Selecting the Right NAND Flash for Your Application

Posted by Kari Grosser on Nov 22, 2016 10:05:00 AM

 NAND Flash.jpg

What is Flash Memory?

As technology continuously advances, the demands for greater density and better performance with flash memory become dominant as well. Each NAND flash type has its own advantages and disadvantages; therefore, engineers often encounter difficulty in selecting the right flash type for their application.

What's NAND Flash Memory?

NAND flash memory is built up of many cells that hold bits, and those bits are either turned on or off through an electric charge. How those on/off cells are organized represents the data stored on the SSD.

NAND flash memory is categorized into three types:

  • SLC (single-level cell)

  • MLC (multi-level cell)

  • TLC (triple-level cell)

Single-Level Cell (SLC) Flash

SLC flash stores one bit value per cell, which basically is a voltage level. The bit value is interpreted as "0" or a "1".


  • Long lifespan and charge cycles

  • Reliable smaller room for read/write error

  • Operate in a broader temperature range


  • Uneconomical

  • Smallest capacity support among all flash types

Multi-Level Cell (MLC) Flash

MLC flash stores multi bits of data on one cell. The value can be interpreted as 4 distinct stages: 00, 01, 10, 11.


  • Lower production costs because some costs are passed onto consumers


  • Not as durable and reliable as SLC

Triple-Level Cell (TLC) Flash

TCL Flash stores 3 bits of data per cell. The value can be interpreted as 8 distinct stages: 000, 001, 010, and 111.


  • The most cost effective form of flash to manufacture


  • Cells have less read/write cycles so TLC flash is only suitable for consumer usage

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