Industrial Computer Memory Types Explained

September 16, 2019


Industrial Computer Memory Types Explained

Teguar Corporation's Tom Poplawski, Product Manager, explains the three types of memory used in industrial computers.

SSDs (Solid State Drives)

SSDs have been replacing HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) in the industrial and consumer markets. Prices of SSDs have decreased dramatically, they have faster data transfer speeds than HDDs, and they can withstand higher shock and vibration. SSDs are comprised of memory ICs and a controller on a printed circuit board (PCB) that requires custom and proprietary firmware. One brand might have an advantage on read/write speeds temporarily, while others maintain high write speed bandwidths consistently, which would be beneficial for those recording HD video.

SSD Pros:

Various sizes: Half Slim, 1.8", 2.5", mSATA,M.2 (various sizes), NVME, Dongle, BGA SSD

Various interfaces: SATA, PCIe, IDE

Various Speeds & Technology: TLC/MLC/SLC, Power backup

SSD Cons:

Larger form factors

Higher Cost

Higher power consumption


CFAST has replaced Compact Flash (CF) cards and has upgraded from the slower IDE Compact Flash interface to SATA III. CFAST slots can be embedded inside a computer or in push/pull spring loaded sockets for easy access. CFAST cards are able to replace the functionality of both HDD/SSD's and other forms of flash drives for various reasons. It is still a small form factor storage device that has the ability to withstand shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, while maintaining high endurance. This has been a popular configuration for users that need to remove and transfer confidential data from a computer or as a bootable drive. Companies also prefer the ease of accessing CFAST slots if an OS needs to be updated on the fly.


Easily Removable for storage of Media and operating systems

Various Speeds & Technology: MLC/iSLC/SLC

Low Power consumption

Small form factor with high storage capacit


Not a popular interface

Not a lot of manufacturers so price is not as competitive

Limited to SATA interface speeds

eMMC (embedded Multi Media Card)

eMMCs have been the most popular for embedded solutions such as tablets and mobile phones. It is the smallest form factor and lowest cost storage type. The downfall to eMMC design vs SSD, is that the controller is structured differently and all built into a tiny integrated circuit. This means no easy plug ins or upgrades by yourself, however with the proper equipment, it is possible to desolder and resolder BGA packages back to a PCB. New versions of eMMC, called EMCP, now incorporate the eMMC IC with LPDDR RAM to make it more efficient.

eMMC Pros:

Small form factor which reduces footprint & weight

Lower Cost

Low Power consumption

Consistent performance improvements

eMMC Cons:

Slower speeds

On board memory so cannot upgrade storage size easily

Limited storage capacity per IC

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