17 Differences Between eMMC and SSD

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You should know a lot more than the fundamental differences between an embedded MultiMediaCard and a Solid State Drive to make sure that you choose the right storage solution according to your needs.

Articles like this one will be of great help in that regard because you will not only come to know about the major differences but will also know a few additional aspects that will help you further in making a comparison between the two. So, continue reading.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The design and build of the SSDs make them much more robust and durable than the eMMCs which are more vulnerable to damages due to physical impacts.
  • The embedded storage solutions come with a memory controller, flash memory cells and Integrated Circuits in a Ball Grid Array package and are usually used for temporary storage but the SSDs typically use IC assemblies in their design and are used for long-term storage.
  • The speed of data transfer in an eMMC can be 400 MB/s maximum but the SSDs can transfer data at a maximum speed of 1500 MB/s.
  • The number of NAND gates in the SSDs is much more than that of the eMMCs which is why the read and write speed of the SSDs is much higher than the embedded solutions.
  • The storage space offered by an SSD is much more than that offered by an eMMC. In fact, the maximum storage capacity offered by an embedded MMC can be up to 256 GB in a few models whereas a 512 GB SSD is very common.

The 17 Differences Between eMMC and SSD

Differences Between eMMC and SSD

1. Full Forms

The full form of eMMC is embedded MultiMediaCard.

On the other hand, the full form of SSD is Solid State Drive or Solid State Disk.

2. Durability

In comparison to the eMMCs, the SSDs are also quite robust and are therefore more able to endure physical impacts.

It is mainly due to their design and build.

3. Type

The embedded MMCs are a type of flash storage that follows the standards of multimedia cards.

On the other hand, the SSDs are essentially a type of solid state storage.

4. Technology

The eMMCs come with a flash memory and a flash controller in a small BGA or Ball Grid Array IC package. It is used as a non-volatile memory system embedded in the circuit boards.

The SSDs, on the other hand, use IC or Integrated Circuit assemblies. These are usually used as the memory to store data.

5. Functions

The eMMCs are typically used as a temporary storage device for the portable devices.

In comparison, the SSDs, on the other hand, are used as an enduring storage medium.

6. Speed of Performance

There is a notable difference in the performance of the eMMC and SSD as well.

Usually, the eMMCs work faster for storing and retrieving small files. The data transfer speed of an eMMC at the maximum can be typically about 400 MB/s.

The SSDs, on the other hand, offer a much faster and better performance while handling large files.

Their speed of operation is much faster in comparison to the eMMCs. In fact, the standard SSDs can operate at a speed ranging between 200 MB/s and up to 1500 MB/s.

7. NAND Gates

Both eMMC and SSD operate on NAND or NOT AND principles which allow faster data transfer. However, the eMMCs typically come with one NAND gate.

On the other hand, the Solid State Drives usually have many more NAND gates, which is why these storage options have a much higher reading and writing speed as compared to an eMMC.

8. Storage Capacity

The eMMCs usually come with much less storage capacity as compared to the SSDs.

Usually, the storage capacity of the eMMCs range anywhere between 16 GB and 64 GB.

You will also find a few specific types of eMMCs with a storage space of 128 GB or 256 GB, but these are very rarely found in the market.

On the other hand, as for the SSDs, you will commonly find them with 128 GB, 256 GB, 320 GB and 512 GB of storage spaces in the market.

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9. Connections

There is a significant difference in terms of connections between these two storage options.

The eMMCs are usually soldered onto the motherboard, which is why it has the term ‘embedded’ in it.

On the other hand, the SSDs are typically connected via a SATA or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment interface to the motherboard.

This means that if your computer does not have a SATA interface, then it is probably having an eMMC.

10. Components Used

The eMMCs are usually made of components that are much similar to those that you will find in a Universal Serial Bus or USB stick or a Secure Digital or SD card.

On the other hand, the SSDs are made up of fast NAND flash memory and powerful controller chips.

11. The Cost Factor

The eMMCs are more affordable to be used in low-end laptops and mobile devices.

This is primarily due to their low storage capacity and slow operating speeds.

However, in comparison, the SSDs, on the other hand, are the most expensive storage options since their price is not only higher than the eMMCs but also significantly higher in comparison to the cost of the Hard Disk Drives or HDDs.

12. Use Cases

The eMMCs are typically used in tablets, smartphones, low-end laptops, digital cameras, digital audio players, 2-in-1 computers, as well as in SD cards, flash drives and other removable storage devices.

