How does Flash Memory work?
One of those is ‘Flash Memory’ which is widely used in a number of different devices and we often get asked how it actually works, which is something we’ll try to explain now.
Created by Toshiba
Flash memory as we know it today, was developed by Toshiba from electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) at the beginning of the 1980s and was subsequently released onto the market in 1984. There are two main types called NAND and NOR logic gates.
No Moving Parts
Unlike other types of data storage, flash memory includes no moving parts and is used as permanent memory, rather than as a temporary or ‘volatile’ hardware source. Another name for a flash drive is a solid state storage device and is the principal used to create SSDs that are faster and more stable alternative to conventional HDDs.
Writing and Erasing
Flash memory mimics the way traditional memory works, in that it ‘traps’ electrons inside its electronic circuits to create a ‘1’ and releases that energy to create a ‘0. It does this in the blink of an eye, which is why it is so fast when compared to storage devices that have to move mechanically to reach data.
As mentioned before, flash memory is used in various different forms in many different electronic devices and they include:
- CompactFlash/SDHC/MicroSDHC (Usually used in digital cameras)
- Mobile Phones
- The BIOS chip found in all laptops and desktop PCs
- PCMCIA cards, which are I/O devices that connect to personal computers
- Memory cards used in millions of games consoles to save game progress
- Memory sticks or USB drives
- SSDs also use an advanced and refined form of flash memory to act as a computer’s main storage
One of the only known drawbacks to flash memory is that it costs that much more than traditional hard drives, but the price difference is reducing with each passing year. Also, there are a maximum amount of write operations that can be performed in its lifetime. The majority of flash devices are created with around 1,000,000 total write cycles, but its data can be read on an unlimited basis.
If you would like to know more about flash memory and how it can best be used to make your computer work that much faster, talk to one of our tech support team now.