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MacRumors
Feb 25, 2004, 09:55 AM
CNet reports (http://marketwatch-cnet.com.com/2100-1041_3-5164444.html) that Hitachi is working on an embedded and non-removable version of the 1" Microdrive that is currently used in the iPod Mini.

An embedded version of the drive would trim costs and enable manufacturers to make even more compact designs.

The drive used in the iPod Mini (http://www.ipoding.com/modules.php?set_albumName=album09&id=mini_disect_drive_conn&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_photo.php) is the compact Flash version of Microdrive but there has been little success (http://www.ipodlounge.com/articles_more.php?id=3059_0_8_0_C) in utilizing it outside the Mini itself.

Dippo
Feb 25, 2004, 09:59 AM
Flash version of the Microdrive, I thought it was a hard drive based not flash based?

Edit: Thanks Arn for clearing that up...

~Shard~
Feb 25, 2004, 10:01 AM
Bring on the iPod mini mini!!! :cool:

unc32
Feb 25, 2004, 10:01 AM
It is a harddrive but the connector is the same that is used for compact flash.

redAPPLE
Feb 25, 2004, 10:07 AM
that would be "hitachi". ;)

arn
Feb 25, 2004, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by Dippo
Flash version of the Microdrive, I thought it was a hard drive based not flash based?

Compact Flash is an interface... and doesn't imply Flash Memory itself, though that is what is it is often used with

arn

arn
Feb 25, 2004, 10:08 AM
Note that Hiatchi 4GB drives apparently retail for $600 by themselves.

arn

Photorun
Feb 25, 2004, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by arn
Note that Hiatchi 4GB drives apparently retail for $600 by themselves.

arn

That must be quite a volume discount Apple is getting.

1macker1
Feb 25, 2004, 10:20 AM
I bet they buy in such large volumes, that they get them waaaaaay less that 600 bucks.
Originally posted by Photorun
That must be quite a volume discount Apple is getting.

Grimace
Feb 25, 2004, 10:21 AM
3 inch x 3 inch iPod Micro

...touch screen....:D

cubist
Feb 25, 2004, 10:21 AM
Summarizing comments... Folks ARE having success reformatting the drives, but (a) there is a Creative Labs Mupo that uses a similar drive and is cheaper, and (b) because the drive is 4GB (over 2GB) you have to reformat it FAT32, and most cameras won't work with FAT32 in CF. Because the drive retails for $400 or more, folks are buying Mupos, taking out the drive and selling it on eBay.

Dippo
Feb 25, 2004, 10:33 AM
Originally posted by arn
Note that Hiatchi 4GB drives apparently retail for $600 by themselves.

arn

Why would anyone buy them at that price, just buy mini iPods and rip out the drives :)

stoid
Feb 25, 2004, 10:50 AM
Does the iPod regular use an embedded drive? What size change are we talking about if the mini goes to embedded drive technology? Like 1/16th an inch, or like 1/2 an inch shrinkage?

NeXTCube
Feb 25, 2004, 10:52 AM
The flip side of it is that it means that someone could create a flash-based iPod mini, using one of the Lexar Media 4GB (http://www.lexarmedia.com/digfilm/index_cf.html) flash cards. Be good for longer battery life an shock-resistance.

Gizmotoy
Feb 25, 2004, 10:58 AM
Originally posted by NeXTCube
The flip side of it is that it means that someone could create a flash-based iPod mini, using one of the Lexar Media 4GB (http://www.lexarmedia.com/digfilm/index_cf.html) flash cards. Be good for longer battery life an shock-resistance.

That's the first thing I thought of when I first saw the pictures of the mini ripped apart. The CF interface is still intact, and the hard drive doesn't have a buffer (it uses the mini's built-in memory instead of on-drive memory), so theoretically you could pop a large CF flash card in there.

Although, from what I've read the Hitachi drive is particularly good at handling long runs (45mins+), even when placed on the belt clip... so it may not even be worth the trouble and expense.

Analog Kid
Feb 25, 2004, 11:11 AM
I suspect this could also make the iPod mini marginally cheaper by eliminating the Compact Flash connector and controller overhead. Probably not a big difference, but something...

splashman
Feb 25, 2004, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by 1macker1
I bet they buy in such large volumes, that they get them waaaaaay less that 600 bucks.