On the other hand, the SSDs are typically used in desktop and laptop computers.

13. Removability

Since the eMMCs are soldered to the motherboard, these are not removable.

However, the SSDs usually use a SATA or an M.2 interface which allows attaching or detaching it easily.

14. Writing Ability

The speed of operation of the eMMCs is much slower in comparison to the speed of the SSDs because they have limited writing ability which allows them to write only on one single chip at a time.

On the other hand, typically, when you consider the writing operations of an SSD, it is the controller that helps it to write to 10 unlike NAND flash chips at the same time, depending on the number of such chips it has.

This specific ability makes the SSDs 10 times faster in comparison to the eMMCs.

15. Power Consumption

The eMMCs typically consume less power while operating, which is why you find these extensively used in small mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets.

Usually the power consumption of an eMMCs ranges between 0.5 watts and 2 watts.

On the other hand, the power consumption of the SSDs during operation is higher than the eMMCs but significantly lower in comparison to the power consumption of the Hard Disk Drives.

Usually, the power consumed by an SSD ranges between 2 to 3 watts, which makes it suitable to use in laptop computers.

16. Replacement and Reusability

The eMMCs cannot be replaced because these are soldered onto the motherboard and, considering their low cost factor, these are also not reused because it is not a sensible move in economic terms.

On the other hand, the SSDs can be reused or replaced because they come with a higher price tag and are easily detached from and attached to the SATA or PCIe interface when the original is damaged beyond repair.

17. Service Life

The lifespan or service life of the eMMCs can be up to 5 years maximum, which may even be reduced further depending on the frequency of use and the version of the drive.

On the other hand, the service life of an SSD is much longer than that of the eMMCs, with a few specific models often lasting up to 10 years, if not more than that.

However, the lifespan of the SSDs too depend on the usage and a lot of other factors as well.

Which is Better – eMMC or SSD?

Now, with all the major differences known to you, you may wonder which among the eMMC and SSD to use in your computer.

Well, the simplest answer to this question is if you want to have a much better performance and want your files, apps, and games to load in the shortest possible time, an SSD will be the right choice.

An SSD will also offer a much higher read and write speeds. But then, the cost may be a factor to consider.

On the other hand, if you want to go for a relatively low-cost option you can go with an eMMC.

But then again, the amount of storage space may be a factor to consider.

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So, you can see that the choice between an SSD and an eMMC depends largely on your needs and preferences.

For your information, be informed that both these storage options typically work on the NAND principles.

Therefore, you cannot make your choice based on that particular factor.

Here are a few other important factors that will surely help you to make your final choice.

Typically, eMMC refers to the internal storage card that is used widely in entry level laptop computers and smaller computing devices due to their small size, and, of course, due to its low cost.

As said earlier, you will typically find an eMMC used in smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, as well as in a few other types of removable devices.

Apart from that, you can even use them as a bootable device instead of an expensive solid state storage, such as an SSD, in the host interface.

One of the most special things about the eMMCs is that you can enhance the capacity of the internal storage of a laptop that is installed with an eMMC by installing a memory card to the memory card slot.

Typically, the eMMCs offer the users a flash memory system with a flash memory controller, both built on the same silicon die.

Therefore, an eMMC is usually non-removable.

This means that the eMMCs are those particular cost effective storage solutions that come with a flash memory, a multimedia card interface and a master controller.

Moreover, even if the controllers that the eMMCs come with allow them to be used as bootable drives, these drives however typically fall short to an SSD on several parameters.

Some of those parameters are:

  • Good firmware
  • Quality hardware
  • Faster interface and
  • Various flash memory chips.

All these factors make an SSD much superior as well as much different in structure as compared to an eMMC.

An SSD, on the other hand, is the solid state disk that is typically built with an integrated circuit as storage.

These storage solutions offer the best performance as compared to all different types of storage solutions but are also a costlier option in comparison to the eMMCs.

All SSDs are typically smaller in storage capacity in comparison to the Hard Disk Drives or HDDs but surely offer much larger storage space than an eMMC.

You can install several apps and software such as Windows operating system and any Office related programs, including Photoshop.

The controller and the firmware in the SSDs usually work like in a RAID or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks configuration.

This allows expediting the operating process of the SSDs since the chips in them run in parallel.

Add to that, the powerful firmware of the SSD performs specific operations that help in leveling the wear amongst all chips.

For this, the data here is spread evenly across all of the NAND flash chips that are available in the drive.

