The main objective of UFS storage is to replace the SD card and eMMC storage in ultra-portable PCs, smartphones, tablets and embedded devices and to provide manifold higher data transfer speeds, more storage and security.
Along with this, the battery of the device has to be saved by reducing the power consumed by the memory. By the way, what is UFS memory and how is it better than other portable storage, so let's know it.
What is managed memory and how is it used in portable devices?
UFS, MMC and SD cards are a kind of managed memory, that is, you can save or delete any particular data from these memories such as a picture, but if we delete one of the particular data from unmanaged memory then the entire Memory is formatted.
So just as hard drives and solid-state drives in computers and laptops called HDD and SDD in short and it is managed permanent memory, similarly UFS, MMC and SD memory come for smartphones, smartwatches etc.
The same non-volatile memory, such as UFS and MMC, is embedded inside the gadgets, soldered into its circuit, making it act like a ROM in the device and is embedded in the circuit board of the device, The name changes from UFS and MMC to eUFS and eMMC.
MMC memory usage
MMC, ie multimedia card, was unveiled in 1997, which is still used in cameras in external solid-state storage rooms and most computers have a port for this.
It is still used as a ROM in the embedded form in cheap smartphones and gadgets, in which eMMC storage is used in smartphones coming with Snapdragon 400 and 600 series, Snapdragon 810, 820 and most of MediaTek processors.
Features of eMMC memory
The eMMC works on a half-duplex protocol, meaning that it can have only one operation at a time and cannot have read and write simultaneously, and it operates in a single direction.
eMMC consumes up to 3.3 volts of power and can transfer data at a maximum speed of 250 mb/s read and 125 mb/s write speed, and it cannot have more than 11000 input/output operations in a second. All these specifications are of the latest eMMC 5.1 that launched in 2015.
Why UFS Memory Needed?
UFS technology was worked on to update the eMMC memory and to achieve higher data transfer speeds and IOPS capability, which works on full-duplex protocol and is capable of bi-directional operation, which makes it simultaneous Can perform read/write operations at the same time.
UFS memory technology is also used in two ways, the first as a memory card containing UFS version 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 and the second embedded memory which is the eUFS version which contains 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0 and its latest version 3.1.
By the way, before we know the version of UFS memory, we first get to know about Sequential and Random read/write speed and single bandwidth and dual bandwidth, because these terms will be used every time.
Sequential and Random Read/write Speed
Sequential Read/Write Speed is the speed of transferring a large file or folder from one place to another. Random read/write speed is the ability to handle the number of input/output operations inside the memory in 1 second and is used when installing or running a software or application.
Single lane bandwidth and dual lane bandwidth
Bandwidth is the maximum theoretical data transfer speed of memory, the same single-channel memory transfers data from only one data channel, while dual-channel memory transfers data through 2 channels. That is, if a memory transfers 64-bit data from one channel, it will transfer 128-bit data through 2 channels.
You can understand it in such a way that if you send your goods in 2 trucks instead of one truck, then you will be able to supply double the goods in one go. Similarly, double lane bandwidth will transfer data at twice the speed of single-lane bandwidth.
UFS Memory Versions
UFS memory is being used as embedded in portable gadgets, also known as eUFS and they have 6 versions so far, which are as follows:
So the first of these came in 2011 in eUFS 1.0, also known as UFS 1.0, and it came in 16, 32 and 64 GB storage options, with a sequential reading speed of 250 mb/s and writing speed of 75 mb/s had the same random reading speed up to 10000 IOPS and writing speed up to 2500 IOPS.
Just next year of UFS version 1.0, its updated version UFS 1.1 came with some improvements but both these versions are not used in any smartphone yet, it came with a single lane with a maximum bandwidth of 300 mb/s.
In 2013, UFS 2.0 was launched which was double lane memory with a single-lane bandwidth speed of 600 mb/s and double lane bandwidth speed of 1200 Mbps. Compared to UFS version 1.1, the addition of link bandwidth, security features extension and additional power-saving features were added.
It was first used commercially by Samsung in its Galaxy S6 smartphone in 2015. That is, this technology came just 6 years ago and there are continuous improvements in it.
Subsequently, in 2016, security was promoted in UFS version 2.0 itself and added inclined cryptographic operations, and introduced as UFS version 2.1 and UFS 2.1 is still used in most mid-range smartphones.
In 2018, USS Technology underwent major improvement with version 3.0 and its speed increased manifold. In UFS 3.0, the sequential read speed reached 2.1 Gb/s and write speed 410 mb/s, while its application and gaming handling reached a random read speed of 68000 IOPS and a random write speed of 63000 IOPS.
With a single lane bandwidth of 1450 mb/s, the bandwidth of both its lanes together was increased to 2.9 Gb/s, due to which the gaming performance of the gadgets became very good.
The latest version 3.1 of UFS came in the year 2020, in which the bandwidth and number of lane remained the same as its old version 3.0 but it added a right booster which increased its right speed.
Performance throttling notifications have also been added to this so that it informs the host about the performance decreasing in the event of over temperature, and in this version also the ideal mode has been added.
The maximum capacity of UFS storage is up to 16 TB and it consumes power between 0.2 volts to 0.4 volts, meaning that UFS storage is superior in comparison to eMMC storage in every respect.
Use of UFS memory in smartphones
Talking about the use of UFS memory in smartphones, UFS version 2.0 is compatible with the smartphones that come with Snapdragon 820, 821, kirin 950, 955 and Samsung's Exynos 7420 processors and have been implemented with them.
UFS 2.1 were implemented with Snapdragon processors ranging between 700 Series and Snapdragon 835 to 850, Kirin 960,970 and Exynos 9609, 9610, 9611, 9810 and 990 and MediaTek G90 processors.
In addition to the UFS version 3.0 Snapdragon 855 and 865 processors, processors with Exynos 9820/9825 and Kirin 990 have been implemented and are also supported by Snapdragon's older 835 and 845 processors.
Talking about the latest UFS 3.1, it has been implemented with Snapdragon 865 and 888 and will come with future processors.
UFS Flash Storage
Apart from eUFS, there are also UFS memory cards that Samsung announced in 2016 that support single bandwidth. The maximum bandwidth speed of UFS memory card versions 1.0 and 1.1 is 600 mb/s and the maximum bandwidth speed of version 2.0 that introduced in 2018 is 1.2 Gb/s.
The UFS memory card is not supported in the current smartphone, but maybe we will see it soon in Samsung's latest flagship smartphone.