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Apple rumored to feature high-speed 400MBps flash memory in new MacBook Air

post #1 of 101
Thread Starter 
Apple is said to adopt "Toggle DDR 2.0," a 19-nanometer process for NAND flash memory offering 400 megabyte-per-second speed, in its next MacBook Air, according to a new report.

The high-speed NAND flash memory is said to appear in Apple's new MacBook Air, rumored to see an imminent release, according to Macotokara. Citing a person with an "Asian electronics component company," the report said that the new technology will replace the Blade X-gale found in the current MacBook Air models.

The new 19-nanometer flash memory is said to be packaged on a smaller chip, and will be soldered onto the base circuit of the new thin-and-light notebook directly.

The report noted that the Open NAND Flash Interface Working Group, which standardizes NAND flash, has released the ONFi 3.0 specification for 400MBps speeds, but most memory processing companies do not yet offer compatible chips. It said that "Toggle DDR 2.0," which is a standardized procedure from the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, is believed to have been embraced by Apple.

Apple's MacBook Air was made thinner and lighter with a new model released last October that features instant-on capabilities with no hard drive and no optical drive. The ultraportable notebook sports only NAND flash memory for storage.

That storage was initially provided by Toshiba, but later changed to Samsung. The change allowed for read times to be upgraded to 261.1MBps, from 209.8Mbps, while write times were boosted to 209MBps from 175.6MBps.



Rather than relying on traditional 2.5-inch or 1.8-inch SSDs, the new MacBook Air drives utilize a new form factor known as mSATA. After the thinner and lighter MacBook Air was unveiled last year, Toshiba announced its Blade X-gale SSD series, the same hardware found in Apple's thin-and-light notebook.

Apple is said to have built nearly 400,000 of its next-generation MacBook Air last month in preparation for a launch that is expected to occur soon. The anticipated new notebooks are believed to feature Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors, as well as the new high-speed Thunderbolt port.

While new MacBook Air hardware is expected to launch soon, it will not debut until Apple's next-generation operating system is released. AppleInsider was first to report last month that Apple would freeze the introductions of new Mac hardware until Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is released. The "Golden Master" of Lion was released to developers last week.
post #2 of 101
If this memory is soldered directly, does this mean that when it fails one either spends a lot of money to repair the unit or throw it out to buy another one?

Not sure what the expected lifespan of this tech would be but if we're talking two or three years, it's unacceptable to have a $1,000 device that would basically have a three-year lifespan. Not sure about others but I can't afford to drop $1,000+ into a new machine every couple of years.

I can see this sort of scenario playing out with a $300 iPod but not a $1,000 MacBook.
post #3 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

If this memory is soldered directly, does this mean that when it fails one either spends a lot of money to repair the unit or throw it out to buy another one?

Not sure what the expected lifespan of this tech would be but if we're talking two or three years, it's unacceptable to have a $1,000 device that would basically have a three-year lifespan. Not sure about others but I can't afford to drop $1,000+ into a new machine every couple of years.

I can see this sort of scenario playing out with a $300 iPod but not a $1,000 MacBook.

Not sure for this specific technology but SSD's in general are very reliable and have a lifespan of 10+ years

Bottom line, a normal hard drive will fail sooner then an SSD


Wonder if this means there will be higher capacity options available? Like a 512GB air...
post #4 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

If this memory is soldered directly, does this mean that when it fails one either spends a lot of money to repair the unit or throw it out to buy another one?

Not sure what the expected lifespan of this tech would be but if we're talking two or three years, it's unacceptable to have a $1,000 device that would basically have a three-year lifespan. Not sure about others but I can't afford to drop $1,000+ into a new machine every couple of years.

I can see this sort of scenario playing out with a $300 iPod but not a $1,000 MacBook.

Do you expect to do home repairs on your $600 iPhone or iPad? If you need ultraportability then you sacrifice ease of servicing, that's just how it is. If you want something that you can service yourself then'll always be best with a full sized laptop.
post #5 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

If this memory is soldered directly, does this mean that when it fails one either spends a lot of money to repair the unit or throw it out to buy another one?

Not sure what the expected lifespan of this tech would be but if we're talking two or three years, it's unacceptable to have a $1,000 device that would basically have a three-year lifespan. Not sure about others but I can't afford to drop $1,000+ into a new machine every couple of years.

I can see this sort of scenario playing out with a $300 iPod but not a $1,000 MacBook.

