I will be honest. I thought thumb drive and flash drive are the same! So, let’s educate ourselves on thumb drive vs flash drive.
As we move have gradually stepped more into a digitized world, different objects and functions of our reality have found a counterpart in digital or virtual reality. Just like earlier, let’s say in an office, data was stored in files and then those files were organized in file cabinets. That stored file could be retrieved and transferred as per requirement. The digital counterparts of these data storage mechanisms are SSD cards, memory cards, USB drives, etc.
During the early days of computers, there wasn’t much space to store data as the parts and programming required to run the computer took up most of the space. Therefore, storing additional data was a challenge. This requirement gave rise to the development of storage devices. Among them, SSD cards, memory cards, USB drives are the most revolutionary ones and useful too.
They hold considerable storage space but aren’t bigger than the size of a thumb. These are all portable and are extremely handy. The technology surrounding data storage has come a long way and has evolved in stages. Flash drive and thumb drive are two such data storage devices.
Thumb drives and flash drives differ in a number of ways. The biggest distinctive factor between the two, however, is their memory storage type. Flash drives use compact flash technology while Thumb drive uses solid-state drive technology.
Comparison Table: Thumb Drive vs Flash Drive
|Criteria||Flash Drive||Thumb Drive|
|Meaning||A flash drive uses flash memory in an enclosed disc to store data.||A thumb drive (USB drive) uses a technology calked solid-state drive (SSD) to store data.|
|Technology||Flash drives use Flash memory technology to store data. Therefore, it has a non-volatile memory chip that can be electronically reprogrammed to be used again.||Thumb drive uses solid-state device technology to store and retrieve data. The USB specifications that it has of USB 1.0, 2.0,3.0 helps in a smooth transfer of data.|
|Use||Flash drives are mainly used in MP3 players, digital cameras, USB flash drives, and solid-state drives.||The use or function of a thumb drive is more minimal. They are usually used to store information files and to transfer the same to other computers when required.|
|Capacity||Flash drives have a huge storage capacity between 512 GB to 1 TB.||Thumb drive, on the other hand, has a smaller capacity of 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB.|
|Durability||Flash drive is actually physically quite durable.||Thumb drives are not very durable. They usually come in a plastic casing which doesn’t support the drive too much.|
About Thumb Drive
Thumb drives are also electronic, portable, storage devices. How are they different then from the flash drive you may ask. Well, the difference lies in subtler nuances. This device gains its name obviously because of its size. It is almost the size of a human thumb and thus the name.
A thumb drive is a solid-state drive with no moving parts, unlike hard disk drives. This is also connected to a device through a USB port and when connected, the OS recognizes the device as a removable device. Thumb drive makes use of three USB specifications for data transfer purposes which are 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. This is why the data transfer is so smooth for thumb drives.
A thumb drive is not as strong as flash drives but is more strong and durable than CD or DVDs. It is also more easily portable which was the purpose of its origin. Both flash drives and thumb drives were released in the market for the first time in 2000.
Thumb drive uses solid-state drive technology to store data. The range of storage capacity that thumb drive comes in is 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. They do have a smaller capacity than flash drives.
About Flash Drive
A flash drive is a digital electronic device. It connects to any computer or any other device through a built-in Type C or Type A USB portal. When a flash drive is inserted into a device, the device shows a notification alerting the user of the same.
The OS recognizes the drive as a removable device These are also sometimes more commonly referred to as USB drives or pen drives.
These flash drives are available in various storage capacities or sizes. One of the first flash drives available had a capacity of 8 GB. Now, the general storage capacity of flash drives ranges between 512 GB to 1 TB which is a lot considering the small size it comes in. It has a massive storage capacity. That is one of the reasons for its popularity.
Flash drives with smaller and larger storage capacities are available but are not as readily available. This type of device can be erased and reprogrammed again to store data. The user is in full control of what data or how much data is being stored in the drive.
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Difference Between Thumb Drive and Flash Drive
Both the drives are commonly referred to as USB drives because that is how they get access to any other device. Because of this generic name, people often consider them to be one and the same. But they are quite different from each other. Flash drive uses flash memory in an enclosed disc to store data.
Thumb drive uses a technology calked solid-state drive (SSD) to store data.
Flash drives use Flash memory technology to store data. Therefore, it has a non-volatile memory chip that can be electronically reprogrammed to be used again.
Thumb drive uses solid-state device technology to store and retrieve data. The USB specifications that it has of USB 1.0, 2.0,3.0 helps in a smooth transfer of data.
Flash drives are mainly used in MP3 players, digital cameras, USB flash drives, and solid-state drives.
The usage of a thumb drive is more minimal. They are usually used to store information files and to transfer the same to other computers when required.
Flash drives have a huge storage capacity between 512 GB to 1 TB.
Thumb drive, on the other hand, has a smaller capacity of 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB.
Thumb drives are not very durable. They usually come in a plastic casing which doesn’t support the drive too much.
Flash drive is actually physically quite durable.
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