Solid state drives are one of the two types of long term memory in a computer. Long term memory is used by the CPU and other parts of the computer. They are a newer technology than HDDs. In 1956, IBM created the first hard drive. It was bigger than two refrigerators and only stored five megabytes. Since then, hard drive technology has advanced a lot, making them smaller, cheaper, and able to store more memory. However, they can break very easily due to the fragility of their mechanical parts. This can result in a huge loss of data. Like HDDs, solid state drives store data when the computer is turned off. However, they are made up of semiconductor chips organized on a board making them much more durable than HDDs.


The first SSD was created in 1976 by Dataram. It had eight memory boards, each of which held 256 KB of RAM. It cost $9700. However, by the early 1980's many companies were producing SSDs that could be used on personal computers. The PION Interstellar Drive could hold up to 1 megabyte of memory. It used RAM chips that required power to retain data. These products cost between $500 and $1000. Digipro designed the first prototype of a SSD card using flash memory in 1988. This product was called Flashdisk. It could hold a lot more memory than the PION Interstellar Drive SSDs. Unfortunately, the price had gone up.

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Ram-based solid state drives were still more common than SSDs using NOR or NAND, the two kinds of flash memory. They were still expensive for personal computers, but many companies had switched over from HDDs to SSDs because their access time was much faster. However, if the power went of, the SSD would lose its data because it used RAM so these SSDs had battery packs and HHDs. M-Systems started producing their FFD-350 line.

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Usually, non-volatile memory is stored on physical mediums like cassetts, HDDs, DVDs etc. However, even though SSD's use electronic chips, they are non-volatile because they rely on circuitry. In 2006, the first mass market flash SSD that held 32 GBs was released. Since then, SSD's have grown in popularity and are commonly used in smartphones and tablets due to their small size and fast operation time. However, they are still more expansive then the classic HDD and can not hold as much memory.

By Eraine Leland

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