Understanding SSDs: Single-Level Cell vs Multi-Level Cell

Posted by HPE Storage Specialist on Jun 26, 2023

Understanding SSDs: Single-Level Cell vs Multi-Level Cell

Understanding SSDs: Single-Level Cell vs Multi-Level Cell

In the world of Solid-State Drives (SSDs), the technology used can significantly influence the drive's performance, cost, and lifespan. This article will guide you through two crucial types of NAND flash memory used in SSDs: Single-Level Cell (SLC) and Multi-Level Cell (MLC).

Single-Level Cell (SLC)

SLC SSDs, as the name implies, store a single bit of data per cell. This storage method boasts higher speed, lower power consumption, and greater cell endurance compared to its MLC counterpart. While SLC SSDs provide top-notch reliability and performance, their high manufacturing cost leads to a pricier tag for the consumer. Because of their advantages, SLC SSDs are typically used in enterprise and industrial applications where performance and reliability are of the essence.

Multi-Level Cell (MLC)

MLC SSDs step up the game by storing more than one bit of data per cell. Common MLC SSDs store two bits per cell, while more advanced versions like Triple-Level Cell (TLC) and Quad-Level Cell (QLC) SSDs store three and four bits per cell, respectively. However, the trade-off is that MLC SSDs have slower write speeds and lower cell endurance compared to SLC SSDs. Nevertheless, they are cheaper to manufacture and more cost-effective for the consumer, making them a prevalent choice for consumer-grade products.


In conclusion, while SLC SSDs generally provide superior performance and durability, improvements in technology and error correction have significantly enhanced the reliability and speed of MLC SSDs. Thus, they are a suitable choice for many applications.