TLC vs MLC – Which Flash-Based SSD You Have To Go For?

When you go shopping around to buy a solid-state drive (SSD) you will be faced with two different types of SSDs aimed at consumers: TLC and MLC. This may be quite confusing if you don’t have the sufficient knowledge to distinguish between these two technologies. But is it really important to learn about that? The answer is YES if you look for what best suits your demands from an SSD. It is not the matter of just getting any SSD and that’s all, even if it is a prominent brand. So here, in this article, you are supposed to learn the major differences between MLC and TLC and find out which one is right for you.

As with any technology, there are trade-offs, depending on which of the two types of flash SSD you select. Multi-level cell (MLC) flash is most common and is often found in premium consumer-grade products such as cameras, phones, USB memory sticks and portable music players but is also present in some enterprise storage products. Three-level cell (TLC) flash is a newer, slower and lower-cost technology dedicated for consumer-grade users also.

The main characteristic of TLC flash is its low price, but it suffers from higher wear rates and lower write performance compared with multi-level cell (MLC) technology. SLC is faster and much more reliable but also more expensive, and is featured in the best-performing storage arrays.

We can list the major differences in a few points as of below:

MLC- Multi Level Cell

•). Lower endurance limit than SLC
•). 10,000 program/erase cycles per cell
•). Lower cost
•). A good fit for consumer products. Not suggested for applications which require frequent update of data.

TLC- Three Level Cell

•). Higher density.
•). Lower endurance limit than MLC and SLC
•). TLC has slower read and write speeds than conventional MLC
•). 5,000 program/erase cycles per cell
•). Best price point
•). A good fit for low-end basic products. Not suggested for critical or important applications at this time which require frequent updating of data.

You can read more on this issue on our article: MLC NAND Technology – The Core Power Of Premium SSDs

Note that because TLC flash technology has a higher density than MLC it was employed to produce 1TB consumer-level SSD in an adequate price while the same size in MLC technology costs more than $1,000.

So after all, what do you really need? Well, know first how you can describe yourself. Are you a professional computer user that deal with huge data and need the best possible speed out of your system? That applies to professional video/graphics editors, gaming geeks who play heavy resource-demanding games, and those who have their machine set to be a small network server with maximum 20 users. If that’s you, go for MLC SSDs. We have made a special regularly-updated list for the best premium consumer SSDs HERE if you are interested. Otherwise if you do not consider yourself an enthusiast and just want an SSD to speed up your overall system performance and significantly decrease its boot time and immensely improve its responsiveness, while your usage is just light-to-medium weight, the best option for you is a TLC SSD with no doubt.

But what if you still find TLC SSD expensive for the capacity it offers? Why not consider to buy a speedy hard disk drive (HDD)?

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