Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Jeremy Graves

Advisor Department



Since their creation and implementation, storage drives have undergone and continue to undergo drastic changes in speed, size, and reliability. The original storage drives, known as hard disk drives (HDDs), are constructed using moving parts. The second modern type of storage drives, known as solid state drives (SSDs), are constructed using a series of silicon chips that utilize no moving parts. The third and most recent innovation in storage drives, known as USB flash drives (USBs), use only a single silicon chip to provide storage which grants them the smallest form factor of the three drive types.

This study compared these three types of storage devices with a RAID-5 drive redundancy configuration. A RAID-5 configuration logically joins three or more drives of a single type using either software or hardware, a situation in which both HDDs and SSDs are frequently placed. This research placed USBs in a similar configuration to compare their functional speeds within this arrangement with two similar configurations of HDDs and SSDs. These recorded speeds were then mathematically compared with the price of the drives to determine if USBs are a cost-effective alternative to HDDs and SSDs in the current marketplace. While the testing did not demonstrate consistent results with the selected batch of USB drives, the evolutionary trajectory of storage technology promises that such devices will eventually match their peers in processing capabilities.