RAM-based solid state drive (SSD)

A RAM-based solid state drive is a storage device that is made from silicon microchips, has no moving parts and stores data electronically instead of magnetically.

There are two types of solid state drives:  flash-based and RAM-based.  Although flash solid state media has a finite number of program/erase (P/E) cycles, a typical RAM SSD does not face the same write cycle limitation. 

A RAM-based solid state drive uses DRAM or SRAM chips, both of which are volatile. This means that a RAM-based drive will lose its contents when the power is turned off.  To preserve the contents of a RAM-based solid state drive, data is copied from volatile memory to nonvolatile memory upon instruction or when the drive is powered down.  Generally, a RAM-based SSD have batteries that keep the data alive long enough for it to be copied to nonvolatile memory in the event that power accidently gets shut off.  

RAM-based SSDs are often used in financial, telecom, e-commerce and other fields in which high latency or downtime cannot be tolerated.  Although they are more expensive than their flash-based or electromechanical counterparts, RAM-based drives offer significantly better performance than other types of storage media  and are especially well-suited for write-heavy applications or write-intensive files within an application.

This was last updated in January 2012

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