Removable Flash Memory Cards
While your computer's BIOS chip is the most common form of Flash memory, removable solid-state storage devices are becoming increasingly popular. SmartMedia and CompactFlash cards are both well-known, especially as "electronic film" for digital cameras. Other removable Flash memory products include Sony's Memory Stick, PCMCIA memory cards, and memory cards for video game systems such as Nintendo's N64, Sega's Dreamcast and Sony's PlayStation. We will focus on SmartMedia and CompactFlash, but the essential idea is the same for all of these products. Every one of them is simply a form of Flash memory.

There are several reasons to use Flash memory instead of a hard disk:

  • Flash memory is noiseless.
  • It allows faster access.
  • It is smaller in size.
  • It is lighter.
  • It has no moving parts.
So why don't we just use Flash memory for everything? Because the cost per megabyte for a hard disk is drastically cheaper, and the capacity is substantially more.