Isn't soldering RAM and storage directly to the motherboard what they currently do anyway? Why is this a problem?

I think for the most part Apple has answered this criticism and people ought to know the tradeoffs they're getting by now. You could make the same complaint about an iPad battery being non-removable, except that the batteries tend not to fail (reliability is very very high) and they have much longer lifespans than batteries from even 5 years ago. So why would anyone ever want to replace the battery? It will outlive the product.

Same goes for flash memory soldered to the motherboard. The failure rate on this memory is probably insanely low and has a very long lifespan. Flash memory advances have been staggering in this regard just in the past few years. You don't have to worry about things you used to have to worry about with platter drives like bad sectors or stiction. And if it does get damaged somehow through no fault of your own, Apple traditionally replaces broken parts (or whole motherboards) for free.

I'm pretty sure the lifespan is well beyond 2 or 3 years. That would've been true of Flash memory from a few years back but a lot has changed since then.
post #6 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

If this memory is soldered directly, does this mean that when it fails one either spends a lot of money to repair the unit or throw it out to buy another one?

Not sure what the expected lifespan of this tech would be but if we're talking two or three years, it's unacceptable to have a $1,000 device that would basically have a three-year lifespan. Not sure about others but I can't afford to drop $1,000+ into a new machine every couple of years.

I can see this sort of scenario playing out with a $300 iPod but not a $1,000 MacBook.

By all or almost all indications, flash memory is a lot more durable than the old style drives, so reliability shouldn't be a problem.

I would prefer storage to be upgradable. Upgrading a drive is the #1 thing that I do to breathe new life into a computer.
post #7 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Do you expect to do home repairs on your $600 iPhone or iPad? If you need ultraportability then you sacrifice ease of servicing, that's just how it is. If you want something that you can service yourself then'll always be best with a full sized laptop.

I would take the unit in to be serviced professionally regardless. It's the cost that's the issue. Mainly I was wondering just how reliable SSDs have become and I'm assuming that if you don't have memory that is easily swappable, does that mean the cost of repairing the unit would make it not worth the bother.

Bottom line, a $1,000 piece of electronic equipment better not have a projected lifespan of three years. Not acceptable.

Certainly based on responses so far, my concerns are not well founded. Good to know. I haven't followed the progress being made re SSD reliability, only that it was a concern in the early going.
post #8 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounou View Post

Not sure for this specific technology but SSD's in general are very reliable and have a lifespan of 10+ years

Where did you get that from? Flash is reliable yes, but the lifetime isn't so good. Thats completely false if the drive is written to a lot, SSDs have a limited number of erase/write cycles. Mine is just a year old, and already has 25% of its erase/write cycles consumed. I have virtual memory turned off and write to the drive as little as possible. Turning VM off on a device that could have as little as 2GB RAM isn't practical, and the SSD would be used a lot for swap space.

Unless Apple is using SLC NAND, which is unlikely die to the price, having the NAND chips soldered directly to the logic board would be insane. I think it's unlikely Apple would solder them directly on, as it'd make the cost of replacing the logic board two or three times more expensive.
post #9 of 101
Let's not confuse flash memory (NAND/SSD) with RAM memory. This story seems to focus on the flash memory which is currently on a separate card that connects electronically via SATA but physically to a mini-PCIe slot.
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post #10 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Let's not confuse flash memory (NAND/SSD) with RAM memory. This story seems to focus on the flash memory which is currently on a separate card that connects electronically via SATA but physically to a mini-PCIe slot.

People are talking about this statement in the story: "The new 19-nanometer flash memory is said to be packaged on a smaller chip, and will be soldered onto the base circuit of the new thin-and-light notebook directly."

What I read from that is that there is a 64MB/128MB fast on-motherboard boot/app drive, and there will still be another mSATA SSD available for expansion.
post #11 of 101
Sandy Bridge + 400 MB/s disk + Thunderbolt -- and all in a MBA form factor!
post #12 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Let's not confuse flash memory (NAND/SSD) with RAM memory. This story seems to focus on the flash memory which is currently on a separate card that connects electronically via SATA but physically to a mini-PCIe slot.

Yes but the story says

The new 19-nanometer flash memory is said to be packaged on a smaller chip, and will be soldered onto the base circuit of the new thin-and-light notebook directly.

