What is the difference between MLC and SLC flash memory?
There are two types of flash memory chips: single-level cell (SLC) and multi-level cell (MLC). MLC flash allows a greater amount of data to be stored on a single chip as two or more bits of data may be stored on each "memory cell" within the chip. Thus, an MLC flash solution requires half as many chips as a comparable SLC solution, and costs less as a result.
However, because of the high data density of MLC chips, they are more prone to errors (requiring error checking algorithms that slow down write speeds), consume more energy, and wear down more quickly. This reduces the number of writing cycles they can withstand before losing their ability to hold a charge. Before accounting for the wear-leveling algorithm, SLC chips can generally tolerate 10 times the number of program/erase cycles that MLC chips can withstand.
Logic Supply has traditionally offered only SLC flash memory solutions (designated as "Industrial" grade in product titles) optimized for industrial and embedded applications, with excellent durability, power efficiency, and a long operational life while still maintaining a high read/write endurance. Also, SLC flash is able to tolerate extreme environments that MLC flash cannot such as wide temperature ranges, high altitudes, high shocks and vibrations, and high degrees of humidity.
Due to increasing customer demand for lower-priced solid state storage options, Logic Supply now carries MLC flash (designated as "Commercial" grade in product titles). Customers are advised not to install an OS on an MLC flash drive because of its significantly lower read/write cycle specifications. Please be sure to weigh the increased risk against the financial benefits for your particular use. If cost constraints dictate that you cannot use SLC flash, you should at least build in extra capacity for the wear-leveling algorithm.
For more information see the following links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UGqjpZL3yQ (This link will take you to a video explaining the differences)