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The worlds first Solid State Drive is introduced by Dataram in 1976. The name of the first SSD called Bulk Core. Bulk Core looks just like its name, design like a 19 inches wide and 15.75 inches tall huge box that can help up to maximum 8 individual memory boards, each packed with the size of 256KB RAM chips. As a result, Bulk Core could only provide a massive 2MB of storage for minicomputers at that time. At that era, the Bulk Core is very expensive and rare, which cost for thousand dollars or nearly ten thousand just for only 256KB of storage, but for now, you only just need to paid few hundreds of dollars or even lesser for hundreds of gigabytes. In 1978, Texas Memory Systems introduced a gigabyte of RAM SSD. At that time that SSD cost around 1 million dollar.
Bubble Memory is introduced to the world in the early 1980s. The properties of Magnetic bubble memory are similar to modern flash memory is that it won't lose data when you turn off the power. But, it doesn't get widespread use because of its terms of capacity. At the same time, Intel also released a 1-megabit bubble memory chip. These products get good respond from the consumer and it started using the technology. These products are called as the MPC Bubdisk which has 128KB of data, and retailed for only 895 dollars. In 1982, Axlon began to sell RAM disks for home PCs. The product that Axlon sell is the Apple II which is sold for 1395 dollars and held 320KB of data. A 3 hours rechargeable battery is needed since stored data on the conventional RAM chips that would lose the data if powered off.
In 1988, a small Alabama-based PC vendor called Digipro revealed a prototype of the world's first solid-state drive to use flash memory. Its name is called simply Flashdisk which could hold up to 16MB of data. In the early 1990s, flash memory was still costly and rare in the market, it has the same data-access times as dynamic RAM-based SSDs did. Such RAM based SSDs mostly useful in large server applications that demanded for high-speed data access. Almost all of the RAM SSDs of the 1990s contained a battery backup and a hard disk that would automatically store the RAM disk's contents to prevent data lost if power were suddenly off.
The birth of the first modern flash drive is in 1995 where Israeli firm M-Systems set the template for the modern flash based SSD with its Fast Flash Disk (FFD). It has the capacities start from 16MB till 896MB. Prices that typically in the range of tens thousands of dollars per drive, those SSDs found mostly use in military and aeronautical applications that demanded rugged data storage. Over the next decade, M-Systems continued to expand its FFD line, with faster access times, higher capacities, and different designs.
In year 2003, Transcend introduced a series of flash modules which are commonly used in consumer PCs at that time. Each module has the capacities from 16MB to 512MB and with low prices. Larger capacities followed in the years after this. In 2006, one of the first mass market flash SSDs was released by Samsung, a 2.5 inch 32GB drive which designed as a drop-in replacement for the laptop hard drives. Flash SSDs in 2006 were capable of many more rewrites functions than flash media cards at the time, this bringing the Flash SSDs closer to replacing mechanical hard drives for everyday use. This new generation of products triggered a consumer SSD market explosion that continues until these days. In 2009, the Fusion IoDrive Duo utilizes a specially designed form of flash memory to achieve sustained read speeds of 1.5GBps and it is available in capacities from 128GB to 1TB.
The evolution of new flash chips and higher speed SATA interfaces of SSDs benefits the consumer getting a faster and cheaper SSD product.Â Many manufacturers that produce SSDs are also keep experimenting with new ways to package their SSDs. Widespread use of SATA cable to transfer data will keep growing until there is a new revolution to transfer data with a higher speed.
The architecture of SSD and comparison
SSD is an electronic storage device that based on the design of RAM (Random Access Memory), and contains no mechanical moving parts. SSD components include a controller, cache and energy storage. Controller is an embedded processor that executes firmware-level software. Cache is where a directory of block placement and wear leveling data are also kept. Energy storage is kind of capacitor or batteries, It use to move data from cache to drive when power is dropped. The primary storage component in an SSD is NAND flash memory. The performance of the SSD can measure by the number of parallel NAND flash chips used in the device. The more NAND flash chips that used in SSD and operate in parallel, the higher the performance of SSD will be. But with the condition that has enough outstanding operations are pending and the load is evenly distributed between devices.