The function of the controller in the SSD is also quite important. It offers the SSD memory to the computer system constantly.

This will make your system more stable and at the same time will facilitate in shuffling data.

This will also optimize the drive which will be done usually in the background constantly so that the performance of the system is at a constant high level.

However, as you continue using your computer, a lot of data and new files will be generated over time.

These must also be stored in the SSD which will consume a lot of space. As and when the SSD reaches 75% of its total storage capacity, usually you will experience some performance lags.

The best solution to these types of issues is to use an eMMC and then try to upgrade it with an SSD.

This will provide you with a much larger storage space without causing any damage to the original data.

However, much unlike the eMMCs, the SSDs are not as widely used in consumer-level electronics.

This is due to the fact that these are not meant for it and there is another cost-effective alternative available to it.

The eMMCs, in comparison, are much more acceptable and affordable for that particular matter.

However, if you are making your choice based on the service life of the eMMC and the SSD, it is the SSD that will turn out to be the winner eventually and quite naturally.

This is due to the Program Erasure time or PE cycle and the storage medium.

As of now, all existing eMMC drives use the TLC or Triple Level Cell Flash memory.

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It can store up to 3 bits of data in one memory cell. However, this has a drastic effect on the life of the eMMCs, reducing it significantly.

Moreover, the eMMCs also come with a high PE cycle of nearly 1,000 times.

This also degrades the NAND flash memory cells of the eMMCs significantly, thereby reducing its life further.

On the other hand, the service life of the SSDs is more because, much unlike the eMMCs, the SSDs do not come with a unified storage medium.

Rather, the typing is based on the varied quantity of memory cells available in the SSDs for writing data.

Typically, there are three different types available with three different Program Erasure cycles such as:

  • Single Level Cell or SLC SSDs with a PE cycle of 100,000 to last longer than any other types of NAND
  • Multi-Level Cell or MLC SSDs with a PE cycle of 10,000 and therefore having lower endurance than the SLC SSDs and
  • Triple Level Cell or TLC SSDs with a PE cycle of only 3000 making it the cheapest and the least durable option.

All these 3 different types of SSDs differ in terms of reliability, lifespan, speed, and durability which are proportional to their respective Program Erasure cycles.

Now, talking about their respective operational speeds, here is the breakup of the data transfer speeds of the eMMCs and the SSDs.

If you want to make your choice based on the speed factor only, this will be very helpful.

As for the eMMC drives:

  • The 4.5 version will have a maximum data transfer speed of up to 200 MB/s and a maximum write speed of up to 60 MB/s
  • The 5.0 version will have a maximum data transfer speed of up to 400 MB/s and a maximum write speed of up to 90 MB/s and
  • The 5.1 version will have a maximum data transfer speed of up to 600 MB/s and a maximum write speed of up to 125 MB/s.

On the other hand, as for the SSDs:

  • The SSDs with a SATA 3 protocol version will have a maximum read speed of up to 550 MB/s and a maximum write speed of up to 500 MB/s and
  • The SSDs with an NVMe protocol version will have a maximum read speed of up to 5000 MB/s and a maximum write speed of up to 3000 MB/s.

Therefore, in the end, it can be summarized that you should go for an eMMC storage solution if you:

  • Are looking for anything that comes with a lower price point
  • Have a portable computing device
  • Have an exterior hard drive
  • Have or can afford a cloud storage subscription
  • Are okay with smaller storage space and
  • Restrict your computer usage to basic or not very labor intensive tasks such as streaming media, web browsing and others.

And, on the other hand, you should go for an SSD storage solution if you:

  • Have a full-featured laptop
  • Work on a variety of labor intensive computing tasks including gaming, watching movies, and productivity tasks
  • Are okay with a higher price tag
  • Want a larger storage space
  • Work on large files or handle huge amount of data and
  • Want to have faster performance.

Therefore, be wise while making your choice so that you do not regret later on your decision or make an unproductive investment.

However, with the kind of knowledge you have gained through this article you will surely find it very easy to choose the most suitable storage option between an embedded Multimedia Card and a Solid State Drive to use in your laptop computer.

Conclusion

So, in the end, it can be said that the choice between an eMMC and an SSD will depend on personal choice and other factors such as price, size, performance, lifespan and more.

Thanks to this article, now you know all the differences to make out which is better to use in order to have a high value and performance in return.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers. He loves to cook when he is not busy with writing, computer testing and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin