- eMMCs are embedded, cheaper, but slower. Whereas SSDs are interchangeable, more expensive, but significantly faster.
- eMMCs offer lower storage capacities than SSDs and have lower life spans than SSDs, which can go up to several terabytes and have up to 10 years life span.
- For routine tasks, checking emails, and watching movies, an eMMC should be sufficient. For performance tasks, an SSD would be the better choice.
When it comes to storing data, you may have come across two important choices i.e., eMMC and SSD. These abbreviations might sound confusing, but knowing their dissimilarities is vital for making smart decisions.
In this article, we will explore eMMC and SSD in detail. We will also help you understand their unique features, and performance abilities so that you can figure out which one suits your storage requirements better.
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What is an eMMC
eMMC stands for embedded MultiMediaCard. It is a type of storage used in devices like smartphones, tablets, and budget laptops. Think of it as a small, built-in memory chip inside your device.
It works by combining two main components i.e., the memory itself and a special controller. The memory, called NAND flash, stores your data even when the device is turned off. On the other hand, the controller is like a smart manager that helps the memory work smoothly. It takes care of tasks like organizing data, managing read and write operations, and making sure everything runs efficiently.
This storage type is embedded directly into the device’s motherboard. This means you cannot easily remove or upgrade it like you would with a removable memory card. It is a permanent part of the device’s internal storage.
eMMC offers great affordability and hence is a cost-effective storage option that helps keep the overall price of devices down. That is why you often find eMMC in budget-friendly devices. Typically, it is suitable for everyday tasks like browsing the web, sending emails, or using apps
What is an SSD
Short for Solid State Drive, an SSD is a storage device commonly used in laptops and computers. It is a modern and faster alternative to traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). Unlike HDDs, which use spinning disks to store data, an SSD uses flash memory chips. These chips are similar to the ones found in USB drives or memory cards.
The way an SSD works is quite simple. When you save data on an SSD, it is stored in the form of electrical charges in the flash memory chips. These charges represent the 1s and 0s that make up your files. When you want to access the data, the SSD retrieves the electrical charges and presents the information to your computer.
Since an SSD has no moving parts, it can access and retrieve data much faster than an HDD, resulting in quicker load times for your applications and files. With an SSD in your PC, tasks like booting up your computer, opening applications, and transferring files will happen much more quickly.
SSD vs. eMMC
The table below summarizes the significant differences between an SSD and an eMMC storage:
|Storage||Limited flexibility, soldered on the motherboard||128GB to several terabytes (TB)|
|Usage||Portable devices (phones, laptops, etc.)||High-performance electronics (PCs, etc.)|
|Expansion/Replacement||Limited flexibility, soldered on the motherboard||Easily removable and upgradeable|
|Speed||Up to 400MB/s||Read speeds: 500MB/s to over 3,000MB/s; Write speeds: 300MB/s to over 3,000MB/s|
|Lifespan||Average service life of around 5 years||Estimated lifespan of around 10 years|
|Recyclability||Not commonly recycled||Often reused or repurposed|
|Price||Affordably priced, below $0.20/GB||Higher price range, around $0.20 to $0.25/GB|
Difference Between eMMC and SSD
While both an SSD and an eMMC are prominent storage choices, each has a unique set of features that sets it apart from the other. Let’s learn how eMMC and SSD differ.
eMMC offers relatively lesser storage capacities than SSD and usually ranges from 32 GB to 64 GB or sometimes 128 GB to 256 GB. These capacities may not seem very large for modern devices, but eMMC often has additional options to expand storage using microSD cards.
Note: Larger eMMC sizes above 128GB are relatively rare to find in the market.
SSDs typically start at 128GB and can go all the way up to several terabytes (TB). As a result, these provide ample space for storing various files, applications, and media. This range allows SSDs to cater to different needs, from everyday users who require a moderate amount of storage to professionals who require vast amounts of space for their work.
eMMC drives are typically used in portable devices like budget phones, laptops, tablets, and digital cameras. This is because they offer smaller storage capacities, as mentioned above.
Note: eMMC has mostly been superseded by UFS technology in portable mobile devices.
On the other hand, SSD drives serve as permanent storage media and are commonly used in devices with higher storage requirements. They are suitable for high-performance electronics like gaming PCs and tablets, where faster access to data is essential.
Storage Expansion Options
When it comes to expansion and replacement options, eMMCs and SSDs differ significantly. eMMCs, which are soldered onto the motherboard, offer limited flexibility in terms of future upgrades or replacements.
Since they are integrated into the device’s hardware, eMMCs cannot be easily removed or swapped out. This lack of flexibility means that if you want to expand the storage capacity or replace a faulty eMMC, it would typically require professional assistance or even a complete motherboard replacement.
Whereas, SSDs provide much greater flexibility. These are separate storage devices that can be easily connected to a computer or device. They are typically designed to be removable which enables you to upgrade your storage capacity or replace a faulty SSD.
