Typically, one of these ICs provides an interface between the USB connector and the onboard memory, while the other is the flash memory. Comparison with other portable storage[ edit ] Punched cards in storage at a U. Computers access modern [update] flash memory systems very much like hard disk drives, where the controller system has full control over where information is actually stored. Bootstrapping an operating system install or disk cloning operation, often across a network. Like flash drives, hard disks also suffer from file fragmentation , which can reduce access speed. Channel Five 's Gadget Show cooked one of these flash drives with propane, froze it with dry ice , submerged it in various acidic liquids, ran over it with a jeep and fired it against a wall with a mortar. The availability of inexpensive flash drives has enabled them to be used for promotional and marketing purposes, particularly within technical and computer-industry circles e.
Floppy disk[ edit ] Size comparison of a flash drive and a 3. Comparison with other portable storage[ edit ] Punched cards in storage at a U. Audio players[ edit ] Many companies make small solid-state digital audio players , essentially producing flash drives with sound output and a simple user interface. Some flash drives use retractable USB connectors instead. Rave , a compilation album released by the Kiss Network in April Optical storage devices are among the cheapest methods of mass data storage after the hard drive. Some computers can boot up from flash drives. Having this second space allows the manufacturer to use a single printed circuit board for more than one storage size device. However, while virtually all PCs have USB ports, allowing the use of USB flash drives, memory card readers are not commonly supplied as standard equipment particularly with desktop computers. The drives are less fragile mechanically and magnetically than tapes. The examples given are chosen to illustrate extremes There is virtually no limit to the number of reads from such flash memory, so a well-worn USB drive may be write-protected to help ensure the life of individual cells. For consecutive sector writes and reads for example, from an unfragmented file , most hard drives can provide a much higher sustained data rate than current NAND flash memory, though mechanical latencies seriously impact hard drive performance. They may be given away for free, sold at less than wholesale price, or included as a bonus with another purchased product. Unlike solid-state memory, hard drives are susceptible to damage by shock e. Most of these players can also be used as a conventional flash drive, for storing files of any type. Therefore, USB flash units can be partitioned just like hard disk drives. The availability of inexpensive flash drives has enabled them to be used for promotional and marketing purposes, particularly within technical and computer-industry circles e. Applications must be modified for the U3 platform not to leave any data on the host machine. The ubiquity of SD cards is such that, circa , due to economies of scale , their price is now less than an equivalent-capacity USB flash drive, even with the added cost of a USB SD card reader. Such warranties should make the device more attractive for more applications. Desired mode of operation either regular USB mass storage device or of floppy drive emulation is made selectable by a sliding switch on the device's housing. Backup[ edit ] Some value-added resellers are now using a flash drive as part of small-business turnkey solutions e. Many low-cost MP3 players simply add extra software and a battery to a standard flash memory control microprocessor so it can also serve as a music playback decoder. Transcend is the only manufacturer of USB flash drives containing such feature. Drives typically use the USB mass storage device class to communicate with the host.
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