CRAM

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CRAM

(1) (Chalcogenide RAM) See phase change memory.

(2) (Card Random Access Memory) An early magnetic card mass storage device from NCR that was made available on its 315 computer systems in 1962. It offered reasonably reliable random access storage at a time when magnetic tapes with sequential access were the primary storage medium.

A Mechanical Wonder
CRAM used a removable cartridge housing a deck of 3x14" cards with a magnetic recording surface. There were initially 256, and later 512, cards in the deck, providing 5.5MB and 11MB of storage. With a roomful of 16 units connected to the computer, the total storage capacity was 176 megabytes, a rather large amount of random access capacity for that era.

With air blowing over them to keep them apart, the notched cards were suspended from eight rods that were selectively moved to release a specific card. The card was dropped and wrapped around a rotating drum using air pressure. After reading or writing, it was returned to the cartridge. Every once in a while, two cards dropped at the same time, causing a loud halt to the operation. See RACE and Data Cell.


CRAM Units
NCR's CRAM was a successful addition to its computer line, offering reliable random access during the 1960s. By the end of the decade, magnetic disks were becoming mainstream. (Image courtesy of NCR Corporation.)







The Card Drop
Separated by jets of air so the card could fall freely, a card was released to the read/write head by moving the rods. (Image courtesy of NCR Corporation.)
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in classic literature ?
I was almost choked with the filthy stuff the monkey had crammed down my throat: but my dear little nurse picked it out of my mouth with a small needle, and then I fell a-vomiting, which gave me great relief.
It was Miss Briggs and little Rawdon, whose business it was to see to the inward renovation of Sir Pitt's house, to superintend the female band engaged in stitching the blinds and hangings, to poke and rummage in the drawers and cupboards crammed with the dirty relics and congregated trumperies of a couple of generations of Lady Crawleys, and to take inventories of the china, the glass, and other properties in the closets and store-rooms.
She was taught most that is suitable for a gentlewoman, without being crammed with superfluous accomplishments, and, aided by the good cure, a man who remembered her grandfather, had both polished and stored her mind.
They loaded their spits, therefore, and crammed their camp kettle with meat, and while the wind whistled, and the snow whirled around them, huddled round a rousing fire, basked in its warmth, and comforted both soul and body with a hearty and invigorating meal.