Solid state storage drives based on NAND flash memory provide more performance per pound than DRAM, and will eventually become the "memory of choice" in a new PC. So says a report by Objective Analysis cited on
Researchers at Objective ran 300 benchmarks comparing aspects of system performance. They tested various combinations of DRAM, SSD drives and traditional hard drives for system storage. While they don't conclude that DRAM will vanish any time soon, they do reckon that dollar for dollar, buying an SSD is a much better upgrade for a current PC. That will improve further in SSD's favour as prices drop and drive technology gets faster.
DRAM will still be necessary for the foreseeable future, and the best PCs will use a blend of all three memory types (as they do today). But the amount of DRAM required for top performance is likely to peak and then fall.
That makes sense: many manufacturers are already looking at embedding NAND flash on their motherboards to take advantage of technologies like
Intel's Smart Response Technology
and boost the speed of traditional hard drives.
It's a pertinently timed report for PC Gamer: I'm in the middle of benchmarking a batch of new SSD drives for the next issue. Fun time with read speed benchmarks ahead!