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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is Flash memory?
3.
How does Flash Memory work?
4.
Advantages and Disadvantages of flash memory
4.1.
Advantages
4.2.
Disadvantages
5.
Frequently Asked Questions
5.1.
How many times a flash memory can be rewritten?
5.2.
What is a USB flash drive?
5.3.
What can be used instead of a Flash drive?
5.4.
What is EEPROM?
6.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Flash Memory

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Introduction

We store all types of files on our computers. Computers have hard drives where we can keep all these files. But sometimes, we want to store our files in a different location. There are portable storage devices that use flash memory to store our files. Let us learn more about flash memory.

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What is Flash memory?

Flash memory is an Electronically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM). It was developed by Dr. Fujio Masuoka, an inventor at Toshiba Corporation (TOSBF). The name flash memory was used because of its ability to erase a block of data in a “flash”. Flash memory can be used with digital cameras, mobile phones, computers, digital audio players, etc. Flash memory is composed of NOR or NAND gates. NOR supports data buses, full addresses, and access to any memory location. NAND is faster and better than NOR. Flash memory is less expensive than EEPROM, and it does not require batteries. It is non-volatile and has a quick access time. Flash memory is very durable and can withstand high pressure and temperature.

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How does Flash Memory work?

Flash memory has built-in solid-state chips. Each chip has an arrangement of flash memory cells. Flash memory uses electrical circuits to log data.

The process of storing data in flash memory is:

  1. Current flows between each cell’s input and output through the transistors.
  2. The current’s path is controlled by the transistors. The transistor acts as an on-off gate.
  3. An “on” transistor allows the flow of current across the cell, which stores a 1 in the binary code.
  4. An off transistor blocks the current flow and stores a 0 in the binary code.

 

Volatile memory erases all the data when the power source is turned off by returning all the gates to the 0 state. Flash memory adds a second gate known as “floating gate” to each cell. As the electrons pass through the floating gate, they get stuck and remain there to store as a 1 even after the power is cut off.

Advantages and Disadvantages of flash memory

Advantages

  1. Uses less energy than traditional systems.
  2. Flash memory stores data more compactly than a hard drive.
  3. Flash memory is portable.
  4. It does not have any mechanical parts. Thus it is more durable and can withstand heat and shock.
  5. Due to its shock resistance, flash memory can be used with mobile devices, cameras, etc.
  6. Flash memory is non-volatile and data transfer is easy.

Disadvantages

  1. Flash memory does not work forever. Applying voltage to the transistors degrades them eventually. Most flash memory cells start degrading after 10,000 rewrites.
  2. Flash memory is costlier than traditional hard disk drives.
  3. Editing in flash memory does not make sure that each block of memory is edited specifically.
  4. Flash memory can be easily infected by computer viruses.

 

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You can also read about the memory hierarchy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times a flash memory can be rewritten?

Flash memory can be rewritten between 10,000 to 100,000 times.

What is a USB flash drive?

A USB flash drive is a removable storage device that uses flash memory with a USB connector. It is both readable and writable.

What can be used instead of a Flash drive?

An internal hard disk connected via a SATA cable can be used instead of a flash drive.

What is EEPROM?

EEPROM is a non-volatile ROM that enables individual bytes of data to be erased or changed.

Conclusion

In this article, we talked about flash memory and its working. We also looked at its advantages and disadvantages.

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