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TLC (Triple-Level Cell): A Breakdown

TLC or Triple-Level Cell is a type of NAND flash memory used in various storage devices like SSDs and stores up to three bits of data per cell.

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In the world of PC hardware, people want faster, more dependable, and affordable storage. One big change in this area is TLC (Triple-Level Cell) NAND flash memory. It’s a technology that’s essential for the storage in most of our devices. This article will explain what TLC is, how it’s different from other types like SLC and MLC, and where you can see TLC in your PC setup.

Also Read: What Are DIMM Slots?

Key Takeaways

  • TLC (Triple-Level Cell) is a type of NAND flash memory that stores up to three data bits per cell.
  • Compared to SLC and MLC, it offers better affordability at the expense of speed and durability.
  • TLC NAND flash memory is commonly present in consumer-grade SSDs and high-capacity USB drives.

What Is TLC?

Qualitative distribution of devices versus V T for TLC
Qualitative distribution of devices versus V T for TLC (Image Credits – Reserach Gate)

TLC or Triple-Level Cell is a type of NAND flash memory used in various storage devices like Solid-State Drives (SSDs). As apparent by name, it can store up to three data bits in one cell[1]. This, in turn, provides a higher storage capacity compared to SLC and MLC, which can only store one and two bits per cell, respectively. The unique feature of TLC lies in its better affordability while still giving good speed and reasonable durability[2].


SLC NAND flash memory is known for its speed and durability, making it ideal for high-performance applications where cost is not a primary concern[3]. MLC NAND offers a balance between performance and cost and is commonly available in consumer-grade SSDs and data centers. Finally, TLC NAND provides a higher storage capacity at a lower cost, making it a popular choice for consumer-grade SSDs and portable devices[4]. To better understand the differences between these three, I have created a comparative table:

Attribute SLC MLC TLC
Bits per Cell 1 2 3
Performance Fast Moderate Moderate
Endurance High Moderate Moderate
Capacity Low Moderate High
Cost per GB High Moderate Low
Common Use Cases Enterprise storage, high-performance computing Consumer-grade SSDs, data centers Consumer-grade SSDs, portable devices

Where Is TLC Used?

SABRENT Rocket 4 PLUS M.2 NVMe SSD – Image Credits: Tech4Gamers

You can find TLC NAND flash memory in various PC hardware components, mainly in consumer-grade SSDs. These drives are often the go-to choice for those looking to enhance their PC’s performance without breaking the bank. TLC-based SSDs offer a compelling mix of affordability and decent performance, making them suitable for various applications, from gaming to general productivity tasks[1].

Check Out: What Are SSD Read/Write Speeds?

Furthermore, high-capacity USB drives commonly use TLC NAND, offering users ample storage for their data, files, and multimedia content. This allows users to carry large amounts of data in a compact, durable, and affordable package.

Related Helpful Resources By Tech4Gamers:


  1. What Is Triple-level Cell (TLC) Flash Memory and How Does It Work. Retrieved from
  2. Pedro Hernandez (June 2018). SLC vs MLC vs TLC NAND Flash. Retrieved from
  3. KIOXIA Singapore Pte. Ltd. SLC NAND Flash Memory. Retrieved from
  4. Difference between SLC, MLC, TLC and 3D NAND in USB flash drives, SSDs and memory cards. Retrieved from
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