

For most of us, a USB will fulfil our personal data storage needs. But it’s not as simple as you might think. If you really want to get into it, there are three types of USBs to choose from.


1. Single layer cell (SLC)

SLC flash drives save one bit of data per cell. This results in greater cell endurance, faster transfer speeds and lower power consumption than other flash drives. A drawback is that SLC flash drives are more expensive than other types.

2. Multi-layer cell (MLC)

With MLC flash drives two bits of data is stored in a single cell, meaning that it can store double the amount of data as an SLC drive. The drawbacks are that the cells aren’t as durable as SLC cells, the transfer speeds are slower and they are more power hungry. However, they are cheaper than SLCs.

3. Triple layer cell (TLC)

TLC flash drives store three bits of data on a single cell. This means that their endurance is lower and their transfer speeds are even slower than that of MLC drives. There is also a greater chance of them failing than both the SLC and MLC flash drives. As a result TLCs are the cheapest type of flash drives available.

What about those of us who need lots of storage, like 10 terabytes or more? Well, then RAID is the way to go.

What is RAID?

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Very basically, what it does is take a number of hard drives and connect them in such a way that they act as a single drive, so that there are extra copies of data in case some is lost. The three main types of RAIDare RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 5.



RAID 0 should not be used for any critical system as a fraction of the file is written over multiple disks, which means that if one drive fails the whole array is lost. Benefits are faster read/write times.


RAID 1 can be used for a critical system because if one disk fails, you have another to replace it with. This is because it works by mirroring data on redundant disks. As a result, you don’t get as much storage space as you would with RAID 0, but at least you have peace of mind.


In the case of RAID 5, if one drive fails the rest do not, although they run at a slowed rate. Also, if one drive fails you can use the information on the active drives to recover the data you lost.

It must be noted that RAID Recovery is considered the most complex form of data recovery, which is why you should only ever take your RAID problems to fully qualified and reputable data recovery experts. Take the time to investigate the companies operating in your area. Don’t be put off by small-scale operations, but don’t dismiss international specialists that have branches as far afield as Brisbane, Italy and Los Angeles, either.


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