The architecture of HDD is a mechanical storage device and it's based on the design that taken from the Gramophone, an early era machine that use to record and play the audio. With a same general ideal from Gramophone, HDD is faster and has some differences compare to Gramophone. A typical HDD consists of a spindle that holds one or more flat circular disks (calledÂ platters) onto which the data is recorded. The platters are made from a non-magneticÂ material and are coated with a thin layer ofÂ magneticÂ material. Read/writeÂ heads are positioned on top of the disks. The platters are spun at very high speeds with a motor. A typical hard drive has twoÂ electric motors, one is to spin the disks and another one is to position the read/writeÂ head assembly. Information is written to a platter as it rotates past the read/write heads. The read/writeÂ head can detect and modify the magnetization of the material immediately under it.
The architecture for HDD is there has several disks stacked vertically, and for each disk surface at least one radially movable head to read or write information from the disk. The read/write head moves to the correct position by extending the access arm. Due to the physical nature of HDDs and the magnetic platters that used to store data, the read/write operation can work faster when stored data continuously on the disk compare to store on different parts of the disk. This is because the disk has not enough contiguous space available to store all the data from a file so it needs to spin for different regions of the disk to find other available empty slot in order to store all data. This result in fragmentation of the HDDs, so periodic defragmentation is needed to maintain the performance of the device.
The SSDs provide an immediate boost to the higher speed of the computer because it don't have moving heads and rotating platters, which mean every block is accessible at the same speed, no matter the data are stored right next to each other or in different physical memory chips. So the physical location of the data on the disk does not impact the performance of the SSDs. Reading from and writing data to the SSD is faster as well, so SSD not only reduce the computer wait time for the requests to be serviced, but also increase the effectiveness on read and write data.
Speed of transmission
The data transfer for standard HDD is sequential, in every data transfer section involved seek time, the transfer rate is depend on the file system fragmentation and the position or the layout of the files. For example, it can read 126MB per second but in order to start reading the disk must turn to the correct position of the disc for the head to read the correct sectors. This operation will take an additional 4.2ms seek time for every move.
The standard SSD can perform the higher transmission speed compare to HDD is because SSD has no mechanical parts to move and it is randomly access to the data. Because the physical location of data is irrelevant to when and what the data you want to read so it can always read the same data with the same speed. From the research found that the SSD can read 170MB per second. The only factor that will keeping the speed down is the connection between the SSD and the Motherboard, so a SATA3 connection is highly recommended.
Risk of data corruption (bad sector)
The reading head of HDD can touch the disk while it spins and it will scratch the surface. This will make the device sector damaged and lost. This situation knows as "Bad Sectors" in the disc scan report. Bad Sectors will occur very obviously when perform a vibration resistance test while playing a video.
In fact, for a SSD driver is content no moving mechanical part, so it won't create any bad sector on the disc, it has minimized the risk of data corruption. But the only limitation for the SSD is the lifetime of the Flash chips, which is about 1,200,000 work hours or equivalent to 1.36 century.
In short, the HDDs have the higher risk of data corruption compare to SSDs.
For other comparison is that HDD disk will produce noise when the platters spin fast. For a smaller size HDD will produce less noise than a larger size HDD. But SSD do not make noise when operating because its integrated circuit has no moving part.
Also, because SSD has no moving mechanical part, so the heat produce by SSD is much lesser than HDD. HDD produce heat only when the spin motion of the disk, especially when more workload it takes at the same time it will hotter than usual. Sometimes when the temperature of the device is too hot, the laptop automatically shut down and some important data might be lost and the machine may behave abnormal after shut down.
For weight and power consumption, SSD wins again because it only has the memory chip but not the spinning disk and read/write head. SSD is an ideal to who want their laptop or notebook become lighter. SSD consume less power compare to HDD because SSD does not require power for the platters to spin because it even doesn't have one. For example, SSD only take 1 to 2W while reading or writing but the HDD takes 10 to 30W still depending on the RPMs, the higher the RPMs is the more power the HDD consume.