Which does seem to indicate that flash is being soldered on directly. Still we'll have to wait for the iFixit teardown to see if that's actually the case. It is the case for the iPad though, so it's not inconceivable.
post #13 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

What I read from that is that there is a 64MB/128MB fast on-motherboard boot/app drive, and there will still be another mSATA SSD available for expansion.

Maybe they think Thunderbolt is fast enough for external SSDs, so mSATA not needed?
post #14 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

People are talking about this statement in the story: "The new 19-nanometer flash memory is said to be packaged on a smaller chip, and will be soldered onto the base circuit of the new thin-and-light notebook directly."

What I read from that is that there is a 64MB/128MB fast on-motherboard boot/app drive, and there will still be another mSATA SSD available for expansion.

I'm hoping for the next MBPs to either have on-board NAND + SATA III 2.5" HDD/SSD, or SATA III mini-PCIe card (like in the MBA) + SATA III 2.5" HDD/SSD.

I've been using a similar setup of an SSD for m boot/app drive and a HDD for my Home folder for over a year and still barely use 40GB of my Intel X-25 SSD, which include ≈8.5GB for the sleep image since I have a 8GB RAM in my machine.

From my PoV it's the only way I can see to have performance and high capacity so I would have no problem with Apple putting 64GB on the logic board directly.


PS: Isn't ~/Applications (under the Home folder) new to Lion?
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post #15 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post

Where did you get that from? Flash is reliable yes, but the lifetime isn't so good. Thats completely false if the drive is written to a lot, SSDs have a limited number of erase/write cycles. Mine is just a year old, and already has 25% of its erase/write cycles consumed. I have virtual memory turned off and write to the drive as little as possible. Turning VM off on a device that could have as little as 2GB RAM isn't practical, and the SSD would be used a lot for swap space.

Unless Apple is using SLC NAND, which is unlikely die to the price, having the NAND chips soldered directly to the logic board would be insane. I think it's unlikely Apple would solder them directly on, as it'd make the cost of replacing the logic board two or three times more expensive.

There is a lot of progress on this lately, see the "Memory wear" section here:
Wikipedia - Flash memory.

Besides, there are lot's of strategies for writing, especially regarding virtual memory, and it is very likely that Apple took advantage of these. If the rumor that Apple is holding off the shipment of the new hardware for Lion release is true, there might be a technical reason for that.
post #16 of 101
As usual, most of the comments here are 'glass half empty' criticisms based on unsubstantiated speculation.

I think the bottom-line is that MBAs with Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt are likely to be an insanely desirable pice of technological hotness.All the more if 19-nanometer process gives us 400MBps and 512 Gb of memory.

Will the new MBAs be useless in 3 year's time? I doubt it.
post #17 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by EUiPhoneUser View Post

There is a lot of progress on this lately, see the "Memory wear" section here:
Wikipedia - Flash memory.

Besides, there are lot's of strategies for writing, especially regarding virtual memory, and it is very likely that Apple took advantage of these. If the rumor that Apple is holding off the shipment of the new hardware for Lion release is true, there might be a technical reason for that.

The ultra-high erase count drives are only SLC ones, not much cheaper MLC used in consumer products.

Going on how long (i.e. years) it took Apple to implement TRIM, I wouldn't be so sure they've got anything special going on with the swap space. Even now TRIM is artificially limited to Apple-shipped drives.
post #18 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by EUiPhoneUser View Post

There is a lot of progress on this lately, see the "Memory wear" section here:
Wikipedia - Flash memory.

Besides, there are lot's of strategies for writing, especially regarding virtual memory, and it is very likely that Apple took advantage of these. If the rumor that Apple is holding off the shipment of the new hardware for Lion release is true, there might be a technical reason for that.

There is a lot Apple could do with the file system since they control the HW and OS. I've been waiting for them to make the OS more "intelligent" to know files are best to keep on the (on-board) SSD and what to keep on main storage (HDD/SSD) area. Right now I use a simple built-in system to change my Home directory to a different volume but it's far from what I'd consider to be "intelligent."

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post #19 of 101
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Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

As usual, most of the comments here are 'glass half empty' criticisms based on unsubstantiated speculation.

You don't say!
post #20 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post

The ultra-high erase count drives are only SLC ones, not much cheaper MLC used in consumer products.

Going on how long (i.e. years) it took Apple to implement TRIM, I wouldn't be so sure they've got anything special going on with the swap space. Even now TRIM is artificially limited to Apple-shipped drives.

