The Difference Between MLC (Multi Level Cell) and SLC (Single Level Cell) SSDs (Solid State Drives)

MDL Technology, LLC is a Kansas City IT company that specializes in worry-free computer support by providing solutions for around-the-clock network monitoring, hosting, data recovery, off site backup security and much more. MDL Technology, LLC is dedicated to helping businesses place time back on their side with quick and easy IT solutions.

Today, I’ll be interviewing TJ Bloom, who is the Chief Operations Officer at MDL Technology. And he’ll be giving us a brief overview of SSD technology.

What is the difference between MLC (Multi Level Cell) and SLC (Single Level Cell) solid state drives?

Multi-Level Cell is a memory technology that stores bits of information in multiple levels in a cell. Because of this, MLC drives have a higher storage density and the per MB manufacturing cost is less but there is a higher chance of error on the drive. This type of drive is typically used in consumer based products. Single Level Cell only stores bits of information on a single level per cell. This decreases power consumption and allows for faster transfer speeds. This technology is typically reserved for higher end or enterprise memory cards where speed and reliability are more important than cost.

How does the endurance of SSD drives compare to traditional hard drives? What factors contribute to SSD durability?

SSD drives are much faster than a traditional HDD. SSD drives use NAND flash memory , which means they have no moving parts. With the removal of moving parts it allows for faster data retrieval times and better stability and durability. Furthermore, SSD drives can withstand a much higher shock rate before sustaining damage to the drive than a HDD. This is due to no moving parts.

What types of solid state drives are best-suited to laptops or typical PC use?

Depending on what you are willing to spend on performance and reliability determines the best drive for your PC. If you replace or purchase a laptop or pc with a  MLC SSD you should see significant performance and reliability increases over a standard HDD in your machines. MLC SSD drives are typically used in PC or non-critical environments. In an enterprise environment and critical environments it is advised to use SLC SSD drives. This will increase performance over a HDD and add speed, durability. A  SSD is also much quieter than HHD.

What types of solid state drives are best-suited to servers?

Intel® X25-E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive is one option for running your server on SSD drives. This will be much quieter, more stable and faster than your traditional HDD.

What advice can you give for someone looking to get the following benefits from their SSD purchase:

  • Overall Cost – At the server level, the cost of SSD drives is still very expensive compared to HDD.
  • Cost-per-gigabyte - Cost-per-GB for SSD drives can be as low as $1.87 per GB but HDD still makes SSD drives hard to justify coming in at under $.13 per GB.
  • Speed – If you are looking for speed SSD is the way to go.
  • Reliability –It has no moving parts so it has better reliability and longevity.
  • Longevity – It has no moving parts so it has better reliability and longevity.

What are some good general tips for picking the best solid-state drives, or deciding between SSD and traditional hard drives?

I like to read the reviews on what I am purchasing. http://www.ssdreview.com/

This will help you to ask the right questions and help you choose the best options for your application.

How do you see the future for SSD technology?

I think in the future you will start seeing more and more SSD drives built onto the motherboard of the computer. At some point we will be using just one big chip.

Comment (1)

  1. blitz9826

    hiya! i’d like to say, this is a great intro to ssd tech. unfortunately, flash life cycles have been left out. i realize that flash life cycles ARE being worked on and are getting better, but it’s something worth mentioning. at the least, i know that i’d save my frequently read, rarely written data on ssd drives while hosting my os on a traditional hdd where writes occur too frequently.

    i also would like to make a small request: numbers. personally i came to this page (thanks google) because i was looking for a numerical/statistical comparison of numbers between traditional and ssd servers (namely in terms of wattage). i think having some numbers to relate to would further solidify this otherwise great piece.

    cheers

    blitz

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