UFS, eMMC, and NVMe Storage: The Ultimate Guide

UFS stands for Universal Flash Storage, and it is a type of flash memory technology that is used in many mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as in some digital cameras and other electronics.

Universal Flash Storage was developed by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, an organization that sets standards for the semiconductor industry. The first version, UFS 1.0, was released in February 2011. Since then, it has evolved through several versions, such as UFS 2.0, UFS 3.0, UFS 3.1, and UFS 4.0. The latest version, UFS 4.0, was released in August 2022.

UFS is faster and more efficient than the older eMMC standard, because it can perform read and write operations at the same time, and it has a larger bandwidth. Universal Flash Storage also supports different versions, such as UFS 4.0, which is the latest and the fastest one. Universal Flash Storage means that your phone can load apps, files, and media faster, and consume less power.

UFS - universal Flash storage.

Introducing eMMC

eMMC storage

eMMC stands for embedded MultiMediaCard, and it is a type of flash memory storage that is used in many mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. eMMC was developed by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, an organization that sets standards for the semiconductor industry. The first version of eMMC, eMMC 1.0, was released in 2006. The latest version of eMMC, eMMC 5.1, was released in January 2019.

UFS and eMMC: Differences

UFS and eMMC are both types of flash memory storage that are used in smartphones and other devices. The main difference between UFS and eMMC is that the former is faster and more efficient than eMMC, because it can perform read and write operations at the same time, and it has a larger bandwidth. Some of the advantages of Universal Flash Storage over eMMC are:

  • Universal Flash Storage uses a full-duplex interface, allowing simultaneous read and write, while eMMC uses a half-duplex interface, only allowing either read or write.
  • Universal Flash Storage supports advanced features like Deep Sleep, write booster, and throttling notifications to the host, while eMMC does not.
  • Universal Flash Storage has a lower latency, higher peak loudness, and greater sound quality than eMMC.

How to check if your phone has UFS or eMMC storage

There are two ways to check the type and speed of your phone’s storage: using an app or running a benchmark test. Here are the steps for each method:

Using an app: You can download an app called Device Info HW from the Google Play Store. This app can show you various information about your phone, including the storage type and speed. After installing the app, open it and tap on the “Memory” tab. You should see the storage type under the “Flash” section. For example, it might say “UFS 2.1” or “eMMC 5.1”. You can also see the read and write speed of your storage under the “Speed Test” section. Use this link to download the app.

Running a benchmark test: You can download an app called AndroBench from the Google Play Store. This app can measure the performance of your phone’s storage by running various tests. After installing the app, open it and tap on the “Micro” or “SQL” tab. You should see the results of the sequential and random read and write tests.

Introducing NVMe

NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express, and it is a type of flash memory storage that is faster and more efficient than the older eMMC or UFS standards.

The first version of NVMe, NVMe 1.0, was released in February 2011. Since then, NVMe has evolved through several versions, such as NVMe 2.0, which was released in August 2022, and it can deliver sequential read speeds of up to 4,200MB/s and write speeds of up to 2,800MB/s.

UFS vs NVMe: Which is faster?

NVMe is faster than UFS in terms of storage speed. According to a study by Micron, NVMe can achieve 28% faster sequential write speed and 15% faster sequential read speed than Universal Flash Storage. NVMe can also perform 30% more random write IOPS and 16% more random read IOPS than Universal Flash Storage. This is because NVMe has a simpler and more efficient storage software stack than Universal Flash Storage, which is based on the SCSI stack.

Which smartphones use NVMe?

NVMe is used in some high-end smartphones, especially those made by Apple, as it can improve the performance, battery life, and user experience of the devices. Some of the smartphones that use NVMe storage are:

  • iPhone 15 series: The iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max all use NVMe storage with capacities ranging from 128GB to 1TB. They also use Apple’s A17 Bionic chip, which supports PCIe 4.0, a faster interface for NVMe storage.
  • iPhone 14 series: The iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max all use NVMe storage with capacities ranging from 128GB to 1TB. They also use Apple’s A16 Bionic chip, which supports PCIe 4.0, a faster interface for NVMe storage.
  • iPhone SE 2022: The iPhone SE 2022 uses NVMe storage.
  • iPhone 13 series: The iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max all use NVMe storage with capacities ranging from 128GB to 1TB. They also use Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, which supports PCIe 4.0, a faster interface for NVMe storage.
  • iPhone 12 series: The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max all use NVMe storage with capacities ranging from 64GB to 512GB. They also use Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which supports PCIe 3.0, a fast interface for NVMe storage.
  • iPhone 11 series: The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max all use NVMe storage with capacities ranging from 64GB to 512GB. They also use Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, which supports PCIe 3.0, a fast interface for NVMe storage.
  • iPhone SE (2020): The iPhone SE (2020) uses NVMe storage with capacities ranging from 64GB to 256GB. It also uses Apple’s A13 Bionic chip, which supports PCIe 3.0, a fast interface for NVMe storage.
  • iPhone XS series: The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max use NVMe storage with capacities ranging from 64GB to 512GB. They also use Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, which supports PCIe 3.0, a fast interface for NVMe storage.
  • iPhone X: The iPhone X uses NVMe storage with capacities ranging from 64GB to 256GB. It also uses Apple’s A11 Bionic chip, which supports PCIe 3.0, a fast interface for NVMe storage.

Different Versions of Universal Flash Storage Compared

You can compare these results with the average speed of different storage types using the table below:

Storage TypeSequential Read SpeedSequential Write Speed
eMMC 4.5Up to 140 MB/sUp to 50 MB/s
eMMC 5.0Up to 250 MB/sUp to 90 MB/s
eMMC 5.1Up to 250 MB/sUp to 125 MB/s
UFS 2.0Up to 350 MB/sUp to 150 MB/s
UFS 2.1Up to 850 MB/sUp to 150 MB/s
UFS 3.0Up to 2,100 MB/sUp to 410 MB/s
UFS 3.1Up to 2,100 MB/sUp to 1,200 MB/s

Introducing UFS 4.0

UFS 4.0 is a type of flash memory storage that is faster and more efficient than the previous UFS standards. According to Samsung, the company that developed the first UFS 4.0 solution, UFS 4.0 can deliver sequential read speeds of up to 4,200MB/s and write speeds of up to 2,800MB/s. This means that UFS 4.0 can transfer data at twice the speed of UFS 3.1 and four times the speed of UFS 2.1. UFS 4.0 can improve the performance, battery life, and user experience of smartphones and other devices that use it.

Which smartphones use UFS storage?

Some of the smartphones that use Universal Flash Storage are:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 series, and newer.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, and newer.
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, and newer.
  • OnePlus 9 series, and newer.
  • OnePlus Nord 2
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 series, and newer.
  • iQOO 7 series, and newer.
  • Vivo X60 series, and newer.
  • Vivo V21 series, and newer.
  • OPPO Find X3 series, and newer.
  • OPPO Reno 6 series, and newer.

This is not a complete list, as there are many other smartphones that use Universal Flash Storage. You can check the specifications of any smartphone on the web or using an app like Device Info HW to see the type and speed of its storage.

Mobile Phone Storage Standards and Speeds

As far as mobile home storage standards and speeds are concerned, eMMC is the oldest and also the slowest. NVMe is the newest and also the fastest.

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