What Is eMMC Memory?

Learn all about this affordable computer storage option

If you plan to buy a compact and budget-friendly laptop, the internal storage offered by such laptops is likely to be eMMC storage. eMMC is an integrated storage chip that sits on the device's motherboard. It's like a permanent MicroSD card.

Before you buy a laptop with eMMC storage, consider if eMMC storage has the features you need and if you can accept its limitations. The type you choose determines the overall performance and speed of your computer.

What Is eMMC Storage?

eMMC stands for embedded MultiMediaCard. It's a type of internal storage embedded or attached to a device or a PC motherboard. According to PCMag, eMMC storage uses the MultiMediaCard standard and is based on NAND flash memory. The NAND flash memory used in eMMC storage isn't unique to eMMC and is found in other types of storage like Secure Digital (SD) cards, solid-state drives (SSD), and USB drives.

eMMC storage is usually found in budget-friendly laptops, as well as tablets, Chromebooks, tablet PCs, 2-in-1 computers, and smartphones.

Person sitting at a desk and using a stylus on a computer.
Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

How eMMC Storage Works

According to SearchStorage, eMMC chips act as the main storage for smaller devices and compact PCs. These chips are comprised of a controller and NAND flash memory, both of which are within a single integrated circuit.

This circuit connects to a device's main circuit board. From there, the eMMC chip's controller handles the task of putting data in storage. With that task handled, the device's CPU can focus on other tasks, rather than allocate its limited power and speed on storage concerns. The use of NAND flash memory in an eMMC chip also uses little to no power to hold onto data.

Many devices, including PCs, offer a variety of eMMC storage sizes, which can vary from about 32 GB to 256 GB. Mid-range sizes include 64 GB and 128 GB.

How Fast Is eMMC Storage?

According to Windows Central, eMMC storage, at its current standard, is capable of reaching transfer speeds of up to 400 MB/s. This isn't a particularly slow speed for mobile devices or compact laptops. Still, it is considered slower than other storage options offered for larger, more expensive laptops.

Advantages
  • Devices with eMMC storage tend to be cheaper and portable.

Disadvantages
  • The transfer rate that eMMC storage-based devices offer is slow compared to other storage options.

  • Available storage sizes for eMMC are too small if you want to do more than surf the web and watch movies.

Who Is eMMC Storage For?

eMMC storage is best in these situations:

  • If you want a cheap, portable PC or mobile device.
  • When your computing needs don't exceed web browsing and streaming media.
  • You can afford a cloud storage subscription or another external storage option.

If your needs include other computing tasks like gaming, editing video, or similar activities, it's best to look at other, larger storage options like solid-state drives.