Flash Memory and Apple iPods and Laptops

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]

    An increasing number of reports are pointing to Apple using more Flash memory in various components in the near future.

    Rumors of all flash iPods and flash-booting laptops have been circulating for months. These rumors are reinforced by predictions that Flash memory prices are expected to tumble this year.

    Nearly free may be overstating it, but it appears the market is gaining momentum. SanDisk just introduced a 2.5" 32-gigabyte SATA solid state (Flash) drive for $350, and expects prices to drop as consumer adoption increases.

    Advantages for consumers include performance and battery life:

     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    OwlsAndApples

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    #2
    But can't flash only be written a finite number of times? Or is that just fear-mongering? Other than that though, it's much better than HD...(apart from the cost...for now...).
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Maccus Aurelius

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    #3
    I'm sure eventually flash will attain a service life equal to or greater than current hard disks. I'm very happy with hard drives now though since they offer excellent lifespans, great capacity for the steadily lowering prices and better durability. My iMac is pushing 7 years and it has the same hard drive since it's acquisition. I have yet to see it lag or even so much as make funny noises. As nice as flash drives may be, until the tech gets better and cheaper I'm very happy with the current standard.
     
  4. macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

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    #4
    Sounds like this could really alter the computing landscape.....and open up all sorts of possibilities down the road....

    Bob
     
  5. Guest

    zblaxberg

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    yea I think these flash drives can't be written nearly as much as a regular hard drive but i'm not a pro on this so maybe someone else can answer that...I'm curious as to how the system will be setup with this kind of memory...would we have something like a 2.33ghz macbook pro but with 2gb of ram and then 100gb of flash memory as the hdd?

    [​IMG]

    Would this be what apple is placing in their new computers?
    What are the benefits? What's the downside? and how much faster is it than a regular 32gb 7200rpm hdd?
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    #6
    As Long As They Can Keep The Price At 25¢/GB I'm In

    I lik emy HDs @ 25¢/GB. If it's a dollar I guess that's fair to begin with. But I'd still want a big one in my laptop - like 200GB or more.
     
  7. macrumors member

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    #7
    I like the idea of no moving parts. I mean, there are no moving parts in flash drives right?
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    OwlsAndApples

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    #8
    Yeah, that's the best part of flash memory in my opinion.
     
  9. Guest

    zblaxberg

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    #9
    correct, if a nano were to be dropped, it would have less chance of being screwed up than an ipod video because it doesn't have a hard drive, it just has flash memory
     
  10. Retired

    psychofreak

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    #10
    Right
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

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    #11
    If its as easy to remove/upgrade as norrmal RAM i don't see a problem.
     
  12. macrumors member

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    speeeed

    Does anyone know if there a speed increase with flash hds?
     
  13. arn
    macrumors god

    arn

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    "Performance wise, SanDisk's new 2.5-inch SSD can move data to and from the SSD more than 100 times faster than a traditional drive, according to the company. It also will have a sustained read rate of 67 megabytes/sec and a random read rate of 7,000 inputs/outputs per second (IOPS) for a 512-byte transfer"
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Mr. Amiga500

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    #14
    Well, you've been lucky. I've had about five 2.5" harddrives fail since 2001. My 2.5" harddrive from 1993 still works fine, but modern harddrives seem to be designed to last 18 months or less before they start clonking, squealing and getting read errors.

    I've been waiting for somebody to solve the limited write problem in flash. Once that has been solved, flash will be the way to go. Flash runs cool and has no moving parts, making it theoretically much more reliable than harddrives.
     
  15. macrumors regular

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    #15
    Harddrives are fast becoming the bottleneck in a modern computer so the sooner we have this faster harddrive technology the better.
     
  16. macrumors member

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    #16
    Wow. And how much have the prices of iPod nano dropped in the last six months? If flash memory has dropped at the same rate, then the nano must be a nice little earner for Apple...
     
  17. macrumors member

    orbital

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    #17
    I think that has been for quite a while now. Especially in the video editing realm of things. Hell on a new macbook i still can't play the same compressed HD files that I can play on my old g4 1.3ghz or my new G5 quad.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Maccus Aurelius

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    #18
    The limits on writing is what I'm concerned about since I do a lot of heavy file transfers all the time. When it gets to the point where they can be relied on this task as much as HDD's or better I'll jump on them in a second.
     
  19. macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #19
    Hybrids and dual drives would be a good start.

    OS on 4 or 8 GB of flash with a real HDD available as well.

    Superquick boot times, key programs almost instantly available, whilst bulk data like movies, music etc sits on the larger spinning hdd.
     
  20. cgc
    macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    How do i delete a post?
     
  21. cgc
    macrumors 6502a

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    Except for the windshield wipers...:D
     
  22. macrumors 68020

    guzhogi

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    #22
    Like any piece of technology, there are good things, bad things, and things that depend on individual preference. No moving parts is a good thing, cost/GB is bad compared to hard drives. As some have said, Apple would probably to a hybrid thing with both flash & hard drives until flash becomes as cheap as hard drives.

    One thing I'd like to know is how the power consumption compares between flash & hard drives. Flash probably needs less power, but what are the hard numbers?
     
  23. macrumors 603

    Rocketman

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    #23
    Going through the Sandisk website the ($350) 2.5" device uses SATA (like a MacBook) and at 32gb is a step down from current common HD sizes, even on the low end. Same form factor as a HD and more expensive. Many times faster, half the power consumption and not g-force or temperature sensitive.

    The ($550) 1.8" also 32gb indicating it uses later generation memory, and uses UATA not SATA. It could after the cost issue is resolved, replace the lower capacity top line iPod and solve the handling issues some users experience by crashing HD's. iPods do not need the speed, but the battery savings would be substantial.

    Intel also announced products today that are packaged differently, and given the relationship Apple has with Intel and the scale of Intel on chip production, I would predict so see Intel branded devices not Sandisk branded.

    The cost vs ramp-up trends indicates Apple will adopt this technology in narrow bands at first in hopes cost reduction rates exceed adoption rates.

    This confirms something I have been saying since arrival here in 2001. Ramdisk and RAID everything. Raid now being the ZFS save-to disc in this case. But due to recent news, that second drive might be addressed over a 802.11n or 802.16 wireless network and accessable through a Time Machine interface from a Mac or an iPhone or its "product line" derivitives.

    Rocketman
     
  24. macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #24
    So a 64 Gig flashed based iPod is about $1,000?
     
  25. macrumors regular

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    #25
    As always, the devil is in the details. I looked up this product on the Sandisk web site. Page 4 of that document has a nice comparison table, showing how much better various aspects of this Flash drive are compared to a hard disk. Yes, there are a few parameters that are "100x" better, but overall, it's in the 2x range. Vista boot time is 1.5x faster, and Windows XP boot time is 2.5x faster. But the comparison uses a 1.8" hard disk. 1.8" hard disk aren't exactly known for good performance.
     

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