I've been doing some inquiry about flash memory and I do know how flash memory works and I do know about the different layouts (nand/nor) and how the reading and writing processes function.

My question regards the term 'CompactFlash'. I would like to know exactly what is meant by it, and by extension, if there are alternatives to it. All I've found googleing either explains the basics of flash memory (which I am aware of) and then jumps to different memory cards you commonly find or is too detailed to follow.

So, to restate my question: What is the relationship between NAND/NOR flash memory technology and CompactFlash?

Thank you!


1 Answer 1


Compact Flash is a memory card standard which defines the size of the card, the type of connector, the electrical signals on the connector, and the protocol to be used to read and write to the card. Internally the card will have 1 or more memory IC's that store data. These IC's can be constructed using a technology called either NOR or NAND flash. Originally Compact Flash cards used NOR flash memory, but nowadays they all use NAND flash. From the end users perspective it is irrelevant which technology is used: the Compact Flash card will operate the same way, although NAND flash cards will usually have much higher capacity.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For completeness, there used to be miniature harddrives (so magnetic storage !) in a Compact Flash form factor. So that memory card would not use any flash memory at all ! These were soon superseded by electronic memory as that became smaller and cheaper. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microdrive \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2016 at 13:03

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