Today, flash memory is very popular and solid-state drives are a practical replacement for large hard drives if you have the extra money.
Flash memory is non-volatile computer memory. It was first invented by Fujio Masuoka in the early 1980s while at Toshiba and introduced it to the market in 1984. It was also later developed by Intel.
Flash memory is an integrated circuit that does not need continuous power to retain data, but is a bit more expensive than magnetic storage. Flash memory is widely used with car radios, cell phones, digital cameras, PDAs, solid-state drives, tablets, and printers.
The picture is an example of a MicroSD flash memory card. For additional information and examples, see our flash memory card page.
NAND flash is a type of flash memory based on the NAND logic gate.
NOR flash is a type of flash memory based on the NOR logic gate.
3D NAND Flash and 3D NOR Flash are flash memory technologies that layer memory cells on top of each other in a stacked planar configuration. They offer persistent, modular storage at speeds comparable to RAM.
We store and transfer all kinds of files on our computers -- digital photographs, music files, word processing documents, PDFs and countless other forms of media. But sometimes your computer's hard drive isn't exactly where you want your information. Whether you want to make backup copies of files that live off of your systems or if you worry about your security, portable storage devices that use a type of electronic memory called flash memory may be the right solution.
Flash memory is used for easy and fast information storage in computers, digital cameras and home video game consoles. It is used more like a hard drive than as RAM.
Flash memory is known as a solid state storage device, meaning there are no moving parts -- everything is electronic instead of mechanical.
Here are a few examples of flash memory:
1) Your computer's BIOS chip
2) CompactFlash (most often found in digital cameras)
3) SmartMedia (most often found in digital cameras)
4) Memory Stick (most often found in digital cameras)
5) PCMCIA Type I and Type II memory cards (used as solid-state disks in laptops)
6) Memory cards for video game consoles
Flash memory is a type of EEPROM chip, which stands for Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. It has a grid of columns and rows with a cell that has two transistors at each intersection (see image below).
This content is not compatible on this device.
The two transistors are separated from each other by a thin oxide layer. One of the transistors is known as a floating gate, and the other one is the control gate. The floating gate's only link to the row, or wordline, is through the control gate. As long as this link is in place, the cell has a value of 1. To change the value to a 0 requires a curious process called Fowler-Nordheim tunneling.