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In this article, we will look at the principle of operation of the USB flash drive. I will also discuss the features of a USB flash drive in comparison with other storage devices.
When USB was invented, there was a kind of revolution in ROM devices, and a large number of people around the world appreciated the convenience of transporting data in a compact and capacious flash drive, which is also resistant to environmental influences.
First of all, I would like to give a definition of a flash drive, and only then will I tell of its features in comparison with other storage devices.
USB-Flash Drive (flash drive, flash drive): A device for storing and transporting information. The data transferred to the device is located and stored in flash memory. To obtain information from a USB drive, it must be connected to a TV (smart), computer, tablet, or any other reading device.
The main disadvantages of a USB flash drive is it has a limited write/erase cycle, but it can be read an infinite number of times stored in the device. The rewriting cycle of modern standards is limited to 10,000 (up to 100,000) times. If we take into account the minimum of the rewriting cycles of 10,000, it may seem that for operation such a quantity is more than enough. But actually, it is not.
Imagine a situation where you intensively use a flash drive, overwriting data on it several times a day. Agree that with such operation, this amount of cycles (10,000) for updating information no longer seems so high. Although, in fairness, it should be said that for an ordinary user a flash drive with minimal restriction of rewriting will serve a lot of time.
Unfortunately, not all USB drives work their due time honestly. As a rule, it is the fault of manufacturers, of little-known firms and companies with unknown origin that do not comply with technological standards when creating a permanent storage device (ROM). More often that not, some manufacturers do not comply with the technology (not high-quality parts) and create cheap storage devices that fail before the allotted time.
What you should know choosing a USB flash drive?
Manufacturer (Company): To minimise the premature failure of a USB flash drive, make your choice in favour of reputable companies that have been working in the market for years. For example, it can be such companies as Kingston, Transcend, Corsair, and Apacer.
Also, when choosing a USB flash drive, pay attention to what type of memory it is built. It is good if it is equipped with NAND flash memory because it is this type of memory that can perform about 100,000 information write/erase cycles. At the core of the USB flash drive is a NAND flash memory and a small micro-controller with built-in ROM, or RAM.
Flash Memory belongs to the EEPROM class (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory)—an electrically erasable reprogrammable ROM or EEPROM memory device. The main advantage of this device is that it is non-volatile, which means it does not need electricity to store data. It is worth saying that the main feature of the EEPROM is that the information stored in the device (mini SD, MMC, SD, USB flash drive) can be counted an infinite number of times, but the number of entries is unfortunately limited (we already talked about to how to choose an SD card). As a rule, both are indicated on the package. But it is also not rare that only the number of cycles or the type of memory is indicated.
Type of memory cells: Ordinary flash drives (USB Flash Drive) use two types of memory cells MLC and SLC. As a rule, cheaper USB flash drives are equipped with MLC (multi-level cell, multi-level memory cells) cells that can withstand about 10,000 cycles. Well, as you have already guessed, SLC (single-level cell, single-level memory cells) are equipped with more expensive models that are able to withstand up to 100,000—or even more—write/erase cycles.