RAM not needed soon??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by John89, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. John89 macrumors regular

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    #1
    RAM is needed to fill in the bottleneck which the HDDs create right? HDDs are too slow to be used by themselves for running an OS or apps.

    So with the introduction of fast SSDs, does anyone think we will start to see systems without RAM? There is no need if we have a fast SSD in our systems.

    I dont know all the ins and outs of the hardware in a computer, but it makes sense right? :confused:

    I could be totally off the ball here lol, se be gentle!

    John
     
  2. DamnDJ macrumors regular

    DamnDJ

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    #2
    No, not at all.

    RAM allows your applications to "breathe" and without it, your system will slow to a crawl. The more RAM, the better. Doesn't matter what kind of Hard Drive you have installed.
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #3
    The amount of RAM you have will allow system files to run smoother and the more you have the better your tasks will be handled. The RAM is only a temporary holding cell for the files your hard drive houses long term. When you launch an application the application is called to the RAM from the hard drive. The faster the drive the faster the application will hit your RAM. The more RAM the better that app will run because it will have "room to breathe" (as DamnDJ said).

    Think about clothing. The less cramped you are in your jeans the better your junk breathes right? Less ram is like wearing skinny jeans. :D
     
  4. Dwalls90 macrumors 601

    Dwalls90

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    Feb 5, 2009
    #4
    No, the OP is somewhat right. Computers use "virtual RAM" in instances in which the RAM is overflowed (lack of RAM), which is space on the hard disk used as RAM. Obviously this has proven to be a hit to performance as the interface and speed of mechanical hard disks was pretty slow until SSD's. That said, Sata 3.0Gb and SSD's aren't as fast as DDR3 RAM, but the gap is certainly closer than before.

    If HD interfaces increase to the bus speed of RAM (which is unlikely), then SSD's will erase the need for RAM (seeing as 'RAM' chips are what comprise SSD's, virtually).
     
  5. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Yes, but there're many types of memory with different speeds... CPU cache is similar to, but much faster than RAM and therefore much more expensive. SSDs built from memory chips similar to RAM in speed (although non-volatile obviously) would be just as expensive as RAM is.

    The idea is good, but exactly because of difference in cost between memory with various latency I think we'll have many levels of it in predictable future.
     
  6. Dwalls90 macrumors 601

    Dwalls90

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    #6
    But the OP's question wasn't really based on cost-efficiency - it was based on "Is it possible?" Who knows what the future holds .. if we are using RAM chips for hard disks now, the latency and performance of the chips in SSD's may approach the same performance benchmarks as the same chips used in L1, L2, ect. cache.

    That said, SSD's, IMO, will slowly replace the need for RAM.
     
  7. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    #7
    SSD's are NOT RAM chips, they are NAND.

    RAM will always be used in systems, they are most times used as scratch and can be written to millions of times more than a SSD can , without ram a ssd would die in a day due to the write need's of programs utilizing the ram.
     
  8. Jisuo macrumors 6502

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    #8
    RAM is about 100,000 times faster than hdd today. So hdd got some cathcing up to do.
     
  9. Dwalls90 macrumors 601

    Dwalls90

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    #9
    NAND can be used as RAM, but not vice versa. It has been done before. RAM may be used for a long time, but I can see what the OP is talking about.
     
  10. paolo- macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 24, 2008
    #10
    From a technological stand-point, if hdd can get as fast as ram, than ram could get as fast as say cpu cache. The idea of having ram just makes a lot of sence, a small amount of more costly but faster memory to put things that are in use into. I wouldn't be surprised if having an ssd drive for the os and apps and a large regular drive to store files into become a norm. I'm fairly sure we aren't reaching the maximum speed possible from digital memory.

    Interesting thing, would apps start instantly if they didn't need to transfered to the ram :S.
     
  11. Dwalls90 macrumors 601

    Dwalls90

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    #11
    +1

    Uhh not true, where did you read this?
     
  12. vanc macrumors 6502

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    Nov 21, 2007
    #12
    NAND could not be used as RAM. Only NOR can. NOR supports XIP (eXcution In Place). So if you store a program in NOR ROM, it can be run directly. But for NAND storage, it has to be loaded into RAM.

    There are new technologies in the LAB. Like some non-volatile memory with the speed of RAM. It's possible RAM or FLASH may eventually replaced by some other technologies. But in a couple of years at least, we don't see the possibility to drop RAM.
     
