You’re helping your healthcare facilities in their next order of medical computers when an email arrives from upper management. In it, there’s an argument to switch to PCs with less expensive eMMC storage. You’ve been asked to contribute, answering if eMMC is better than SSD normally used in the facilities’ computers; is an eMMC storage good; what’s the downside of eMMC storage, if any, etc.

We provide guidance to those answers and more in today’s post. We hope, in fact, covering the storage technologies helps in your healthcare decision-making but in other sectors like industrial panel PCs as well. 

Which is better eMMC or SSD?

The simple answer to this question is, “it depends.”

eMMC stands for embedded Multi-Media Card. It is used to store files similar to the more familiar hard disk drive (HDD) whirring in most PCs. 

Things to know about eMMC:

  • It is the common form of MultiMediaCard (MMC) storage used today. Other forms include DV-MMC, MiCard, MMCplus and MMCmobile, MMCmicro, RS-MMC,  SecureMMC, etc. 
  • Much of MMC has been replaced by Secure Digital (SD) storage. 
  • It is primarily found in smartphones. Inexpensive tablets and laptops may also use eMMC. 
  • An eMMC card is a single silicon die composed of NAND flash memory and a flash memory controller. It is fused, or embedded, to the device or computer’s motherboard (hence the “e” in the acronym). 
  • The controller component handles the duty of storing data into the memory. This frees the device or computer’s CPU to process other tasks. 
  • The NAND flash memory does not require power to hold onto its data. This is unlike RAM found in most off-the-shelf computers, which needs power running to store data. 
  • eMMC offers data transfer speeds of up to 400 MB/s. Cards have storage capacities in either 32GB or 64GB. While 128GB and 256GB cards are available, they are rare. 

What Does SSD Mean?

A solid-state drive (SSD) stores data as well. It is based on the more modern Secure Digital (SD) standard. A successor to HDD, SSD is compared to eMMC a lot because of similar technologies like the use of NAND flash memory.

Items of note about SSD:

  • Also referred to as a solid-state device or a solid-state disk. 
  • Found in higher-end devices or computers requiring fast transfer of large amounts of data. Gaming machines, and those used for web design and/or video editing, usually use SSD. 
  • Not fused to the motherboard. Instead, the SSD connects via cabling like SATA (Serial ATA) 3, mSATA, PCIe interface, or SATA Express. 
  • Has data transfer deliver speeds of up to 400MB/s with SATA. Newer ones can transfer up to a staggering 3.5GB/s using NVMe (Non-volatile memory express) while the new PCIe 4.0 NVMe can approach a jaw-dropping 7.0GB/s. 
  • Usually has more NAND flash memory. Data storage usually starts around 128GB and can reach up to 2TB.  
  • The controller has the ability to spread Read-and-Write operations among the NAND flash memory chips. Up to 10 different chips can be simultaneously written on during a typical write operation, for example. 


So which one is best for companies? Look at a checklist of what your company plans to use its devices and/or computers, and review the following:

When eMMC storage is good

No need to upgrade

eMMC will work just fine if you don’t feel you need to upgrade your device or computer’s storage unit. Remember that while the maximum is 256GBs, most units have a storage capacity of either 32GB or 64GB. To store greater than this amount, external options like cloud storage, SD card, or external hard drive will have to be used. 

On a tight budget 

eMMC is a cheap and proven technology. Many can be found as the primary storage for portable devices like smartphones, inexpensive tablets, PCs like Chromebooks, and for very small sensors connected to Internet of Things like used in smart manufacturing

Small sized data

eMMC runs faster when dealing with small file storage and retrieval operations.

Casual use

eMMC storage should be more than sufficient if the computer or device used is primarily for streaming video, checking email, browning social media, or similar, casual computing tasks. 

When SSD is good

Expansion is important

SSD are attached to the motherboard via a cable. This makes it very easy to update them. Simply detach the older drive and plug in the new one. 

Demanding computer tasks

As mentioned earlier, SSD have more NAND flash chips. They tend to be faster and of better quality compared to eMMC. This allows for greater data storage (up to 1TB in some drives) and transmission (up to 7GBs!) to the rest of the internal components. 

Even better, the firmware inside and SSD’s controller have the ability to spread read and write operations. This not only helps prevent a bottleneck by a single chip, but reduces wear and tear on them. 

These features make SSD the best for fast-booting the operating system to playing data-intensive games; basically any tasks requiring the handling of extremely large files or storing large amounts of data. 

There’s a price to pay (literally) for these features. Many fully-featured laptops and desktops cost more using SSD than HDD or, especially, eMMC storage. So it’s important to make sure you’ll want and/or need everything SSD has to offer. 

Closing Thoughts

eMMC storage allows devices like smartphones, tablets, and certain kinds of computers and laptops to save files inexpensively. Limitations like lack of upgradability and storage capacity has consumers turning to the more pricier SSD to store their programs and data. 

Contact an expert at Cybernet if you’d like a discussion on the two storage options and which one works best for your company’s needs.