SSD (Solid State Drive) vs Flash drive (USB drive)

Most of the friends and collegues starts asking me the question about the difference between SSD and Flash Drive. I thought of writing this here it is

‘Flash Drives’ are a generic term which used for anything from USB memory sticks to SSDs. An USB flash drive uses lower quality low performance NAND flash with just 1 or 2 channels. Its durable, cheap but slow. An SSD on the other hand uses high performance NAND with mutliple channels. ( 12 or 8 is not uncommon), and there is a  memory controller on a SSD which is much better and both can store data even if its not powered.
Flash drives (USB) are slow storage devices where as SSDs are high performance drives. They’re much faster than normal HDDs.

A USB flash drive uses USB, which is generally a slower interface than the Serial ATA interface. A USB flash drive is generally thought of as a removable device by the OS and is managed as such. A SSD is treated similarly to a hard drive, and is often recognized by your OS as a type of fixed disk.

USB flash drives and solid-state drives are both based on flash memory. Most of the flash memory use  NAND memory, which are available as single-level cells (SLC) and multi-level cells (MLC). Single-level cells store a single bit in a single memory cell, whereas multi-level cells store more than a single bit in a single memory cell. The MLC accomplishes this by allowing each memory cell to store multiple electrical states, therefore, allow one MLC cell to store more information than one SLC cell. For example, a MLC that uses 4-levels can store 2 bits of information.  MLC are cheaper, as they can store more information per memory cell than SLC. Cheap, large SSDs and USB flash memory use MLC disks, although not necessarily. MLCs sounds great in terms of storage density, but it does have a catch. MLCs are  slower than SLC. Therefore, the large capacity USB flash drives and SSDs tend to be slower. Solid-State Drives (SSDs) have no moving parts, high reliability and longer life-span than traditional hard drives

An SSD has no moving parts, so it is more likely to keep your data safe in the event that you drop your laptop bag or your system is shaken about by an earthquake while it’s operating. Most hard drives park their read/write heads when the system is off, but they are flying over the drive platter at hundreds of miles an hour when they are in operation. Besides, even parking brakes have limits. If you’re rough on your equipment, an SSD is recommended.

Wikipedia definition about SSD and Flash Drive

One of the example of SSD is Intel X25-E Extreme SATA Solid State Drive

HDDs win on price, capacity, and availability. SSDs work best if speed, ruggedness, form factor, noise, or fragmentation (technically part of speed) are important factors to you. If it weren’t for the price and capacity issues, SSDs would be the winner hands down.

Courtsey : Intel… to know more about this, Click here

To know some other product Iomega® External SSD Flash Drive, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, Click here

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  1. lucky
    November 23, 08:59 Reply
    nice short but covers everything needed. thanks
  2. shah
    December 21, 14:36 Reply
    Ssd is less lifetime than hdd. It has their own limited lifecycle time. Some ssd would last about 100,000 cycle,(write and erase or rewrite). If we do write and rewrite up to limid within one month. That no reliable compare to normal hdd. But ssd is very fast for os booting and loading.

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