  13. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    #13
    exactly....
     
  14. kasakka macrumors 68000

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #14
    Unless there is some big change in computer architecture, RAM will be needed for a long time. It's a temporary storage for all kinds of data, from programs themselves to the data they need to store when running. Even when SSDs reach RAM speeds, that kind of temporary storage will be needed. Maybe it'll be part of the hard drive, who knows, but more likely there will simply be RAM that is much faster than the SSDs.

    Personally I can't wait until SSDs are good, big and inexpensive enough that they can truly replace mechanical hard drives.
     
  15. Zenze macrumors newbie

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    Jun 19, 2009
    #15
    Ok I didn't exactly bother to read all the above comments because many were just incorrect.

    While SSDs are faster than other hard drives, they are still orders of magnitude slower than the RAM that you use in your computer.

    Memory can be broken down into two groups, volatile and nonvolatile. Volatile means that the memory will only retain its values while power is supplied, and nonvolitile can maintain is value even when the power is cut off. However, this ability comes at the cost of speed. For example the SDRAM that is used as main memory in your computer is completely volatile, and a standard hard drive is completely nonvolatile.

    There are many middle grounds to this, such as a EPROM, which is fast but not completely nonvolatile as it can only be written to X number of times before it can no longer be written to. A SSD is also a middle ground, it gains speed at the cost of only being able to write to it X number of times. And it is still orders of magnitude slower than RAM. Not to mention your computers can easily write to main memory thousands of times per second, which would quickly wear out the max number of times you can write to a SSD.

    This is why your computer uses RAM as main memory to run the OS and any programs, and uses a HDD/SSD to store files permanently.

    Also, as I saw the topic mentioned above, SSDs use NAND flash memory. Your computers main memory are DRAMs (which uses capacitors). The memory your cpu uses are SRAMs (which use transistors and are the fastest).
     
  16. Dwalls90 macrumors 601

    Dwalls90

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    #16
    And obviously a hybrid of the two is completely out of the picture :rolleyes:
     
  17. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #17
    What? No one's started a "waiting on NRAM" thread yet?
     
  18. apeacock macrumors member

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    #18
    We already have "hybrids" - hard drives (and maybe SSDs, I'm not sure) have caches on them for quicker access. One of the other huge differences are in the busses and addressing - your memory is directly addressable from the CPU (thus the issues with 32 bit processors and > 3.25 GB memory), while the hard drive is on a MUCH slower bus (SATA). That's not to say that someday, in the future (and definitely not soon) the architecture of the computer will be re-engineered in a very different way, but it isn't likely.

    To put things in perspective, DDR3 peaks at 12800 MB/sec (source: wikipedia) while SATA3 peaks at 3000 Mb/sec (or about 375 MB/sec) - that is about 34 times slower, just comparing bus speeds. Latency on RAM is also in the tens of nanosecond range, while even the best SSDs (Spec taken from the Intel X25-E extreme) have a latency of around 75 microseconds - over 5000 times slower (conservative estimate).

    Long story short, the way the modern computer is engineered there will always be need of both extremely high speed volatile memory (RAM) and much much slower permanent memory (hard drives/SSDs)

    Edit: That is a very interesting read on NRAM - not related to the current lineup of SSDs, but will be a tech to watch for the future.
     
  19. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #19
    That is quite possibly the worst, most awesome analogy I have ever heard about RAM.
     
  20. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    It's not only a problem with 32-bit CPU, but 32-bit chipsets (all Core 2 Duos are 64-bit, but before Santa Rosa there was still a limitation on usable RAM).

    I disagree about a need for much slower permanent memory. There's no need for it to be slow, only to be permanent and affordable ;).
     
  21. Zenze macrumors newbie

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    Jun 19, 2009
    #21
    No, there are already hybrids of the 2. As I said above there are many chips that have a combination of pros and cons from volatile and nonvolatile memory (such as EPROMs EEPROMS and flash). Also modern hard drives are a hybrid as they have a cache as well as the actual disk. In fact you could argue that the whole computer is a hybrid of sorts.

    But the 'perfect' memory that has all the pros from both volatile (really fast) and nonvolatile (permanent storage) memory and none of the cons does not exist yet...

    Permanent SRAM (the uberfast/expensive memory used for cpu registers) storage would be epic tho :D
     

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