I can't vouch for it but here is an app that will enable TRIM on non-Apple SSDs.
http://www.groths.org/?p=308
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post #21 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There is a lot Apple could do with the file system since they control the HW and OS. I've been waiting for them to make the OS more "intelligent" to know files are best to keep on the (on-board) SSD and what to keep on main storage (HDD/SSD) area. Right now I use a simple built-in system to change my Home directory to a different volume but it's far from what I'd consider to be "intelligent."

Does anybody do that well yet outside the data-centre SAN market? Even the prosumer HDs that come with an SSD cache component don't seem to offer spectacular performace improvements from what I've seen.
post #22 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post

The ultra-high erase count drives are only SLC ones, not much cheaper MLC used in consumer products.

Going on how long (i.e. years) it took Apple to implement TRIM, I wouldn't be so sure they've got anything special going on with the swap space. Even now TRIM is artificially limited to Apple-shipped drives.

I see, you are much smarter than all Apple engineers combined. They decided to put the FLASH on the main board to make Steve Jobs happy, and none of them was aware that the FLASH memory can wear off so they did nothing about it. Oh, no! Apple is known to sell products that fell apart after 1 year of usage so you are forced to buy a new one!

Let me remind you, we are commenting on rumor here. It may turn out that Apple was just experimenting with such approach, or the rumor is made up just to get more clicks. Apple does make mistakes, but the engineers there are not stupid. If they decided they can put the FLASH on the motherboard, they know what they are doing. Or know better that most (all?) of the folks who commented above.
post #23 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Does anybody do that well yet outside the data-centre SAN market? Even the prosumer HDs that come with an SSD cache component don't seem to offer spectacular performace improvements from what I've seen.

From what I've seen they don't. The fastest notebook setups are based on my model of removing the ODD so you can have a fast SSD and a HDD for high capacity storage. This is why I think it would be brilliant to have on-board NAND for the OS, apps, and other files that would greatly benefit from the fast access it can offer.

I think those hybrid HDDs with NAND cache suffer from a few issues: poor drivers, slow NAND, and SATA II. They might be moderately better than just a HDD, but they seem to be a far cry from my setup, which I'd bet is a far cry from Apple putting the NAND right on the logic board.

People worry about the read/write but we're talking about the OS, apps and other files that aren't changed often. All files that are changed constantly, like data, can be placed on the HDD or SSD. But is that really an issue? So far I haven't' had any issue with my iPods, iPhones or iPads in this regard.
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post #24 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

People worry about the read/write but we're talking about the OS, apps and other files that aren't changed often. All files that are changed constantly, like data, can be placed on the HDD or SSD. But is that really an issue? So far I haven't' had any issue with my iPods, iPhones or iPads in this regard.

There's definitely scope for doing this, though it's complicated because some of the data that would most impact your sense of performance would be rapidly changing. I'm thinking about the databases, iTunes, Searchlight, iPhoto etc. Not the media files themselves, but the DBs. Also things like application persisted state, which sounds like it will be a bigger deal on Lion.

What I mean here is that anything where the seek:read ratio is high would be heavily improved by moving to SSD, or anything where latency will directy impact UI experience.
post #25 of 101
400MB/s is quite rubbish by today's standards. This is an odd article. It's as though it's something special. It's just an indication that the new Sandy Bridge chipsets include SATA 6Gbps. It's actually disappointing to see Apple only provide 400MB/s. They should be providing 520MB/s or better. Also it is the IOPS that are important to, for every day usage. I bet you the IOPS on the SSD they provide are rubbish by today's standards too.

Apple has a history of being behind the times when it comes to SSD's. It seems to me that they are afraid of them. lol. The Xserve (2009) had an SSD which was 2007 technology at best. It was 90MB/s when your 2009 SSD was up to about 225MB/s.

Modern SSD chips do not wear out as much as the earlier ones. Wear is not really huge concern in 2011. They wear about as fast as an LCD TV and no one complains about their lifespan anymore.
post #26 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

There's definitely scope for doing this, though it's complicated because some of the data that would most impact your sense of performance would be rapidly changing. I'm thinking about the databases, iTunes, Searchlight, iPhoto etc. Not the media files themselves, but the DBs. Also things like application persisted state, which sounds like it will be a bigger deal on Lion.

What I mean here is that anything where the seek:read ratio is high would be heavily improved by moving to SSD, or anything where latency will directy impact UI experience.

My iTunes DB files are are all on my HDD but my iTunes app is on my SSD. It opens in 1 second with a single bounce in the Dock. Remember, my setup isn't optimized in the HW or OS.

