One of my pet grudges against laptop manufacturers are eMMC modules. These are not worth buying and make most customers regret purchasing such a laptop! They are tiny NAND modules that might be faster than an HDD drive. They are cheaper than a standard SSD drive. But the capacity of them is less than adequate. Read on to understand why!
Why do manufacturers use eMMC modules?
These modules are usually used in cheap laptops due to their low cost. This is down to the fact that this kind of storage is really similar to the low cost SD Cards and USB sticks found at your local supermarket. As such, they usually only use a single NAND chip that is of a much lower quality than a conventional SSD.
Why is eMMC storage so slow compared to an SSD?
One of the reasons that eMMC storage is many times slower than an SSD drive is that it usually uses a single NAND chip. For comparison, a conventional SSD will use a large number of NAND modules. These will be utilised in a similar way as a RAID array, allowing for data to be written and spread across many modules. This allows SSDs to function at much greater speed when it comes to read/write operations.
Why I consider eMMC a bad option for laptops?
The majority of laptop users will look to install a variety of software on their machine in order to be able to perform their desired tasks. This means that a large enough storage solution has to be present in order to store all of these applications. This is where eMMC as a main storage solution falls short. The majority of laptops with these chips will only contain around 32GB of capacity. With some stretching to 64GB . Most of this storage will be used to install Windows, taking up 20GB for both Windows 7/10, in the now standard 64-bit architecture. This leaves very little space for those Family pictures that you might want to show off. To add to the misery, a Windows Computer will try to assign a further 1.5x the RAM capacity for a page file which is used when the operating system runs out of RAM. So for example, an 8GB RAM system will aim for a 12GB allocation for the page file. In theory filling the entire 32GB drive by the system and the page file alone.
Who are laptops with eMMC storage intended for then?
In my opinion, these machines are only useful for the least demanding users who are only looking for a laptop to use for browsing the internet or watching online videos. Another use case might be a student who just uses the laptop for note taking on the cloud like Office 365. But if you intend to do any other kind of tasks that might include installing third party software then stay clear of laptops with eMMC storage.
Laptops with eMMC storage should only be purchased by people browsing the internet and performing tasks on the cloud. If you are looking for any other tasks, and I suspect that reading this technical blog you are, then I recommend staying clear of them. They are cheap if you’re on a tight budget with prices starting around £150 / $180. But I would highly recommend saving an extra bit and getting a laptop with a standard HDD.