What Is SSD With DRAM? Do You Need DRAM Cache On SSD?


If any part of a computer is more important than the processor itself, it would be the hard drive that stores all the data of a given unit. The storage holds not just the important data but all of it. In the earlier days, just 64 kilobytes of memory were stored in drives as tall as humans! Their speed to read/ write data onto them was extremely slow. Mankind has since moved from such huge blocks of memory and has consistently reduced the size of a memory drive. Today, we can store as much as 1 terrabyte or even more on one personal computer hard drive, and at astonishing speeds too. This is thanks to the Solid State Drive (SSD) with the Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM).

What is SSD with DRAM?

An SSD directly writes to flash memory cells without any need to use spinning platters. This prolongs their life span when compared to the traditional hard drive. When this SSD is clubbed with a DRAM, the DRAM moves the entire data on the SSD constantly. This ensures that all the flash memory cells will wear out equally and, therefore, give the hard drive as a whole a prolonged lifespan. This is made possible because the SSD with DRAM comes with its short-term memory enabled by a separate memory chip placed inside the hard drive.

What Is SSD With DRAM
What Is SSD With DRAM

NAND types, DRAM cache, HMB explained

When talking about SSDs with DRAM, three things are important:

NAND types

NAND flash is a type of non-volatile memory that stores data in blocks. It relies on electrical circuits when storing data. There are four types of NAND types:

  1. Single Layer cell: the single-layer cell was the very first type of flash memory ever used. Each cell stored a single bit of data and was individual from the other cells. While this gave us an option to store large data and faster read/ write features, it became extremely costly as the memory requirement grew.
  2. Multi-Layer cell: this cell is an upgrade over the SLC that has more storage space but lesser speed. Many of the MLCs have an SLC cache as well.
  3. Triple Layer cell: the TLC is further slower compared to the MLC. However, it is widely used in today’s SSDs due to its ability to write more data into a single cell.
  4. Quad level cell: this provides caching technique to provide good speeds and offers still more storage at more affordable rates than the previous three.
  5. 3-D NAND layering: the above four types only have one layer of cell in them. At the same time, 3-D NAND layering employs stacking multiple layers of cells on top of each other. This reduced the size of the drive and provides better speed and also higher storage space.

DRAM cache

Each SSD is equipped with a map of sorts to have an index of where all the data is stored within the SSD. This map or index is stored on the DRAM cache in the SSD. The DRAM cache is an entirely separate chip inside the SSD and has very important information regarding the data stored in the SSD.

Host memory buffer technique

While the DRAM provides the SSD with cache memory, the host memory buffer technique can increase the amount of memory used by the DRAM by providing a link between the DRAM and the host computer’s RAM. This makes the SSD even faster and more reliable.

What Does DRAM Cache Do In SSD?

The DRAM cache provides the SSD a route map on what data is stored on the hard drive. This drastically reduces the read/ write time of the SSD and gives us more speed.

How important is DRAM in SSD?

While many SSDs in the market currently do not have a DRAM installed in them to reduce costs and provide higher storage space, the DRAM still gives considerable speed to the SSD and can be called irreplaceable. Quite literally, an SSD installed with a DRAM wouldn’t function if the DRAM inside it gets damaged.

Do You Need DRAM Cache On SSD?

This largely depends on the functions you hope to run on your computer. If storage is important to you and speed doesn’t bother you, you can opt for an SSD without DRAM. If however, speed is essential somehow, you should most definitely go for an SSD with DRAM cache.

What Is The Best SSD With DRAM Cache?

Here we have reviewed some of the best SSDs with DRAM cache for your consideration:

  • 2.5 inch SATA SSD with DRAM

This SSD is made of the 3-D NAND layering model and has a speed of 560/510 MB/s. It is capable of storing a lot of games and data within its 500GB capacity. For just a 2.5 inch drive with 7 mm in height, its reaction time is extremely fast and reliable. It also supports SMART technology and TRIM. Its interface is the SATA III 6GB/s. It is rated 4.8 stars on Amazon, with 87% of the votes being 5 stars.

  • M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD with DRAM cache

This SSD employs only the latest and the fastest PCIe generation 4 x4 and also complies with the NVMe 1.3 standard. With this SSD, you can forget worrying about speed since it comes with an R/W speed of 5,000/4,400 MB/s! It also has a built-in smart algorithm management mechanism for smart garbage collection, TRIM command, and LDPC error correction code.

  • 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB SSD with DRAM

This one comes with a phison S11 series controller and an SSD interface model SATA III 6 GB/s. This gives the system an extremely fast response time and quicker boot time. It has TRIM support, smart grip, low power management, bad block management, and also static and dynamic wear leveling. The DRAM cache is 32 MB SDR. The transfer speeds lie in the neighborhood of 560/540 MB/s.

  • 1 TB SSD with DRAM cache

This 1000 GB storage space SSD is a one-of-a-kind SSD with sequential speeds up to 560/525 MB/s and is built with proprietary SK Hynix HYPERWRITE cache technology. Built with the 3-D NAND model and a stable DRAM, this SSD is a sure thing for some quality storage and uncompromising speed as well.

What Is The Cheapest SSD With DRAM?

The price of an SSD greatly depends on the storage capacity it provides and the speed at which it functions. Different SSDs have approximately the same price for given storage with differences in small amounts only. Instead of looking for the cheapest SSD, try looking for the SSD with the exact specifications you need and then look for the cheapest one among all that you find. Each SSD is unique, and no SSD can give you all features that you wish for. You will just have to make a list of the most important features for you and see what works best.

