SSD's, Controllers, TLC, and DRAM - as clear as mud

Discussion in 'Computer Memory and Hard Drives' started by OmniDyne, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. OmniDyne

    OmniDyne Active Member

    I'm posting this because I believe there could be an opportunity for Computer Forum to better serve members and visitors when it comes to purchasing an SSD.

    Around a year ago, I purchased a Sandisk SSD. I did what I thought was enough research, and was lucky enough to choose an SSD with MLC based flash, because I figured as long as I went that route, I should be fine. I was only partially correct. This SSD does not contain DRAM cache, but luckily has a decent enough memory controller (SM2246XT) that the drive should far outlast its warranty. Many others aren't so lucky.

    Although CF has a guide on SSD's and touches lightly on MLC in a sticky guide, there's still a lot of confusion about TLC versus MLC flash, why it matters, and why it also doesn't matter.

    This user explains perfectly and in short what DRAM cache is and why it's important.

    Interestingly, because the market is so saturated now, manufacturers are trying out all kinds of different methods when they produce an SSD. DRAM cache; DRAM-less; the newer DRAM-less SM2263XT HMB controller drives (far superior to DRAM-less), 2D NAND, 3D NAND, etc.

    In some cases, a drive that contains TLC 2D NAND flash may actually be the far better option than a drive with MLC 3D NAND flash, despite being the same price. This is because the TLC drive may contain DRAM cache and a superior controller, and the MLC drive may contain no DRAM and an older/ obsolete controller. This again is explained here:


    All of the above information doesn't even touch on M.2 and NVMe drives.

    Because CF has an incredibly clean and bold layout, I think a sticky post with all of this information correctly mapped and labeled would help greatly. I understand that this topic has been hit by Toms's Hardware, Anandtech and the likes, they can't exactly execute as well as I think this forum sometimes can.
    Darren and _Kyle_ like this.
  2. Darren

    Darren Moderator Staff Member

    If you're looking to do a more formal write up (and lose the reddit links, just give credit to the user and reiterate here) then we could probably get this stickied per mod approval. This is something I really don't know a ton about and would be interested to see what you could come up with.

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