Memory Devices - Driving Your Digital Lifestyle

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

When getting our computer system updated or enhanced, most of us know that increasing the RAM is an important element in enhancing the performance. However, most of us also confuse RAM with the flash memory or hard disk. RAM or random access memory is the volatile memory of the computer that holds data temporarily. On the other hand, hard disk is the means of non-volatile storage. RAM works to store and make accessible frequently used data and active files so that computer processing speed is increased. Ram loses all the data if the system is not shut down properly.

RAMOne of the very first forms of RAM sticks came to view in 1946 which stored data as charged spots on a cathode ray tube. Next development in RAM came in 1970 with the invention of magnetic core memory. It used magnetized rings to store data; each ring stored one bit of memory. This was the time when Intel had already launched its first semiconductor memory slot, the 3101 Shottky bipolar memory, “a 64-bit high-speed static random access memory (RAM).” Then came the dynamic random access memory which enhanced the memory density but made it even more nonvolatile.

With modern advancement in technology, computer experts were able to develop small integrated circuits of RAM that provided high memory in compact circuits. Currently, RAMs are being developed which will be nonvolatile and would be able to store data even when the power is down. Technologies like carbon nanotube and magnetic tunnel effect are being used to develop the next generation RAM. With super high speed computer systems we use today which have several GBs of RAM, It is fascinating, and hard to imagine, that only forty years ago a few bits of memory was considered sufficient.

Modern type of RAM slots which are under development will, to a great extent, reduce the difference between volatile and nonvolatile memory. Unlike RAM, a nonvolatile memory does not depend on power supply to store data. Hard disk, invented in 1950s by IBM, is an example of nonvolatile memory. Hard disk has come a long way from being a mere 5MB 50 years ago to 4 Terabytes today.

A third form of computer memory, application of which has also extended to mobile phones, cameras and iPods too, is the removable media or flash memory devices. SD Card

Different types of flash memory devices include Secure Digital storage cards, Compact Flash storage cards, USB Flash memory, memory stick, micro SD storage cards, smart media card and multimedia cards.

The CF card is almost the size of a matchbox, while the SD cards are the same size as a postage stamp. These cards are portable and light weight. They can hold hundreds of data files in them for a very long time. They provide the convenience of immediate accessibility and for this reason they are getting increasingly popular among consumers. The storage capacity of a typical SD card ranges from 512MB to 8GB, though 32GB cards are also available. Prices vary according to the storage capacities.

Memory CardAlso known as Trans Flash, the micro SD cards are replacing all other forms of cards as they are much smaller in size (15.0×11.0×1.0 mm) and compatible with almost all the devices. In addition to this, they also consume less power. The micro SD cards are the smallest media available today. These cards are usually used with devices having card slots but, however, USB card reader jackets can be used to make them work with older devices not built with card slots.
Memory cards became common when mobile phone and digital camera technologies evolved. The built in storage in these devices used to be quite low so in order to compensate the storage needs of millions of consumers, memory cards were developed. These cards are used in laptops, mobile, notebooks, iPads as well as digital cameras too.

SD cards were introduced before micro or mini cards. One of the first manufacturers that introduced micro SD card to the market was SanDisk.  Currently, the most commonly used brands in micro SD cards are SanDisk, Kingston, Transcend and PNY. These brands offer reliable storage capacities of 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB.

Future belongs to compact and light weight memory storage devices and who knows by the next thirty years we might have high speed terabytes storage available in cards the size of sugar cubes.

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