Considering that Apple sells the minis for $249, that's a very safe bet. ;)

Self-evident, actually.

Analog Kid
Feb 25, 2004, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by Dippo
Why would anyone buy them at that price, just buy mini iPods and rip out the drives :)

I wouldn't be surprised if that's one of the reasons Hitachi is looking to make an embedded version...

andyduncan
Feb 25, 2004, 11:16 AM
<sarchasm>Yeah, but if they ripped out the interface electronics, they would have to call it a "storage element"</sarchasm>

Hansel USA
Feb 25, 2004, 11:20 AM
Here's an interesting thread on DPReview.com about someone who has (so far unsucessfully) tried to use his ipod mini's hd in his (fat32 enabled) canon slr. Link (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=7757278)

splashman
Feb 25, 2004, 11:26 AM
Originally posted by NeXTCube
The flip side of it is that it means that someone could create a flash-based iPod mini, using one of the Lexar Media 4GB (http://www.lexarmedia.com/digfilm/index_cf.html) flash cards. Be good for longer battery life an shock-resistance.

Ouch. You make an excellent observation, but for all those whining about the cost of the mini, this isn't going to help. :)

Here's a silly money-making idea. Buy a pallet of minis, rip out the HDs, and sell them for $400 each, which is two-thirds of Hitachi's price. Then put a 1 GB flash card ($170) in the mini, and sell it for $200 as the slickest flash-based player on the market. You would net $180 per unit, which would cover labor and profit.

Who's in? ;)

mrsebastian
Feb 25, 2004, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by splashman
Ouch. You make an excellent observation, but for all those whining about the cost of the mini, this isn't going to help. :)

Here's a silly money-making idea. Buy a pallet of minis, rip out the HDs, and sell them for $400 each, which is two-thirds of Hitachi's price. Then put a 1 GB flash card ($170) in the mini, and sell it for $200 as the slickest flash-based player on the market. You would net $180 per unit, which would cover labor and profit.

Who's in? ;)


i'm in ;)

gothamac
Feb 25, 2004, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by Dippo
Why would anyone buy them at that price, just buy mini iPods and rip out the drives :)

I believe that's called murder.

sethypoo
Feb 25, 2004, 11:56 AM
Originally posted by ~Shard~
Bring on the iPod mini mini!!! :cool:

Or should it be called the mini iPod mini?

:D

sethypoo
Feb 25, 2004, 12:00 PM
Originally posted by splashman
Ouch. You make an excellent observation, but for all those whining about the cost of the mini, this isn't going to help. :)

Here's a silly money-making idea. Buy a pallet of minis, rip out the HDs, and sell them for $400 each, which is two-thirds of Hitachi's price. Then put a 1 GB flash card ($170) in the mini, and sell it for $200 as the slickest flash-based player on the market. You would net $180 per unit, which would cover labor and profit.

Who's in? ;)

Interesting idea, but it wouldn't quite work. First off, you'd have to spend a fortune just getting certified so you know how to wire the thing, and then you'd have to worry about hooking up the battery to you flash card, not to mention having to re-work the interface so it'll accept the smalelr 1GB capacity.
You'd also have to find enough people to buy useless 4GB drive ripped out of all those iPod mini's. They have no really feasable use, since they are without cases and probably have weird, propriatary interfaces.
Nice idea though.

Gizmotoy
Feb 25, 2004, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by sethypoo
Interesting idea, but it wouldn't quite work. First off, you'd have to spend a fortune just getting certified so you know how to wire the thing, and then you'd have to worry about hooking up the battery to you flash card, not to mention having to re-work the interface so it'll accept the smalelr 1GB capacity.

The whole point is that there is no wiring requried. The CF interface is right there... out with the Hitachi, in with a flash card. They definately don't need to be hooked up to the battery (I'm not even sure where that came from. Neither does the Hitachi.). If the mini's OS is fairly robust it would have some means of measuring free space on the drive, which is all you really need. Really, that's the only valid concern of those you listed.

