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Learning Computer Architecture with Raspberry Pi by Ben Everard, Tim Mamtora, Ralph Roberts, Jeffrey Duntemann, Eben Upton

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Chapter 6

Non-Volatile Storage

NON-VOLATILE DATA STORAGE has been available since long before anyone ever dreamed about computers. Human memory has a limited lifespan, but spoken language allows information to cross the gap between individuals, allowing that information to live longer than any single person. Human memory, however, is prone to errors and data loss. The development of written language means that information can be placed somewhere independent of human memory, at least as long as there is someone who knows how to interpret the language it’s written in. Books, for example, have been called “software that runs in the mind”—an apt metaphor. More to the point, books are data storage that serves the human computer inside our skulls. They address permanence and the imprecision of memory. Interpretation is up to us.

This chapter looks at computer data storage that falls outside the computer-memory partnership. (In Chapter 3, we discussed computer memory in detail.) Data storage outside the CPU and electronic memory is often called mass storage because its capacity far exceeds that of conventional computer memory. A more precise term is non-volatile storage, which ...

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