Related Question

DRAM vs DRAM-less SSD: which one to buy?

The answer lies in your requirements. If you wish to have a larger storage capacity and are willing to compromise on the speed of the hard drive, you should opt for the DRAM-less SSD. However, if speed’s important to you, the SSD with DRAM is your best option.

How to tell if an SSD has a DRAM cache?

The only real way as a consumer to tell if your SSD has a DRAM cache is to tear down the hard drive and spot the DRAM chip on the board inside. The only other option is to look at the features section of the model you are considering and see if the manufacturer has mentioned if your SSD contains a DRAM cache.

Is DRAM needed for gaming?

Gaming is all about speed and the highest response time you can have. Therefore, while an SSD with DRAM may not greatly improve your graphics, it will most definitely reduce your latency issues and give you faster boot times. This would give you a much greater edge over a computer that does not have DRAM.

Is DRAM necessary in SSD?

DRAM is a volatile memory that must be powered on to hold data, but not every SSD needs DRAM. There are certain DRAM-less SSDs like Crucial BX500, ADATA SU760, Kingston A400, and Lexar NS100.

Is an SSD with DRAM better?

Virtium’s tests shows there is minimal difference in burst performance between the SSDs with DRAM, while DRAM-less SSDs are slightly faster in sequential transfer and random read operations. However, DRAM-less SSDs have shown to have marginally slower random write performance.

Is DRAM good for gaming?

Because of these features, the amount of DRAM you have can affect the general performance of gaming on your computer. Games may be slower on a system with low DRAM as they work to swap information with the storage memory.

Does Kingston SSD DRAM?

Kingston A400 series SSD products based on NAND Flash memory technology. It does not use DRAM components. Thank you.

What is DRAM used for?

DRAM is widely used in digital electronics where low-cost and high-capacity memory is required. One of the largest applications for DRAM is the main memory (called the “RAM”) in modern computers and graphics cards (where the “main memory” is called the graphics memory).

How important is DRAM cache?

Some sort of caching technique, either DRAM cache or HMB cache should be considered essential in a drive that is intended to be used as an OS drive. You can get away with a cheaper DRAM-less drive but its endurance and performance will be much lower than the drives that do house a cache.

Do you need DRAM on NVMe?

It depends on the individual user. Dram-less SSDs are OK to use and are significantly quicker than an HDD, and will provide fast boot times, but writing to them could be slower than DRAM SSDs. They are cheap due to not needing DRAM, but it is fine if you need to get off an HDD.

How much DRAM do I need?

In general, we recommend at least 4GB of RAM and think that most users will do well with 8GB. Choose 16GB or more if you’re a power user, if you run today’s most demanding games and applications, or if you simply want to make sure you’re covered for any future needs.

How much DRAM Do I need gaming?

Get at least 16GB of RAM to play modern games, and more if you multitask.

What SSD has DRAM cache?

These two models are typical examples of this topic. VULCAN SSD has DRAM Cache, and the read/write speed is about 560/510MB/s, while VULCAN G SSD is a product without DRAM Cache but with SLC Cache.

How do I know if my SSD has DRAM?

Only way you can really tell if by viewing an SSD teardown and spotting the DRAM chip on the board.

Does MX500 have DRAM?

Yes, the MX500 2.5″ SSD does contain a DRAM cache.

Is SRAM or DRAM better?

SRAM, or static RAM, offers better performance than DRAM because DRAM needs to be refreshed periodically when in use, while SRAM does not. However, SRAM is more expensive and less dense than DRAM, so SRAM sizes are orders of magnitude lower than DRAM.

What are advantages of DRAM?

The main advantages of DRAM include the following: Its design is simple, only requiring one transistor. The cost is low in comparison to alternative types of memory such as SRAM. It provides higher density levels.

What is the difference between SRAM and DRAM?

SRAM: is a memory chip that is faster and uses less power than DRAM. DRAM: is a memory chip that can hold more data than an SRAM chip, but it requires more power.

Do PNY SSD have DRAM?

The company hasn’t revealed where the SSD comes with a DRAM-Cache or not. But, it is basically a DRAM-Less SSD.

Is SN550 DRAM-less?

The SN550 is based on the m. 2 2280 form factor with a PCIe 3.0 (x4) or latest NVMe 1.4 interface. It features a SanDisk 4-channel controller and is a DRAM-less drive with HMD support. Without DRAM, it instead uses a small SLC cache on its single-sided PCB board as well the the host’s via NVMe.

Is HMB better than DRAM?

The Host Memory Buffer (HMB) feature takes advantage of the DMA capabilities of PCI Express to allow SSDs to use some of the DRAM attached to the CPU, instead of requiring the SSD to bring its own DRAM. Accessing host memory over PCIe is slower than accessing onboard DRAM, but still much faster than reading from flash.

Does all m 2 have DRAM?

Do all NVMe SSDs have DRAM? – Quora. No. NVME is a protocol which is different from DRAM. These all take different measures in the way its used and are better at doing some things than the other.

Conclusion

A solid-state Drive (SSD) is a device that stores all the computer data that is connected to it. It is responsible for all the system memory requirements. Generally, an SSD is of two types. The SSD with DRAM and the SSD without DRAM. The SSD with DRAM gives preference to the speed of the hard drive while compromising its storage space, while the SSD without DRAM has more storage space and less speed compared to its counterpart

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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