Anonymous Freak
Feb 25, 2004, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by sethypoo
Interesting idea, but it wouldn't quite work. First off, you'd have to spend a fortune just getting certified so you know how to wire the thing, and then you'd have to worry about hooking up the battery to you flash card, not to mention having to re-work the interface so it'll accept the smalelr 1GB capacity.
You'd also have to find enough people to buy useless 4GB drive ripped out of all those iPod mini's. They have no really feasable use, since they are without cases and probably have weird, propriatary interfaces.
Nice idea though.

Um, no.

The whole point of this article is that the iPod mini's hard drive is a STANDARD Compact Flash Hitachi MicroDrive. A drive that sells for over $500 new. (Lots of people do in fact use them, largely in digital cameras.)

The trick is, most people that have tried this (that I've seen,) haven't been able to get the iPod mini to use ANY other Compact Flash cards, and they haven't gotten any digital cameras to use the iPod mini's card.

(Clarification: "Compact Flash" is the name of a standard computer interface. Many digital cameras use this interface, as do lots of PDAs. "Compact Flash" is the name of the interface, and does not, by itself, imply flash memory. It was originally designed for flash memory cards, but since then, other devices have come out, such as the MicroDrive, which is a real hard drive. Other things, such as WiFi cards, bluetooth cards, modems, ethernet, and more, are also available. So, the iPod mini uses this perfectly standard Compact Flash interface to attach its hard drive. Heck, if someone really felt like doing some serious hacking, they might be able to get a Compact Flash WiFi card working, so your iPod mini just streams audio from your desktop! But this would require a complete rewrite of the iPod's OS, so I doubt this is something that will actually be reasonably possible.)

usarioclave
Feb 25, 2004, 12:54 PM
Maybe all they need to do is stick the hitachi into a PC, then format it as fat32?

no card reader is going to understand an HFS filesystem, period. But formatting the card as fat32 (on a windows machine) should work.

AidenShaw
Feb 25, 2004, 12:58 PM
Originally posted by ehurtley
Clarification: "Compact Flash" is the name of a standard computer interface.

Basically, the "Compact Flash" connector is very close to a PCMCIA connection. (Have you seen the "CF to PC Card" adapters - those are passive gender changers that connect the 50 pin CF card to the 68 pin PCMCIA interface.)

The CF cards (flash and I assume MicroDrive) appear to the host as an IDE controller and single drive.

Thinking of the CF connector as a "PC Card" connector also makes it easy to understand how "CF 802.11b", "CF Bluetooth", and other devices can use the CF connector. A more-or-less standard PC Card driver would work for these devices.

Perhaps the problems getting the Ipod Mini drive to work means that the Ipod isn't "real" CF, and the Ipod's MicroDrive isn't a IDE device.... That would also explain why IDE-format flash cards won't work in the Ipod.

ph8te
Feb 25, 2004, 01:56 PM
The Mini isn't even on sale yet for a week and already there are some guys taking the thing apart and attempting to modify it.

What's next, you buy a Porsche, rip out the engine and throw the rest away?

Hansel USA
Feb 25, 2004, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by ph8te
The Mini isn't even on sale yet for a week and already there are some guys taking the thing apart and attempting to modify it.

What's next, you buy a Porsche, rip out the engine and throw the rest away?

If there's an engine worth $60,000 to me (or someone I could sell it to) in a $25,000 Porsche, then I would buy it & sell or use the engine. For kicks I would put the chassis up on blocks in my front yard.

andyduncan
Feb 25, 2004, 03:19 PM
Not to kill anyone's entreprenuerial spirit, but these things are going for about $250-$280 on ebay right now. So making a profit on the swap might be difficult.

greenstork
Feb 25, 2004, 03:20 PM
Originally posted by Hansel USA
If there's an engine worth $60,000 to me (or someone I could sell it to) in a $25,000 Porsche, then I would buy it & sell or use the engine. For kicks I would put the chassis up on blocks in my front yard.

Exactly, in classic stock market terms, it's called an arbitrage opportunity.

splashman
Feb 25, 2004, 03:39 PM
Originally posted by sethypoo
Interesting idea, but it wouldn't quite work. First off, you'd have to spend a fortune just getting certified so you know how to wire the thing, and then you'd have to worry about hooking up the battery to you flash card, not to mention having to re-work the interface so it'll accept the smalelr 1GB capacity.
You'd also have to find enough people to buy useless 4GB drive ripped out of all those iPod mini's. They have no really feasable use, since they are without cases and probably have weird, propriatary interfaces.
Nice idea though.

