USB Flash Drive Data Recovery Blog

Providing expert advice on broken flash drive repair and flash drive data recovery.

A Warning About Monolithic Flash Drives

Brian Ernst - Thursday, May 12, 2011

There’s no free lunch, as they say. And the adage appears to hold true with recent advances in NAND flash technology. Several flash drive and memory card manufacturers like PNY have been producing monolithic flash drives for years, and they are becoming more popular. While traditional flash drives consist of a microcontroller, one or more NAND memory chips, a crystal oscillator, and a host of resistors, capacitors and other electronic components that make a flash drive work, monolithic flash drives have all the components integrated into the chip itself. This allows manufacturers to create very small flash drives that can be placed on a key chain, for example.


Great, right? Not so much. If When monolithic flash drives and SD cards fail, replacing the microcontroller or swapping the NAND chip to another circuit board becomes impossible. This often makes recovering the files extremely difficult. Methods for extracting files from monolithic drives do exist, but the recovery success rate is much lower than with traditional flash drives and SD cards.

The FlashDrivePros suggest you either back up your files regularly with a program like FDP Sync, and/or just avoid monolithic flash drives altogether. The reduced size isn’t worth the trouble if you should ever need to recover the files.