The iTunes DB files are located in ~/Music/iTunes/ and consist of iTunes Library Extras.itdb (57KB), iTunes Library Genius.itdb (766KB), iTunes Library.itl (865KB), and iTunes Music Library.xml (2.9MB).

I'd expect these files to stay right where they are in terms of file hierarchy and location off the boot partition.
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post #27 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheinside View Post

400MB/s is quite rubbish by today's standards. This is an odd article. It's as though it's something special. It's just an indication that the new Sandy Bridge chipsets include SATA 6Gbps. It's actually disappointing to see Apple only provide 400MB/s. They should be providing 520MB/s or better. Also it is the IOPS that are important to, for every day usage. I bet you the IOPS on the SSD they provide are rubbish by today's standards too.

Apple has a history of being behind the times when it comes to SSD's. It seems to me that they are afraid of them. lol. The Xserve (2009) had an SSD which was 2007 technology at best. It was 90MB/s when your 2009 SSD was up to about 225MB/s.

Modern SSD chips do not wear out as much as the earlier ones. Wear is not really huge concern in 2011. They wear about as fast as an LCD TV and no one complains about their lifespan anymore.

That depends on many factors like longevity of NAND at a certain read/write speed, nanometer process, actual read/write and not synthetic tests but one thing is certain, 400Mbps would be an improvement over their current implementation.
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post #28 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheinside View Post

Apple has a history of being behind the times when it comes to SSD's. It seems to me that they are afraid of them. lol. The Xserve (2009) had an SSD which was 2007 technology at best. It was 90MB/s when your 2009 SSD was up to about 225MB/s.

This is much closer to the truth than the concern that placing the memory chips on board (if true at all) is due to the incompetence of Apple engineers (as speculated by some members above). When Apple is criticized for being slow to integrate modern technologies, there are several factors that are not taken into account:

1. Usually Apple needs huge quantities. Components that are not available in mass quantities are out of consideration.
2. Apple does not use bullet-point marketing. Apple does not put a new technology into a product just because it is a buzzword used by nerds. Competitors usually put new, sometimes poorly integrated or immature technologies just to pretend they are the cutting edge.
3. Apple prefers mature technologies, but always tries to "skate to where the puck is going". Sometimes it makes bold steps which pushes the adoption of technologies which were largely ignored or slow to get adoption. Examples:
  • 3.5" floppy to replace the 5.25" one
  • Removal of the floppy altogether
  • USB interface to replace all other options
  • Non-removable battery on the iPhone
  • Non-removable battery on laptops

The list is incomplete, but gives the idea.
post #29 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I can't vouch for it but here is an app that will enable TRIM on non-Apple SSDs.

http://www.groths.org/?p=308

Thanks for the link, I do use this app already and so I do get TRIM on my OCZ SSD. Just Apple still doesn't officially support non-Apple SSD TRIM for some reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUiPhoneUser View Post

Oh, no! Apple is known to sell products that fell apart after 1 year of usage so you are forced to buy a new one!

Apple is known for doing stupid things like having custom firmware on their HDDs so you can't use a standard off-the-shelf one; or gluing displays together so you have to buy a whole new unit when a cable fails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EUiPhoneUser View Post

Let me remind you, we are commenting on rumor here. It may turn out that Apple was just experimenting with such approach, or the rumor is made up just to get more clicks.

Precisely, which is why I'm trying to disprove the rumour of them being stupid enough to solder flash memory to the mainboard. Soldering NAND flash to the logic board would be like having tyres on your car attached so you have to replace the whole chassis whenever they wear out. Hard disks have always been the part of the computer most likely to wear out, and so can be replaced relatively inexpensively. If they're soldered to the mainboard, you'd have to fork out $1000+ just to replace something that's known to have a finite life.
post #30 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

As usual, most of the comments here are 'glass half empty' criticisms based on unsubstantiated speculation.

Welcome to the Internet!

post #31 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheinside View Post

400MB/s is quite rubbish by today's standards. This is an odd article. It's as though it's something special. It's just an indication that the new Sandy Bridge chipsets include SATA 6Gbps. It's actually disappointing to see Apple only provide 400MB/s. They should be providing 520MB/s or better. Also it is the IOPS that are important to, for every day usage. I bet you the IOPS on the SSD they provide are rubbish by today's standards too.

