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Do any mainstream manufacturers incorporate Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) into their USB flash drives (aka "USB sticks") or SD cards?

If not, why not? It can't be for cost reasons, as there are many "premium" USB flash drives and SD cards on the marketplace with advanced features for corresponding high cost. So is it to do with the controller chip technology, for example?

Note: I am not asking for product recommendations.

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  • Can you give some examples on advanced features you found on those "premium" devices? Coz from what I can see, usually they are just faster if they are premium and slower if they are not. Feature-wise it pretty much depends on the standard/protocol defined for that type of device.
    – Tom Yan
    Apr 11, 2016 at 17:13
  • Examples of advanced features include: IPxx ratings; hardware encryption; FIPS certification; built-in media player hardware; etc.
    – user11574
    Apr 11, 2016 at 20:04
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    @TomYan One advanced feature would be single level flash versus multi-level flash for longer life.
    – Michael
    Jan 13, 2020 at 18:48
  • It appears some SD card manufacturers do in high end models, see hdsentinel.com/how_to_monitor_sd_card_health_status.php Dec 7, 2022 at 12:01

1 Answer 1

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http://sg.danny.cz/scsi/smartmontools_scsi.html:

SMART never attained the status of "standard" and its original documents have been withdrawn. Its catchy name lives on, especially on vendors' web sites and obviously in the name of this toolset. Luckily the good ideas in SMART have been incorporated into the ATA and SCSI standards albeit in slightly different forms.

Initially SMART began on SCSI disks as vendor specific extensions. Gradually the SMART functionality has moved into the standards (often by other names) and vendors are improving their standards' compliance. [In the vendors' defence some of the "standards" are drafts and are yet to be ratified.] Some SCSI disk vendors have product manuals (available on the net) that cover the parts of the SCSI command set that their disks support. Some of these manuals fill in details that are left deliberately vague in the the standards.

SCSI standards (found at www.t10.org) only make one footnote reference to the term SMART. In its place the awkward term "Informational Exceptions" is used. For SCSI tapes the term "TapeAlert" is used.

Since USB drives "talks SCSI", so this applies to them as well:

enter image description here

See the section "Informational Exceptions" on the page linked above to see what the codes reported by smartctl (when it's not OK) mean.

P.S. Although it appears that most USB flash drives from major vendors have this kind of SMART implemented, I cannot rule out that it may actually be bogus (e.g. merely done to meet certain SCSI requirements or so). Perhaps internally the controller does nothing to monitor the storage memory but simply reports OK all the time. Also, as you can see, Self Test logging is not supported, which means running short/long test on them makes no sense (even if it can apparently be started).


If you are talking about those commonly-seen "SMART attribute data", they are apparently ATA-specific.

FWIW, some of the "premium" USB flash drives (yes even sticks) are actually USB-bridged SATA drive. Since they are technically standard ATA drive behind the scene, so most of them will at least return some SMART attributes data.

To read them you can for example use smartctl -d sat -A (SAT stands for SCSI-ATA Translation; here it pretty much means to use the ATA PASSTRHOUGH SCSI command introduced in the SAT standard):

enter image description here

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