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Apr 12, 2001
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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.

Prices for NAND flash memory chips are projected to crater this year, tumbling by a whopping 65 percent and prompting whispers that this once high-margin technology could soon become a nearly free commodity.

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:

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
 

OwlsAndApples

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2006
513
0
UK
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...).
 

Maccus Aurelius

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2006
542
0
Brooklyn, NY
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.
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
2,016
Sounds like this could really alter the computing landscape.....and open up all sorts of possibilities down the road....

Bob
 

zblaxberg

Guest
Jan 22, 2007
873
0
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?

tdk_flash_1.jpg


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?
 

wavelayer

macrumors member
May 17, 2005
91
0
I like the idea of no moving parts. I mean, there are no moving parts in flash drives right?
 

zblaxberg

Guest
Jan 22, 2007
873
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I like the idea of no moving parts. I mean, there are no moving parts in flash drives right?

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
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,872
4,878
Does anyone know if there a speed increase with flash hds?

"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"
 

Mr. Amiga500

macrumors regular
Jan 19, 2007
112
0
Canada
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.

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.
 

belovedmonster

macrumors regular
May 11, 2005
166
0
Harddrives are fast becoming the bottleneck in a modern computer so the sooner we have this faster harddrive technology the better.
 

StuPidQPid

macrumors member
Jan 12, 2006
53
22
Tucson, AZ
From SanDisk article: "Alan Niebel, CEO of Web-Feet Research, has noted, prices for flash drives have actually dropped by nearly 50 percent from a year ago."

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...
 

orbital

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2006
82
0
Harddrives are fast becoming the bottleneck in a modern computer so the sooner we have this faster harddrive technology the better.

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.
 

Maccus Aurelius

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2006
542
0
Brooklyn, NY
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.

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.
 

aswitcher

macrumors 603
Oct 8, 2003
5,338
14
Canberra OZ
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.
 

guzhogi

macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
3,335
1,287
Wherever my feet take me…
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?
 

Rocketman

macrumors 603
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
 

tilman

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2006
126
0
"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"

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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