If you’re buying a new computer, storage is an important factor to consider. The amount of storage you have obviously impacts what you can use the computer for. The speed of storage, however, also affects the overall speed of your device.
Whether you’re buying a desktop or a laptop, the primary options are eMMC and SSD. HDDs can also be considered, but due to their incredibly slow speed, they aren’t worth considering unless you want maximum storage space for a minimum price.
So, what is eMMC, and is it right for your next computer? Let’s find out.
What Is eMMC?
eMMC stands for embedded MultiMediaCard. It’s called eMMC because it’s typically soldered onto the device’s motherboard. eMMC is primarily found in smartphones, but it can also be used in computers. It’s popular because despite offering similar speed to low-end SSDs, it’s significantly cheaper.
It’s typically available in cheap laptops, but it is also popular among people building their own PC on a budget. The primary downside of eMMC is that it’s only available in sizes between 32 and 128 GB.
What Is SSD?
SSD stands for solid-state drive and is the most popular storage type for computers and laptops. Prior to the invention of solid-state drives, computers typically used HDDs.
SSDs offer significant improvements over HDDs, including:
- SSDs are significantly faster than HDDs, offering speeds of 400 MB/s to 3 GB/s.
- SSDs are much smaller than HDDs. Because of this, HDDs are no longer used in laptops.
- SSDs have no moving pieces and are, therefore, quieter and significantly more difficult to break.
The only downside of SSDs is that they are only available in sizes of up to 1 TB, and are more expensive than HDDs. Because of this, HDDs are still popular with people who need a lot of space.
eMMC vs. SSD
The popularity of eMMC is primarily based on price. There are, however, many reasons to pay more and get an SSD instead.
eMMCs Have Limited Storage Space
The primary difference between eMMC and SSD is the amount of storage space that you get. eMMCs are typically only sold up to 128 GB. This is a reasonable amount of space for a smartphone, but is quite limiting on a computer. SSDs start at 128 GB and increase to 1 TB.
eMMCs Offer Limited Speed
eMMCs offer data transfer speeds of up to 400 MB/s. This is similar to SATA SSDs, but you can also purchase NVMe SSDs which range from 400 MB/s to 3 GB/s. 400 MB/s isn’t particularly slow and many eMMC-based devices offer excellent performance. But, if you perform any activities which require large amounts of data transfers, eMMCs aren’t recommended.
eMMCs Are Impossible to Upgrade
eMMCs get their name from the fact that they are soldered onto the motherboard. This makes an eMMC impossible to replace. SSDs, on the other hand, are easy to replace. If you purchase a computer with a 128 GB SSD, it’s easy to upgrade to a larger drive later on. It’s worth noting that many eMMC devices do have a free SD slot. This allows you to increase storage space even though the eMMC isn’t replaceable.
Is 128 GB Enough Space for a Computer?
If you’d like to buy a computer with eMMC memory, you might be wondering how much storage space you need. eMMC is available up to 128 GB with some devices offering even less than that.
While 128 GB is certainly not ideal, it isn’t small enough to impact overall performance. It’s also large enough to install most programs and store a limited amount of media.
If you want more storage space, there are also many options available to you. An external hard drive is an obvious choice. You can purchase a 1 TB external drive for less than $100 and the only downside is that you need to keep it plugged in. Cloud storage is also an option. For a small monthly fee, you can store all of your files in the cloud and they are easily accessible, provided you have an internet connection.
This means that while an eMMC isn’t as convenient as a large SSD drive, there are numerous workarounds.
When Is eMMC Suitable?
eMMC storage is found in a wide range of devices and depending on your preferences, isn’t necessarily a significant drawback. Here is why you might buy an eMMC device:
- You want a cheap tablet or laptop. Opting for a device with eMMC allows you to save money without necessarily sacrificing performance.
- You want a device for browsing the web, word processing, and media streaming. The difference between eMMC and SSD isn’t likely to be noticeable.
- You don’t mind paying for cloud storage. Cloud storage will keep your files easily accessible without increasing the initial cost of your device.
When Is eMMC Not Suitable?
eMMC is not suitable if you want a computer for activities that rely on fast, easily accessible storage. Here is why you might pay more for an SSD device:
- You want a computer for gaming. Some games require large amounts of storage space to install.
- You want a computer for video editing or any activity which requires regular access to storage. Some types of SSD drives are significantly faster and are worth paying more for.
- You want easily accessible storage without a monthly fee. Cloud storage is a paid service that requires an internet connection.
eMMC Is Inferior to SSD but Worth Considering for Some Purposes
eMMC is a budget-friendly type of storage that offers an interesting alternative to solid-state drives. It is primarily found in smartphones but is also used in low-end tablets and laptops. It’s popular because despite being cheaper than solid-state drives, it offers reasonable speed.
The disadvantage of eMMC is that it’s only available in sizes of up to 128 GB. This makes it unsuitable for many purposes, such as gaming and video editing. If you don’t require a lot of storage space, however, opting for an eMMC device is a good way to save money without compromising on overall performance.