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Taiwan engineers defeat limits of flash memory

(Phys.org)—Taiwan-based Macronix has found a solution for a weakness in flash memory fadeout. A limitation of flash memory is simply that eventually it cannot be used; the more cells in the memory chips are erased, the ...

Fantastic flash memory combines graphene and molybdenite

Swiss scientists have combined two materials with advantageous electronic properties—graphene and molybdenite—into a flash memory prototype that is very promising in terms of performance, size, flexibility and energy ...

What Comes After Hard Drives?

(PhysOrg.com) -- The ability to store and retrieve data is an important component of today's computers, as well as other modern electronic devices such as cell phones, video game consoles, and camcorders. Since their invention ...

Kingston Unveils the World’s First 256GB USB Flash Drive

Kingston Technology, the independent world leader in memory products, announced the launch of the world's first 256GB USB flash drive, the Kingston Technology DataTraveler 300. It allows users to carry around a whole digital ...

Computer chip that computes probabilities and not logic

(PhysOrg.com) -- Lyric Semiconductor has unveiled a new type of chip that uses probability inputs and outputs instead of the conventional 1's and 0's used in logic chips today. Crunching probabilities is much more applicable ...

NASA team hacks Opportunity to treat Mars Rover's amnesia

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has been working well into its golden years - after nearly 11 years roaming the Red Planet, it has survived more than 40 times past its warranty. But now, this trusty veteran explorer is experiencing ...

Researchers design six-state magnetic memory

(Phys.org)—Computers are often described with "ones and zeros," referring to their binary nature: each memory element stores data in two states. But there is no fundamental reason why there should be just two. In a new ...

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Flash memory

Flash memory is a non-volatile computer memory that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed. It is a technology that is primarily used in memory cards and USB flash drives for general storage and transfer of data between computers and other digital products. It is a specific type of EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) that is erased and programmed in large blocks; in early flash the entire chip had to be erased at once. Flash memory costs far less than byte-programmable EEPROM and therefore has become the dominant technology wherever a significant amount of non-volatile, solid state storage is needed. Example applications include PDAs (personal digital assistants), laptop computers, digital audio players, digital cameras and mobile phones. It has also gained popularity in the game console market, where it is often used instead of EEPROMs or battery-powered SRAM for game save data.

Since flash memory is non-volatile, no power is needed to maintain the information stored in the chip. In addition, flash memory offers fast read access times (although not as fast as volatile DRAM memory used for main memory in PCs) and better kinetic shock resistance than hard disks. These characteristics explain the popularity of flash memory in portable devices. Another feature of flash memory is that when packaged in a "memory card," it is enormously durable, being able to withstand intense pressure, extremes of temperature, and even immersion in water.

Although technically a type of EEPROM, the term "EEPROM" is generally used to refer specifically to non-flash EEPROM which is erasable in small blocks, typically bytes. Because erase cycles are slow, the large block sizes used in flash memory erasing give it a significant speed advantage over old-style EEPROM when writing large amounts of data.

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