What are NAND Hard Drives?

R. Kayne

NAND (Not And) hard drives are very fast, high-capacity, solid-state flash memory drives. Predicted to become the drive of choice in laptops, NAND hard drives have many significant advantages over other types of flash memory. NANDĀ refers to the architecture of the chip, differing it from NOR (Not Or) flash memory. NOR flash memory is commonly used in cell phones, PDAs and other devices in which small programs are executed in place rather than written to RAM. NOR flash memory is a good choice for applications that require little memory and do most of their work on unchanging code, such as boot directions or operating systems.

Data on an traditional internal hard drive is stored on magnetic disks.
Data on an traditional internal hard drive is stored on magnetic disks.

For changing data, however, NAND hard drives are superior to NOR flash memory. NAND is more cost effective and the chips are smaller, allowing more memory to be packed into the same size space. These hard drives also erase faster than NOR flash memory. This allows NAND to write faster, as flash memory must erase memory blocks before writing to them. Furthermore, NAND features a longer lifespan of more erase cycles. These factors combine to make this type of flash memory a logical choice for high-capacity storage and manipulation of changing data.

NAND solid-state hard drives have no moving parts like traditional computer hard drives have.
NAND solid-state hard drives have no moving parts like traditional computer hard drives have.

NAND hard drives also have significant advantages over traditional hard drives. Solid-state means that the drives do not have moving parts that can break down. They are also much faster than traditional drives and, like USB flash drives, they are completely silent. As if these favorable attributes weren't enough, NAND drives use very little power. This is particularly important to laptop users.

However, as of Spring 2006, traditional hard drives are so inexpensive that it's difficult for newer technology to compete in the commercial marketplace. Costs for a large NAND drive are still prohibitive. Industry insiders predict affordable solid-state laptops running NAND hard drives by 2009. Exact timing is dependent on manufacturing costs, which continue to fall. Also, with all of the advantages of these drives, consumers will likely be willing to dig into their wallets.

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Discussion Comments


What is the life of nand memory in hard drives?


To mac47: The 160gb dell limit is probably what the bios on the dell computer allows. Which means upon plug-n-play of the hard drive to the (ide, sata, ssd interface) computer as an internal hard drive, upon boot up with or without an operating system installed, it will be recognized automatically if it is under 160gb.

It may also refer the size of hard drive that dell will provide technical support.

There are third party software utilities, ez drive, hard drive company priority software, and others that will allow the hard drive to be installed and have the full capacity of the hard drive be recognized by the computer.

The utility will recognize the drive and drive

full capacity upon boot up. As to using an external usb hard drive for storage that should be OK. The drive will be recognized by the computer's operating system (mac os,windows os, xp, vista).

Windows usually supports the largest size of hard drives manufactured.

Hopefully this explains your question fully.


I was going to add a 250 gig hard drive to my dell 3100 (2.8 mg, pent 4)...existing hd is 40 gig...I intended on using the 250 for storage only..as the slave...upon contacting Dell Support..they tell me that that my system can only recognize up to 160 gigs...why is that & are they telling the truth...and is my option an external drive?

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