write cycle

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Essential guide to desktop and laptop solid-state drives

A write cycle is the process of recording data on a NAND flash solid state storage device (SSD). There are a finite number of NAND flash write cycles.Write cycles are also called program/erase (P/E) cycles.

Once flash solid state storage media has reached a steady state, blocks of unnecessary data are erased automatically when new data is written. This clean-up process, which makes room for new data, is called garbage collection. Because garbage collection is invisible to the end user and cannot be suppressed, the erase operation is dropped from every day speech and the cycle is simply identified as a “write cycle.”


This was last updated in January 2012

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