What Are DRAM-less SSDs?

SSDs without their own RAM are appearing on the market as a way to make the speed of an SSD available at lower prices. But is this tradeoff worth it, and why do SSDs even have RAM, anyway?

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50 thoughts on “What Are DRAM-less SSDs?

  • how do we know if a drive is dram less or not ? and how does one ever in anyway know what technology of lithography is being used in an ssd?, as they do not always mention that !!!! like mlc, tlc or vnand tlc, v nand mlc.. etc.. please someone answer this. my head's gonna explode.. is ther a universal link or a software to verify ?

  • Just canceled a cheap model Sandisk dram-less ssd right before it was about to ship. I am behind the times so I didn't know any better until now. Last time I cheap out.

  • But, I have used plenty of dram less SSD’s and they are still noticeably faster than hard drives. In fact, i couldn’t even till the difference between the two SSD’s. As for the warranty, silicon power products come with 3 year warranty, Adata has a 5 year warranty and so does crucial. Don’t overthink it and don’t overpay.

  • I think you should do a follow-up to this.
    It's one year later, and DRAM-Less SSDs have shown that there are some applications for them. (I was sceptical at first as well, just FYI)
    1. The prices have dropped considerably, e.g. the Crucial BX500 costs about half of what a standard SSD from a reputable brand cost.
    2. If used as a storage drive for something like media the speed difference isn't that significant, since you don't do a lot of random reads & writes
    3. It's still better than any HDD in every aspect except price (faster sequentials and randoms, less power consumption, no noise)
    So If you just want to replace the slow HDD in an older computer, or if you don't have a lot of money, but still want better than HDD performance, go with a DRAM-less SSD
    Reminder: Always buy SSDs from Brands you trust, don't put one of those no name pieces into your system, they often fail very early without warning and you lose your data
    Second reminder: There is no reason not to have a backup!

  • I paid aroud 53 USD for my DRAM-less (it had a 20% discount), TLC NAND 240GB BX500 Crucial SSD (3 year warrenty, 80TBW). I didn't transfer the OS to it yet, but as empty brand new I had decent CrystalBenchmark score. I'll limit it to 75% capacity and limit usage with downloads etc.

    The Samsung Evo DRAM 240GB are at least double the price here in Brazil.

    I don't plan to stay with this SSD for too long too, and with my 1TB HDD with a usage of about 4 years I just wrote to it about 32TB (I use several other drives for torrenting and stuff, but it's my main one)

    For Brazil residents: I bought mine near black friday on http://www.Kabum.com.br

  • Ups…I’ve got a DRAMless ssd…but in the other hand it did cost me only 20£…im upgrading from a regular drive…and THE CHEAPEST SSD WITH DRAM COSTS 50£+!!! Fuck this,im happy with my decision…for now…

    Probably later on when i get money i will switch to a one with DRAM and a large capacity so its even faster

  • I wish i knew this earlier!!
    But in the other hand…the ssd did cost me only 20£…alsi im upgrading from a regular drive…and…THE CHEAPEST DRAM SSD IS 50£+!!!!

  • I tried to see the difference first hand, I got a Kingston A400 240gb SSD & installed it in my Dell Precision M6500.
    It's a 10 year old laptop with a first gen I5 with 8gb of ram. Before I had a SanDisk Extreme SSD that recently failed.

    I figured that this old laptop that doesn't even have SATA III. (It has SATA II) would be just as fine with a cheap SSD.
    Boy was I wrong!

    I can notice a huge difference between the old SanDisk Extreme to this cheap Kingston.
    Like it still better then a mechanical hard drive….
    But ugh….. It really does annoy me!
    It seems like it also gets overwhelmed at times when I have many processes happening at once.
    It's creating a bottleneck on a 10 year old laptop……
    So yeah really proves that SSD's with DRAM is the only option for me moving forward!

  • i just bought sandisk ssd plus 480GB and it's controller is SM2263XT DRAMless. I read tomshardware and it said that 480gb model has DRAM. so It means sandisk change spec again without telling in the sheet. Is this what you expect from top brand?

    Anyway DRAMless SSD is not that bad as this video claims. It is fast enough for consumer. You will not notice the difference in real life usage unless you have a job that has to access several thousands of small files every day. also as already proved in many review site, SM2263XT performance is very very good.
    And about the shorter lifespan, it is nonsense to talk about it. All SSD in market now can last for > 10 years or at least 500TB written. You may upgrade and throw it away before its life ends. Just get the cheapest one with good warranty&service.

  • How do i find out if an SSD doesn't have DRAM. Been looking at newegg and it doesn't list DRAM as a specification for Samsung Evo 860 (I am pretty sure it has DRAM) for example.

    I am thinking about buying a Crucial MX500 2.5" 2TB SATA III 3D NAND for my PS4 now that they don't want top dollar for SSDs keeping 1TB at $300-$350 for 3 years was ridiculous.

  • So basically, DRAM-less SSDs are like unlubed anal. Seems cheap, sounds like a good idea at first, but hurts like hell in practice. Good to know.

  • Hi I have question I just upgrade my pc again lol. But I’m not sure about psu. I have two graphics card 1060 6gb nvidia, other 1080 asus rog strip is ok an psu Corsair 850 + 80 gold ?

  • Surely the drive keeps the index on the nand regardless. DRAM is volatile, and the index needs to be cached every time you power it on. Reads don't 'wear' NAND. I can see how storing the cache in system RAM can add a little latency, but is it that super bad? It seems like these are just 'Lite' drives, designed to be cheaper by removing what they can, including the warranty. I think I'd use one of these over a spinning rust drive any day.

  • The primary benefit use of dynamic ram in a storage drive is caching in and out of the storage whether it is magnetic, optical or solid state is irrelevant.

    SSD maps are always maintained in non-volatile ram. In an SSD with DRAM cache, that map is copied from nvram during startup, and used until an error is detected. Once errors are detected, if the drive does not update the map, performance will degrade

    If read/write speed of non-volatile ram is sufficiently fast to match the processor bus speed then caching isn't needed.

  • Easy to say that in Canada or USA, only $10 the diference, here in Brazil the diference between Sandisk and Samsung is more than R$ 100,00 (more or less $30)… 🙁

  • Dram-less SSD is almost like using an eMMC (embedded MMC, which a lot of mobile devices do to cut costs.. tablets, netbooks, etc). It's just solid-state integrated storage.. but uses the systems external ram and resources to do all mapping, no wear-levelling, etc. Only difference is you can remove a dram-less ssd from a system. eMMC is often glued or soldered in place.. hence "embedded".

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