Lastly, when consider about the price for this 2 products, HDD is much cheaper and commonly with more capacity on the memory compare to SSD. Whereas hard drives are around $0.10 per gigabyte for 3.5", or $0.20 for 2.5", a typical flash SSD is $2 per gigabyte.
The current ICT products that utilize SSD
A 3.5 inch portable hard disk is one of the SSD that widely use today, it have a huge storage which capacities can up to 1.6TB. It is small in size and easy to bring out door and can transfer any data you want at anywhere from other devices that has a USB port like your friend's laptop, cyber cafe, and other else. SSD portable hard disk is much lighter than HDD but is more expensive than HDD. For an example, the portable SSD have more reliability. Because it don't have the moving part inside, so when the SSD drop on the floor, the data inside the hard disk won't so easy to corrupt and also the device won't so easy to spoil. If the standards HDD drop on the floor, the risk that the device spoil or data corrupt will be very high.
Memory card for cell phone, digital camera, gaming device, global positioning system (GPS) are also using the technology of SSD to store data. Due to the size of the devices above, the standard SSD is too large and cannot fit into the device, so manufactures have to take out only the memory chip and redesign the size to suit into the devices. Compare to the SSD, memory cards are much smaller. SSD and memory cards both apply the same technology, but they are very different products. Both of them are made for different purpose and due to their difference of purpose, their performance, capacity, speed of transfer and power consumption are different also.
Laptop is the most common product that using the SSD. Compare to those laptops that using HDD, the laptop that using HDD is cheaper and capacities are larger. Laptop with SSD drive is design for those people that require high performance or longer battery life device. For example as a computer game player, they need their computer fast enough to response the action in the game without any delay. The performance is very important especially when they are playing the online game, is there have any delay while they are playing a battle in the game, a small delay can cause them lose the game. Another example is for the people that because of working demand, they have to take flight to travel a lot between the countries. Because sometimes they need to work while they on the flight, so they need the longest battery life in order to let them do some documentation on the plane.
The future application of SSD
For the future application of SSD, the consumers expect to see more SSDs embedded directly on computer motherboards, provide in higher capacities for storage, and with greater speeds for read/write operations. SSDs will likely become faster and larger with cheaper compare to traditional hard drives sometime in the next decade, at that time the spinning platters will facing the problem of obsolete. We will also see new forms of SSD storage media, such asÂ phase change memory, which can potentially offer greater capacity, speed, and durability than current flash technology can.
As the technology of SSD is keep upgrading, it can benefits a lot of equipment that need a storage device that can provide high speed read/write operation and power save. Many types of equipment can gain a lot of benefits with this kind of high performance SSD. Online game server must have a high performance drive to support and to read/write the data of the player as faster as it can to maintain the smoothness of the server so that every player can enjoy the game without any delay.
SSD also can use in military, for example the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) which use for reconnaissance data, helped monitor forest fires, and penetrated and analyzed volcanic plumes. Because the SSD have high reliability and can prevent the vibration up to maximum 2000Hz, which can prevent data lost if the Unmanned Aircraft crash. If using the standard HDD to record the data it might lost if the crash is occur.
For the banking system, when the database using the SSD to store and retrieve data, the speed of transmission is higher compare to HDD database. But in fact that, the machine of the bank is not moving to anywhere, for examples the ATM, the data that store in HDD won't so easy to corrupt or lost. The only different is that SSD can increase the read/write speed and power save, it is depend on the bank company which they prefer.
In this 2012, the car industry is tend to produce the car that are more automation, for example the new Elantra Avante MD and Audi A6 has the auto parking system which using the sensor system to detect the space that available for the car to park and auto control the car park into the parking slot. Apply with the SSD technology the auto parking system can execute the system faster.
In short, almost every equipments that using this SSD technology will gain benefits from it.