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Flash Drives Becoming Hard Drives?


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#1 LookUp

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:13 PM

Just curious. I keep wondering how Flash Drives store and retrieve data without a physically moving part like the head on and disk of a hard drive ... and when flash drives will replace physically rotating hard drives entirely due to the advantages of no physically moving parts. I understand a little about the possibility of doped semi-conductor layers and diodes creating and capturing a charge (plus or minus being information-equivalent to north or south magnetic polarity), but how are stored charges ("zero or one") "read" in a flash drive?

Someone once mentioned to me that flash drive tech was too expensive to replace everyday PC and Mac hard drives, and at least recently in my experience hard drive storage capacity has outstripped flash drive storage capacity in available products, but my guess is that expense is not the issue now, and that 900GB flash drives (or batteries of flash drives totaling 900GB OR 250GB or whatever) could replace hard drives unless speed of data retrieval becomes longer with that many GB? Just guessing, and doubtful about speed problems.

Or are models now available that use flash drive tech in place of hard drives? Or perhaps the market has not demanded a switch, and there are not enough incentives for computer manufacturers to make such a switch. Laptops with physically rotating hard drives (bang, fall) are not a problem. Or maybe data decay and reliability long term is an issue one way or another.

Any thoughts?

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:54 PM

A Few Links...

Louis

#3 Nicholas Basso

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 04:14 PM

Currently the closest thing to replacing HDDs that's similar to flash is what's called Solid State Drives. These are effectively entire drives (with drive-size capacities) built out of Flash memory. They're kind of expensive, being roughly 5-10x as expensive as a hard drive for equal size, and due to their lower lifespan in terms of numbers of writes, are more suited for your boot up drive than your overall large-capacity storage.

Flash memory is similar to regular computer memory, except it stores semi-permanently, and reads and writes slower. It is faster than a hard drive.

Maybe that might help. The links provided by Louis should help too.

Good luck!

#4 LookUp

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:39 PM

Thank you hamluis for the links, though I have yet to find one that explains how a flash drive reads the requested charge (n/p) in the absence of a physically moving head. It must be that there are levels of transistors, some of which store the binary data and others of which store the (NAND bulk?) locations of that data (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory) while enabling reading of the charges without reversing or altering the charges (?quantum tunneling) though I don't get the logic gate schematics.

And thank you Nicholas for a surprising (to me) response which suffices to explain why I have not seen more flash drive technology used in place of rotating hard drives.




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