In addition to their removable nature, SSDs also offer various form factors and connection options, such as SATA, PCIe, and M.2, which further enhance their flexibility.
These different form factors and connections allow SSDs to be used in a wide range of devices, from laptops and desktops to gaming consoles and external storage solutions. This versatility makes SSDs a popular choice for users who value expandability and future-proofing their devices.
When comparing eMMC and SSD based on their speeds, SSDs take the lead. While eMMC has seen improvements in transfer speeds over time, it isn’t as fast as the SSDs. It has a few limitations due to its architecture. The latest eMMC version, 5.1, can achieve speeds up to approximately 400MB/s.
Some examples of different eMMC versions are as follows:
- eMMC 4.41 offers around 104MB/s
- eMMC 4.5 reaches approximately 200MB/s
- eMMC 5.0 can achieve speeds up to 400MB/s
Speaking of SSDs, these advanced storage solutions provide significantly faster transfer speeds. Here are some examples of SSD transfer speeds:
- Read speeds: 500MB/s to over 3,000MB/s.
- Write speeds: 300MB/s to over 3,000MB/s.
|Storage Type||Version/Interface||Max. Transfer Speed |
|Max. Write Speed |
Lifespan and Durability
When it comes to lifespan and durability, SSDs tend to outperform eMMC drives. Typically, eMMCs have an average service life of around 5 years. However, the lifespan can vary depending on the capacity of the drive.
Generally, eMMC modules with larger storage space, such as 64GB or 128GB, tend to last longer compared to those with smaller capacities like 32GB. The more you use an eMMC drive, the shorter its lifespan becomes. This is because eMMC drives use a type of memory called Triple Level Cell (TLC) flash, which stores up to 3 bits of data per memory cell.
Note: TLC flash has a relatively short lifespan. That said, the process of programming and erasing data on eMMC drives can further degrade their memory cells, reducing their overall lifespan even further.
While the estimated lifespan of an SSD is around 10 years, it can vary depending on factors such as usage and other variables. Unlike eMMC drives, SSDs come in different types based on the number of memory cells used for writing data.
These types include Single Level Cell (SLC), Multi-Level Cell (MLC), and Triple Level Cell (TLC) SSDs. Among these types, TLC SSDs are the least durable, while SLC SSDs are the most durable. The durability of an SSD is influenced by the type of memory cells it utilizes and the number of program erasure cycles (PE) it can withstand.
Note: TLC SSDs have a lower PE of around 1,000, MLC SSDs range from 1,000 to 3,000, and SLC SSDs have the highest PE of around 10,000.
eMMC drives are not commonly recycled due to their low cost. When a device with an eMMC drive becomes damaged or unusable, it is possible to migrate the drive to another device and continue using it. However, because eMMC drives are generally inexpensive, it is often not economically viable to recycle them. Instead, they are more likely to be discarded along with the entire device.
SSD drives are often reused when the original device is no longer functional. These are designed with high-quality components and advanced technology. These features contribute to their superior performance, durability, and higher price tag.
Therefore, it makes sense to recycle SSD drives by repurposing them in other devices. This practice allows the valuable components of the SSD drive to be utilized again, extending their lifespan and reducing waste.
As mentioned earlier, eMMC drives are known for their affordability and are generally priced below $0.20 per gigabyte. For example, a 128GB eMMC drive can be purchased for around $25 to $30, depending on the specific model.
The lower cost of eMMC drives can be attributed to a few factors. Firstly, eMMC drives typically have smaller storage capacities compared to SSDs, which helps keep the overall price down. Additionally, eMMC technology utilizes a simplified architecture and a single NAND flash chip, which reduces manufacturing costs compared to the more advanced design of SSDs.
SSDs typically come with a higher price tag and the cost per gigabyte for SSDs falls in the range of $0.20 to $0.25 on average. So, if you were to purchase a 1TB SSD, it would cost approximately $200 to $250.
What makes SSDs expensive is their superior performance and advanced technology. These drives use NAND flash memory chips, which are faster and more reliable than the traditional spinning disks found in HDDs. The manufacturing process of SSDs is also more complex and involves multiple NAND flash chips, controller circuits, and advanced firmware.
For digital storage, eMMC drives and SSDs have their own strengths and limitations. It is important to understand the differences between them when selecting the right storage solution for your needs.
eMMC drives offer a good balance of cost and performance, but they don’t last as long. Whereas, SSDs are more durable and have a longer lifespan. Both eMMC drives and SSDs are used in devices like smartphones and laptops to store and retrieve data efficiently.
Whether you prioritize affordability or longevity, choosing the right option will ensure good performance and a smooth user experience. Ultimately, the decision between eMMC and SSD depends on finding the perfect fit for your specific requirements that best suits your digital journey.
If you use your device for regular work, like streaming videos, checking your email, and creating Word documents, then a device with eMMC storage should work just fine. However, if speed is of utmost importance to you, and you perform heavy read and write tasks, then you should choose to use an SSD with your computer.