single level cell (SLC) flash

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Essential guide to the all-flash array market

Single level cell (SLC) flash is a type of solid-state storage (SSS) that stores 1 bit of data per cell of flash media.

SLC flash is always in one of two states, programmed (0) or erased (1).  The state is determined by the level of charge that’s applied to the cell. Because there are only two choices, zero or one, the state of the cell can be interpreted very quickly and the chances of bit errors is reduced. Individual SLC memory cells can sustain approximately 100,000 write operations before failure. Once a cell is written to its limit, the cell starts to forget what is stored and data corruption can occur.

SLC lash is generally used in commercial and industrial applications and embedded systems that require high performance and long-term reliability. SLC uses a high grade of  flash media which provides good performance and endurance, but the trade-off is its high price.  SLC flash is typically more than twice the price of multi-level cell (MLC) flash.

This was last updated in January 2012

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What is the advantage of SLC over EEPROM?


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