Wednesday, November 17, 2004

It flashes-Fixed

The article about the Tungsten T5 hat brought me quite a few comments-including a flame in german! Thanks to everybody who commented and helped me update my understanding of Flash chip architecture.

Actually, there are two types of flash: The NOR Flash and the NAND flash.
NOR Flash is the older of the two(developed by Intel 1988), and is the one I have practically used in my projects. Lets discuss the differences here:

NOR Flash
This Flash memory type can be adressed byte for byte. It basically works like a SRAM chip that doesnt loose data when powered off and works a bit slower. Flashs are only sector-erasable.
Programs can be run from it because it basically is like RAM when beeing read-and it has been used ever since the Palm III to store the OS of the Handheld. It didn't get lost when the Handheld was reset nand out of power, but it could still be updated(I say could, because PalmOne didn't always release Flash Upgrades recently, e.g. Tungsten T!). ROM's couldnt be updated....

NAND Flash
This is the new kid on the block here-and I haven't ever ever seen such a chip in action. You feed a sector adress into the chip, and out comes a serial stream of the whole sector. Writing is alsdo accomplished in whole sectors.
Since it is very difficult to execute a serial byte stream, programs cannot be directly run from this kind of flash! However, it is way cheaper than NOR flash.

This was aninteresting stroll through electronics. I maybe get my lab back working someday(damn accident), then I will give you further coverage on the topic!

Find further Information in the Wikipedia on


Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Some Flashs are rumored to be only sector-erasable

oh my god, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!

ALL FlashROM is sector-eraseable ONLY, even NAND Flash is!!! If you Sucker don't believe, go study the datasheet of the FlashChips used inside the T5.

You have seen PIC16F84. Oh, i see....

11:20 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

I got that fixed up now. I can still remeber having a flash chip where I could erase byte for byte(NOT BIT FOR BIT!!)-must be wrong though!
Thats anyway the last thing I am gonna write about the TT5-I must move on to sth new!

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