Comparing Commercial Grade and Industrial Grade Flash Memory
For OEMs and engineers looking for embedded flash memory solutions, one issue that is sure to pop up regularly is the differences between commercial grade and industrial grade memory. Both forms of flash memory have their place, but picking the wrong grade for your device can cause errors or inefficient operations. Here is a look at how these types of flash memory compare, so you can make an informed decision about using them in your device design.
NAND Flash Type
Commercial grade flash memory uses MLC flash storage. MLC stands for multi-level cell and refers to flash memory in which two bits of data are stored per cell. Industrial grade storage uses SLC flash memory. SLC stands for single-level cell. With this kind of flash memory, only one bit of data is stored per cell. SLC flash memory works for significantly more endurance cycles compared to MLC flash—as much as 20 to 30 times more. It is also more reliable for retaining data in extreme temperatures and other rugged operating conditions. Despite the advantages of SLC flash, the MLC flash featured in commercial grade memory is the right fit for many applications. MLC flash offers adequate speed and reliability for commercial use, and can stand up to the operating conditions required of commercial applications.
Firmware algorithms can ensure smoother operations and reduce the risk of unanticipated failures. Generally, the firmware in commercial grade memory does not contain these kinds of algorithms, because they are not relevant for the devices and applications in which the memory is used. On the other hand, industrial grade products have error checking and correction, defect management, and wear-leveling algorithms. These ensure reliable functions and provide operators with advanced notice about a potential failure within the memory before it becomes catastrophic.
One of the biggest differences between commercial grade and industrial grade flash memory is the supported temperature ranges. Most industrial flash memory can withstand temperatures ranging from -45 degrees C to 85 degrees C. These extended temperature ranges are necessary for the applications in which industrial flash memory is found, where extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations are common. Some commercial flash memory is not rated for temperature at all, and those products that are rated typically support operating temperatures ranging from 0 to 70 degrees C. This is because most commercial applications are not used in extreme conditions.
Delkin offers rugged embedded storage for industrial applications as well as high-quality commercial grade solutions. Contact us today and let our customer support team help you make the right selection for your design.