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Video game storage devices

Learning Intentions

  • Understand what storage mediums are used with games consoles

  • Understand what video game mediums are used by games consoles

Success Criteria

  • I can explain features of a certain video game platform, in particular how video game data is saved to the device and how it is delivered to the device

What do we mean by storage?

  • Your Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 both feature similar storage devices, very similar to how computer systems store data, using a solid state disk, but they are completely different to how devices such as Nintendo’s Switch store data and how older console did.

  • In this lesson we are going to take a look at some of the storage mediums used by games consoles.

Hard disk drives

  • A typical hard disk drive (HDD) design consists of a spindle that holds one or more flat circular non-magnetic disks made of glass or aluminium, coated with a thin layer of magnetic material. The disk platters spin at high speeds of between 7,200 and 15,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). The read/write heads fly on a very thin layer of air on the disk so that it doesn't actually touch the disk.

Hard disk drives

  • The bigger the storage capacity of the hard disk, the more likely it is to fail. For example, a 4 terabyte hard disk drive is far more likely to fail than a new 250 gigabyte one.

  • Typically there is one read and one write head for each disk surface and a special arm is used to move the heads across the across the surface of the disk so that they can read and write data to the disk.

  • Hard disks are more reliable than their successor, the SSD, and are considerably cheaper, but are much slower and more prone to damage. 

Solid state drives

  • Solid state drives are a relatively new medium of storage offering the highest performance available in a storage whilst also offering the lower power consumption than traditional hard drives.

  • Further to this, they are far more durable and can be dropped and will continue to function correctly, unlike hard disks.

  • Games consoles are moving more and more to SSDs.

Memory cards

  • Memory cards are another form of storage and they have changed drastically since their initial introduction.

  • Memory cards today can hold several hundreds or even thousands of gigabytes of data whereas back in the 1990s they were large physical cards that could only store a couple of kilobytes of data.

Video game distribution mediums

Storage mediums

  • Although it is fair to say that video games are moving more and more towards downloads and away from using storage mediums such as DVD/Blu Ray, there are still some users who require physical storage mediums.
  • Since it is a feature of the platform, for example the PS4 uses Blu Ray, it is important we study this.


The most common medium of delivering video games to the console is by optical disc. There are several types of disc:

  • CD-ROM
  • Blu-Ray ROM


Each of these optical disc mediums stores more than the previous, with CDs storing 650MB, DVD storing 4.7GB and Blu Ray discs storing up to 25GB.

Complete the task by finding out what storage devices and delivery mediums are used by each of the platforms in the worksheet.


Presentation Overview
Video Game Storage Devices
© 2020 - 2024 J Balfour
05:30 | 22-07-2024
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