Sure, it holds 500 gigs of movies, music, and data, but the demands of modern computing are starting to make that spinning silver-platter in your typical hard-drive look downright antiquated.
It’s a problem of speed: hard-drives are electro-mechanical in nature, which means that when they read or write data, an armature has to physically move a needle across a rotating platter. This puts the brakes on both operating speed and miniaturization, and has manufacturers racing to launch solid-state hard-drive (SSD) solutions.
Today’s best SSD’s store data uses DDR or Flash memory, but they’re expensive and offer only limited storage capacity — great for MP3 players & digital cameras, but don’t expect to see them in your next PC. However, next-generation products like Fusion-IO’s NAND-based SSD feature near-DDR access speeds and terabytes of capacity — finally giving this technology an opportunity to break into the PC marketplace.
The applications of this technology are far-reaching: solid-state devices are integrated circuits, which allows them to benefit from the same advances in speed and miniaturization currently used in processor development. Also, the near-DDR speeds of SSD devices may soon eliminate the need for computer RAM entirely, giving software developers new options in the way tomorrow’s productivity applications handle memory and store data.