Flash memory

Updated: 03/06/2020 by Computer Hope
Flash memory

Flash memory may refer to any of the following:

1. Alternatively called flash storage and solid-state storage, flash memory is non-volatile computer memory. It was first invented by Fujio Masuoka in the early 1980s while at Toshiba and introduced it to the market in 1984. It was also later developed by Intel. Flash memory is an integrated circuit that does not need continuous power to retain data, but is a bit more expensive than magnetic storage. Today, flash memory is popular and solid-state drives are a practical replacement for large hard drives if you have the extra money.

Flash memory is widely used with car radios, cell phones, digital cameras, PDAs, solid-state drives, tablets, and printers. The picture is an example of different flash memory. For additional information and examples of flash memory cards, see our flash memory card page.


Flash memory is sometimes abbreviated as "flash." To help prevent confusion with other meanings of flash, we suggest always referring to this type of memory as "flash memory."

NAND, NOR, and 3D flash memory

NAND flash

NAND flash is a type of flash memory based on the NAND logic gate.

Similarly, NOR flash is a type of flash memory based on the NOR logic gate.

3D NAND Flash and 3D NOR Flash are flash memory technologies that layer memory cells on top of each other in a stacked planar configuration. They offer persistent, modular storage at speeds comparable to RAM.

Optane, a line of high-performance persistent memory modules released by Intel in March 2017, uses a layering technology known as 3D XPoint. Optane SSD (solid-state drive) modules additionally incorporate NAND flash, combining the two technologies to blend high performance with high capacity. As of April 2019, Optane modules are available in capacities ranging from 16 GB to 512 GB.

Is RAM the same as flash memory?

No. RAM (random-access memory) is a volatile memory that loses any information if the power is turned off. However, flash memory is a non-volatile memory which means it keeps its information with and without power.

2. Flash is also an improper name for a USB (universal serial bus) jump drive.

Camera terms, Flash memory card, Hardware terms, Memory terms, MicroSD, MMC, NOR, ROM card, USB