eMMC vs. SSD

Not all storage options are the same

When shopping for a new laptop, there are many factors to consider. One important aspect is the kind of storage the laptop offers. The average laptop (whether it's a 2-in-1, big and expensive, or budget-friendly and compact) most likely sports either eMMC storage or SSD storage, but how are these storage mediums different? We researched both to help you learn more about eMMC hard drives vs. SSD hard drives.

eMMC vs SSD

Overall Findings

eMMC
  • Requires little to no power for data retention.

  • Typically installed in cheaper laptops, Chromebooks, and mobile devices.

  • Lower cost.

SSD
  • No moving parts that read data.

  • Requires very little power to operate.

  • Larger size capacities.

  • Best for more demanding computing tasks.

Depending on your needs, eMMC or SSD could work for your storage solution. If you're on a tight budget, take a look at eMMC. However, if you need faster performance, take a look at SSD.

eMMC Pros and Cons

Advantages
  • Inexpensive even in larger capacities.

  • Transfer speeds up to 400 MB/s.

  • Great for web surfing and word processing.

Disadvantages
  • Comes in 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB only.

  • Sizes of 128 GB or more are harder to find.

  • Can't handle tasks with high-performance demands.

  • Slower performance.

eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard) storage is a form of internal storage consisting of a controller and NAND flash memory, which are located in one integrated circuit. eMMC storage chips are usually embedded in a device's motherboard. The controllers housed in eMMC chips put data into storage, which, according to SearchStorage, allows the device's CPU to conserve its limited speed and power for other computing tasks. In addition, eMMC uses NAND flash memory, which requires little to no power from the device to hold onto data.

Because eMMC chips perform with little to no power drawn from the devices, eMMC chips are generally found in PCs and mobile devices that have limited power, performance, and speed; especially when compared with more expensive, fully-featured laptops. eMMC chips are normally found in compact and budget laptops, Chromebooks, tablet PCs, 2-in-1s, smartphones, and tablets.

When Should You Buy eMMC Storage?

If you're looking for something portable with a lower price point, a PC with eMMC storage may be worth considering. And, as Windows Central points out, PCs with eMMC storage may also be best for those who own an external hard drive, have a cloud storage subscription, or can afford a cloud storage subscription. This is because PCs with eMMC storage tend to have smaller storage capacities. So, if you need to store a lot of files and other data, you'll need an external storage option to use an eMMC PC.

Another thing to consider is how you plan to use the laptop. Laptops with eMMC storage are generally best for those who plan to use the PC for web browsing, streaming media, and not much else. These PCs aren't built for labor-intensive tasks.

SSD Pros and Cons

Advantages
  • Use for any computing task.

  • Fairly commonplace in a variety of PCs and devices.

  • Transfer speeds from 500 MB/s to over 3,000 MB/s.

  • Comes in a variety of sizes, including 1TB and larger.

Disadvantages
  • Costlier at larger capacities, but coming down in price.

SSD (solid-state drive) storage is a type of internal storage that consists of several flash memory chips, a circuit board, and either a SATA or PCIe interface that moves data and provides the SSD with power.

Unlike traditional hard drives, SSDs don't require moving parts like drive motors to read data. The lack of moving parts in SSDs means these drives don't need as much power to read data and can do so faster than hard drives. Like eMMC storage, SSDs use NAND flash memory, which enables SSDs to use less power when storing data.

SSDs are usually found in larger, fully-featured laptops or desktop computers. These computers also tend to be more expensive and have larger storage capacities than eMMC computers and mobile devices. The larger storage capacities are because SSDs have larger sizes available.

When Should You Buy SSD Storage?

If you need a full-featured laptop that handles a variety of computing tasks (web browsing, watching movies, gaming, and productivity tasks), choose a laptop that has SSD storage.

Because SSDs often offer large storage capacities, SSDs are best if you store large files (or more data in general) on your PC.

Also, price is an important factor when considering SSDs. While these are often worth the money (SSDs tend to be faster, perform better, and store more than eMMC devices), SSDs also tend to be more expensive. These aren't generally considered budget laptops, but if your budget can support the cost of an SSD laptop, it may be worth the purchase.

Final Verdict: SSD Can Do It All at a Price

While eMMC is perfect for low-key computing, such as surfing the web or streaming videos, it's not adequate for more strenuous computing. If you're budget-minded and don't mind a slower speed, eMMC is perfect for you. However, if you're a power user and need a computer with more speed and don't mind the extra cost, SSD is the way to go. SSD prices are slowly dropping, making it attractive for most consumers.