The First SSD

Few realize just how long SSDs have been around.  In fact, Dataram introduced the Bulk Core SSD in 1976.

This 2-megabyte wonder, introduced in 1976, was said to offer speeds 10,000 times those of a fixed-head disk, while reducing power consumption, with no moving parts much like the SSDs of today.

Some may object to my calling this an SSD – and with good reason.  It didn’t use semiconductor memory technology, it used core memory.

Still, core memory was orders of magnitude faster than contemporary HDDs.

Move ahead 35 years to 2011.  The HDDs are smaller than the rack-width unit shown in the ad, as are the SSDs, but both have increased in capacity by 3-4 orders of magnitude, with performance improvements of a couple of orders of magnitude.  The mind boggles at the improvements the next 35 years should bring!

Objective Analysis has a number of reports covering SSDs for sale at

6 thoughts on “The First SSD”

  1. I apologise, but could you give me the specs of the BULK CORE, compared to the modern SSDs, including its dimensions. i.e length, width and height. Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. DarkWing,

      I’m afraid that I don’t have anything about the device except for the advertisement shown in the post’s graphic.

      The physical dimensions would be the width and depth supported by a standard computer rack. You could estimate the height from the photo.


  2. I was at DR in about 1980. Worked on various programs, including the BC-901 bulk memory. The BC-901 has an SMD interface; the 50pin control cable and a 28 pin shielded ‘radial’ data cable. It emulated a CDC hard disk. Originally based on 64K DRAM (NEC, OKI, TI), it was later updated to use 256K parts. It was about a 10 or 12U, 19″ rack.

    1. Interesting question. I don’t know, but would guess that the core memory was made either in the US or in southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines…) A lot of manual labor was done in southeast Asia for electronics in those days. The system was probably assembled in the US, since it was a high-priced item that was produced in small volumes.

      The only moving parts would have been the cooling fans. The bits were stored in core memory.

      Hope that helps,


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