What is Flash Memory?
What is flash media?
Flash memory is computer storage memory that can be electrically erased and re-written. Flash is used as storage in a number of devices, including cellular phones, digital cameras and MP3 players, in addition to USB flash drives.
There are three major types of flash chip types:
- Single Layer Cell (SLC) – can hold only one bit per cell. The most expensive type of flash media, the SLC flash uses less power, has faster write speeds and is a good fit for both industrial applications and holding critical data.
- Multi Layer Cell (MLC) – holds two bits per cell, and stores two times more information. MLC flash is typically used in consumer products. It is generally cheaper than SLC media, but has a lower endurance limit and fewer program/erase cycles per cell.
- Triple Layer Cell (TLC) – holds three bits per cell. TLC is the cheapest type of flash media and has higher density. However it has slower read and write speeds and a much lower endurance. Typically only low-end products contain TLC media and it is not recommended for the storage of critical data.
How flash media works
Flash media has no moving parts, operates silently and quickly and is smaller in size than most other types of storage media. Flash drives consist of printed circuit boards covered in plastic or rubber casing. They plug into computers via USB ports or a special adapter. On modern computer systems, there is no need to install drivers or reboot the system in order to access data on a flash drive. They also do not require an additional power supply to operate.
USB flash drives are generally preferred over other types of storage media when transferring files due to their small size, fast speed and large capacity compared to other portable media.