The smallest format of a floppy disk can hold 79.75 kilobytes, while the largest capacity of a magnetic floppy disk stores 2.88 megabytes. The storage capacity of a floppy disk depends on the type of the disk being used.
The first 8-inch floppy disks created in the 1970s had a capacity of 80 kilobytes. By 1986, IBM improved its design, resulting in the 3.5-inch floppy disk, which had a maximum capacity of 1.44 megabytes.
A floppy disk is covered with iron oxide, a magnetic material, and the floppy drive records information on the disk by magnetically rearranging the material. The drive reads the data on a floppy disk by sensing the arrangement of the magnetic coating and translating it into computer code.
Since 1969, there have been three different size floppy disks for computers, each one with different storage limits. The most recently used disks have a hard plastic cover measuring 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches. It can hold up to 1.44 MB of data.
Floppy disks were introduced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Initially, they were 8 inches wide, although this quickly was reduced as technology developed.
As of 2015, the average range for a hard-disk on an entry-level computer is between 320 GB and 750 GB. As the computer increases in specifications, so does the amount of hard drive space. Larger computers can have up to 10 TB of space on their hard drives.
A standard single-sided, single-layer DVD holds up to 4.7 gigabytes of data. There are three other DVD formats that each have greater data capacity than 4.7 gigabytes.
The major benefit of a memory card with a large storage capacity comes from gaining more data storage for cameras, smartphones and tablets. This allows consumers to take more photos and shoot more videos without the need to transfer data to devices with more storage.
A 99-minute, 4.7-inch (12 cm) CD-R can hold as much as 999.3 megabytes of data. The 99-minute CD-Rs blanks, however, are not as popular as the standard 74-minute, 670-MB disc because of recording and reading issues associated with the former.
According to HowStuffWorks, a floppy disk is used to store computer data on a medium that exists outside of the computer. Before high-capacity online and offline storage solutions became widely available, floppy drives were a simple way to store and distribute information.