Okay, which part of "silly money-making idea" was confusing to you?

Seriously, all you people who are taking time to shoot holes in my admittedly silly idea need to chill out.

johnpaul191
Feb 25, 2004, 05:22 PM
i actually read some guys blog a few weeks ago where he was overseas and needed a microdrive for his camera. he knew there was some (non-apple so calm down) MP3 player that had a compatible drive and they were chaper than the standalone memore cards. he pulled the thing for his camera and later put in a smaller one (after he got home). his camera was happy enough to reformat the drive and all was good.

yeah i don't remember links and it wasn't an ipod, but the point it that it might work out the same. if nothing else this might make your ipod and ipod mini that much more upgradable in the future (for the brave hackers out there).

ryanw
Feb 25, 2004, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by usarioclave
Maybe all they need to do is stick the hitachi into a PC, then format it as fat32?

no card reader is going to understand an HFS filesystem, period. But formatting the card as fat32 (on a windows machine) should work.
Wouldn't iTunes for Windows do this?

fabsgwu
Feb 25, 2004, 09:50 PM
Great, that will mean higher capacity iPod mini's. Bring on the 8Gb version.

AidenShaw
Feb 25, 2004, 11:21 PM
Originally posted by ryanw
Wouldn't iTunes for Windows do this? (FAT32 format)


Windows will do it quite easily....

Itunes for Windows could do it as well - the Win32 API to reformat is available and easy to use. Itunes wouldn't need to understand FAT32 or how to format, a simple call to the O/S is all that would be needed.

Not sure why it would bother though - it's a rather unusual task that's already handled by Explorer (the "Finder"). Don't see why any application would really need to add code to duplicate what's already available in Explorer....

SPG
Feb 26, 2004, 12:45 PM
What I'm waiting for is the full cellphone/ipod/camera with a 2GB or better storage in a super compact size. And yes it's possible, maybe even this year.

Petrus
Feb 26, 2004, 01:35 PM
why would you spend $250 on an ipod when you can get a nomad muvo with the EXACT same hard drive for $200....
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001BXCFS/ref%3Dnosim/brianruthshom-20/002-2392948-1289661

neon
Feb 26, 2004, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by Petrus
why would you spend $250 on an ipod when you can get a nomad muvo with the EXACT same hard drive for $200....
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001BXCFS/ref%3Dnosim/brianruthshom-20/002-2392948-1289661 is that a serious question?

Petrus
Feb 26, 2004, 04:01 PM
Originally posted by neon
is that a serious question?
Dont' forget, we're talking about ripping out the micro drives...not the actual mp3 player....

peanut_man
Feb 27, 2004, 09:43 AM
Originally posted by Petrus
why would you spend $250 on an ipod when you can get a nomad muvo with the EXACT same hard drive for $200....
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001BXCFS/ref%3Dnosim/brianruthshom-20/002-2392948-1289661

Very simple: That muvo is unavailable nation wide in the USA. No store (BM or online) has them in stock. I believe they are selling like hot cake world wide because it's well known how you can rip out the 4GB CF and use it in a digital cam. Besides *IF* you can successfully install a 1GB CF micro drive on the iPod mini, you will have spankingly cool MP3 player to boot! :D Way cooler than the muvo, and justifying the $50 diff (for me at least).

Also, there is at least one successful report on ripping out a 4GB CF and use it in a digital camera and then installing a 1GB CF on the MP3 player. This has been done on the Creative Lab's MuVo2, however, which cannot be found anywhere in the US right now. I do not know if anyone has perform the similar thing w/ an iPod mini. Here's the link:

http://www.andymack.com/mylog/archive_2004-m01.html

enjoy

peanut_man
Feb 27, 2004, 10:04 AM
Originally posted by ph8te
What's next, you buy a Porsche, rip out the engine and throw the rest away?

Yes, if you can sell the engine for more money than the entire Porsche itself! :)