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Flash based memory is the future

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CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE, INDIA: Flash memory is increasingly being used in smartphones, PCs, laptops, cameras, iPods and USB drives today. As a result, flash based memory now costs far less than traditional EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory) and is emerging as the dominant memory type.

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Flash memory is a solid state chip that stores your data without relying on external power source, unlike the HDDs. It can be electrically erased and reprogrammed, predominantly, in one piece, making it suitable for use with applications where large amounts of data require frequent updates. Inside the flash chip, data is stored in cells that can be cleared of its contents so it can be rewritten.

Flash memory devices use two technologies --NOR and NAND. NOR flash memory provides high-speed random access, reading and writing data in specific memory locations, and is used in smartphones to store OS and in PCs for the BIOS program that runs at start-up. NAND flash reads and writes sequentially at high speed, handling data in small blocks.

This flash is used in solid state drives and USB flash drives, digital cameras, audio and video players, and TV set-top boxes. NAND flash reads faster than it writes, quickly transferring data. There are several reasons that make flash memory the preferred semiconductor. Coming year is set to witness a lot of changes in the flash memory space. Here are our predictions.

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SSDs and HDDs will co-exist for some more time, despite SSD being better

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Many people are predicting end of the road for HDDs, and some are bold enough to say that it will happen next year. Our take is that while SSDs are definitely the future, HDDs aren't going anywhere next year at least. There are several reasons for this.

One is capacity. While HDDs are touching sky high capacities, like 3 TB, SSDs are still stuck at 128 GB. Second is cost. If a SSD were to to up to 3 TB, their cost would be ridiculously high. The prediction therefore is that SSDs and HDDs will co-exist next year.

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In fact, we've seen cases where some tablet vendors are putting HDDs in their tablets instead of flash memory to provide for higher capacity. For example Archos 5, an Android tablet will use a 500GB HDD instead of SSD.



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