Transcend Launches New eMMC 4.51 Flash Memory Chip For Low-Cost Devices

Transcend Information, a Taiwan-based company focused on manufacturing digital storage products, announced the launch of its new EMC210 eMMC storage solution. The flash memory chip comes with an integrated memory controller, which leads to a faster product development.

The eMMC, or embedded multi-media card products, are usually found in mobile devices such as the so-called "internal storage." Internal storage tends to have faster speeds than most mainstream SD cards on the market, and Transcend's new flash memory chip is no exception.

The EMC210 is compliant with the JEDEC 4.51 specification and offers read speeds of up to 140 MB/s and write speeds of up to 60 MB/s. This is in contrast to, for example, Samsung's eMMC 5.1-compliant memory chips that promise read speeds of up to 250 MB/s and write speeds of up to 125 MB/s.

eMMC 5.1 is the latest JEDEC specification for flash memory chips. Samsung's chips also promise 11,000 IOPS read and 13,000 IOPS write performance. Transcend didn't mention its chips' IOPS performance in its press release, but it's likely to have a significantly lower write speed.

The eMMC standard is about to be replaced by the even faster UFS 2.0, which Samsung already uses in the Galaxy S6; Xiaomi has also hinted at using it this year in its phones. However, the eMMC standard will continue to be used in lower-cost smartphones and tablets for the foreseeable future, especially considering that the biggest volume of smartphone sales is represented by low-cost devices.

It's important to note that the flash chips' speeds tend to be significantly slower in the real world, and the ones promised are more theoretical than anything else. Still, the official numbers give us a rough idea about how they compare to each other.

Trascend's eMMC solution will come in capacities of 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB. This, along with the support for an older and lower performance JEDEC specification, implies that the chip is meant for lower-cost devices, which don't tend to have more than 32 GB of internal storage.

Transcend's EMC210 includes a number of extra features such as Enhanced Reliable Write, which ensures there won't be any data loss in case of sudden power loss during a write operation. It also comes with Automatic Sleep Mode, which tries to put the chip in standby after a short period of inactivity to minimize power consumption.

Other features include Quick Health Info to help with monitoring the erase count of the flash, TRIM, ECC and Secure Erase. Secure Erase is a feature that can be useful for when you want to sell your phone. Data isn't completely erased when you reset/format a phone, but Secure Erase can purge all the leftover data to clean the flash chip.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.