Switching from "normal" HD to flash HD.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by princealfie, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #1
    http://www.flash-memory-store.com/qmemory-flash-laptop-hard-drive-16gb.html

    This looks very promising. Despite the limited writes (which I suspect is overrated anyways) and the lack of 160 GB flash memory, I would love to have this to replace my Powerbooks' current HD's which already suck up a ton of battery life spinning up the platters.

    So what is the extended battery life? I suspect like 2-3 times more? I wouldn't be surprised.
     
  2. D34th macrumors regular

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    #2
    I'm going to give it a few years so the price to switch becomes a little more practical...Thats almost half the price of my machine and is only 16GB...But yeah, it would definitely save some battery life.
     
  3. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #3
    Isn't Flash memory comparatively slow? If so, I couldn't imagine using it as scratch disk or it rivalling some of the faster drives out there.
     
  4. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

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    #4
    Plus there's the matter of the 100,000 R/W cycle lifespan...which is fine, unless you're using it as a swap disk in addition to file storage.
     
  5. princealfie thread starter macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #5
    Actually it's more like 1,000,000 R/W cycles now. In fact, the improvements are incredible.

    The write times are like 20 MB/sec up to 50 MB/sec

    However, the battery life would be awesome especially for word processing and some photo editing like I do.
     
  6. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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    #6
    super expensive is the problem, would discuss it only when price is down to <$1/GB
     
  7. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

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    #7
    It'd have to be a hybrid - with an internal "old-style" hard drive that could be turned off and on as needed. At least until price/GB comes down...
     
  8. princealfie thread starter macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #8
    But if price isn't an issue, then does anyone care about that? :D:rolleyes:
     
  9. spork183 macrumors 6502a

    spork183

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    #9
    like prince said, the R/W cycles are over a million now. Also, the new high speed flash is so much faster than even a year ago. It would seem that a couple of 8gb flash drives could house what is used most frequently, with a perpendicular drive to handle bigger storage. I've heard (can't remember where, may have been popular science, or here...) 3-5 years until we have fully flash based storage in laptops.
     
  10. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

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    #10
    But, in the meantime, standard HDDs will be able to hold far more than flash drives manufacturers can even dream of. It'll be supplemental, not a full replacement.
     
  11. princealfie thread starter macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #11
    But if you are doing mostly word processing then it doesn't matter as much about storage room as battery life.
     
  12. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

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    #12
    They'll have their niches, but for low-end notebooks that are just for word-processing, it would cost far less per GB to use magnetic storage. I can see it becoming an enhanced version of Robson caching in higher-end machines.
     
  13. spork183 macrumors 6502a

    spork183

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    #13
    it seems that for things like optical drive usage, we need movies and software to be put on flash. The drain to watch a DVD would go way down with flash-based content. What's to stop it happening? Cost, availability? Adoption? just musing...
     
  14. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #14
    Modern OS's and programs make extensive use of temp files and swap files, which are written to continuously. Two problems; Flash memory is much slower to write than to read, the linked cmpany plays the usual games - states read speeds not write, and states the ATA-66 interface speed AS IF that's what the drive can actually accomplish. 16.0 MB/s read speed (write is typically half of read). Can you say; 10 times slower than a SATA drive? A Firewire 400 drive regularly gets 40 MB/s read and write.

    Depending on the type of flash memory used, a huge issue is that you cannot erase and update just one bit of data; you have to erase an entire block, and rewrite it, even if you are changing memory at only one address. That is slow.

    And even a million r/w cycles is NOTHING for a primary hard drive, you'd run through that in months, not years. Notice that the company advertises data RETENTION of 10 years; but not a word about how long it will last if you actually USE it.

    4 Gb flash = $99.00. Time to write 4 Gb of data: 8 - 15 minutes
    4.7 Gb DVD = $0.25 Time to stamp DVD in pressing plant: 2 seconds
    All numbers approximate.
     
  15. spork183 macrumors 6502a

    spork183

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    #15
    and that is why I love MR. someone always knows the answers to the questions. thx canadaram!:)
     
  16. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

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    #16
    Hence, Robson caching - the best of both worlds.

    I've never understood, though, why hard drive caches are limited to 16MB - 128MB of RAM is dirt cheap.
     
  17. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

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    #17
    Do something like the P2 cards. a couple of small flash cards working together to make it seem bigger.
     
  18. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

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    #18
    Right, but that still leaves speed and lifespan problems...would RAIDing them be any faster? Or do the reliability issues outweigh the benefits?
     
  19. spork183 macrumors 6502a

    spork183

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  20. princealfie thread starter macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #20
  21. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #21
    DRAM is cheap SRAM is not.

    Not all memory is created equal, but most ram is made from dirt. ;)

    B
     
  22. princealfie thread starter macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #22
    Does that mean Crucial RAM too? I think Sandisk and A-Open are supposed to be good brands eh?
     
  23. thewhitehart macrumors 6502a

    thewhitehart

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  24. princealfie thread starter macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #24
    I can't dream of guessing of what that would incorporate.
     
  25. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #25
    Brand is largely irrelevant, but the functions of Dynamic and Static RAM are quite different. SRAM is faster than DRAM, and doesn't require periodic refreshing, but requires larger more expensive chips.

    Since they're mostly made of Silicon, it's all dirt (well sand) in the end.

    We'll all be using quantum computers in the not too distant future...

    B
     

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