Sunday

SSD: TLC vs MLC - WTF?

So you are looking to buy an SSD, and you notice (among other acronyms) that some are labeled "TLC" and some "MLC", as seen in the example from Microcenter below. What is the difference and should you care?

Click to enlarge
Before I go any further, I should say that these are Microcenter "house brand" drives, and that I actually own a 240GB and two 120GB versions of these (they are cheap and fast, what can I tell you). 

Both the models I have happen to be the "MLC" types, and you can see Microcenter has clearly labeled them as such. The 480GB model is the "TLC" type, and at $75 is a particularly eye-catching deal, at least at the time of writing this.

MLC and TLC refer to the construction of the SSD, specifically the density of the NAND flash memory. MLC is "Multi Level Cell" and TLC is "Triple Level Cell". 

TLC is less expensive to produce, and is somewhat slower than MLC and also tends to "wear" more quickly. 

All that sounds like you should avoid TLC but I would venture to say that in a consumer setting (a regular home PC, not a bleeding edge gaming machine or a video workstation) either type would be fine. 

If you need some more storage for your dollar and can live with a (probably imperceptible) performance decrease, then go for it. I should point out that all the above examples have a 3 year parts and labor warranty, and the specifications are pretty similar..

No, I'm not shilling for Microcenter, I just picked these as a ready example, particularly as I already own some of the models shown and have had good results.

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