Apple has a history of being behind the times when it comes to SSD's. It seems to me that they are afraid of them. lol. The Xserve (2009) had an SSD which was 2007 technology at best. It was 90MB/s when your 2009 SSD was up to about 225MB/s.

Modern SSD chips do not wear out as much as the earlier ones. Wear is not really huge concern in 2011. They wear about as fast as an LCD TV and no one complains about their lifespan anymore.

Most SSd's are much slower than this, assuming this rumor to be true. There are a few new models that are faster, but they are expensive for now. 400MBs is pretty good. There's no point in trying to make something out of it that it isn't.

"Modern" Flash chips wear out faster than older ones do. At least understand the technology before commenting. What has changed is the firmware that controls the "leveling" within the drive that mediated that wear, so that manufacturers of flash memory are saying the the life of the newer drives will be the same as the old.

Even for a start-up drive, with all its small reads and writes, the life is estimated to be as long as ten years. If someone really thinks that's not good enough for them, then they can buy an enterprise version for twice as much.
post #32 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheinside View Post

400MB/s is quite rubbish by today's standards. This is an odd article. It's as though it's something special. It's just an indication that the new Sandy Bridge chipsets include SATA 6Gbps. It's actually disappointing to see Apple only provide 400MB/s. They should be providing 520MB/s or better.

Really? How many SSD's out there are actually delivering that performance rather than just claiming to support STATA 6Gbps and implying the interface speed instead of their actual device speed?

The only SSD's I have seen that deliver the performance you are claiming are specialized units that are RAID 0'd together or use other similar tricks.

Perhaps I've missed some new developments - I don't follow this stuff daily like I once did, but your making some pretty glib and simplistic generalizations and criticisms.

As others have pointed out, we aren't talking about one-off enthusiast PC's here, but mass market devices. It's easy to monday morning quarterback when you have no direct skin in the game
post #33 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There is a lot Apple could do with the file system since they control the HW and OS. I've been waiting for them to make the OS more "intelligent" to know files are best to keep on the (on-board) SSD and what to keep on main storage (HDD/SSD) area.

Apple doesn't have to do it - Intel has done it in an OS-independant way already: Intel Smart Response technology.

What would be nice is a file system and drive interface that's tailored to the characteristics of SSD. For example, such a smart file system would not need TRIM added on as a hack to the OS and the SATA protocol - it would simply be integrated.

Apple is in a unique position to do this as they control hardware and software. And I could see them doing it first for speed and capacity reasons on the MacBook Air first, and then work it's way up to the rest of the line. The techies will, undoubtedly, freak out about "yet another Apple proprietary solution" - but if it dramatically improves performance while helping to address some of the limitations of flash - especially with write performance - I won't care. Let PC users slouch along with SATA. Heads/cylinders - in 2011? Really?
post #34 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheinside View Post

400MB/s is quite rubbish by today's standards. This is an odd article. It's as though it's something special. It's just an indication that the new Sandy Bridge chipsets include SATA 6Gbps.

Don't know how the speeds translate exactly, but I do know that the fast Sandforce SSD controlled drives currently get about 250 MB/s speeds and tap-out the SATA 3 Gbps interface (and need SATA 6 Gbps to function at full capacity). 250 MB/s is obviously much smaller than 3 Gbps but the speeds must be measuring different things. 400 MB/s would be a very big deal and blow away most mainstream (yes, there are already 500 MB/s super-high performance SSD drives) SSD competition if implemented.
post #35 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Most SSd's are much slower than this, assuming this rumor to be true. There are a few new models that are faster, but they are expensive for now. 400MBs is pretty good. There's no point in trying to make something out of it that it isn't.

"Modern" Flash chips wear out faster than older ones do. At least understand the technology before commenting. What has changed is the firmware that controls the "leveling" within the drive that mediated that wear, so that manufacturers of flash memory are saying the the life of the newer drives will be the same as the old.

Even for a start-up drive, with all its small reads and writes, the life is estimated to be as long as ten years. If someone really thinks that's not good enough for them, then they can buy an enterprise version for twice as much.

If I get six good years out of a laptop, I'm fine with that. I'm interested in the MacBook Air because I'm leaning towards an Air instead of an iPad. But being as the Air would cost twice as much as an iPad, longevity is much more of a factor because I'm not a high wage earner.
post #36 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Apple doesn't have to do it - Intel has done it in an OS-independant way already: Intel Smart Response technology.

What would be nice is a file system and drive interface that's tailored to the characteristics of SSD. For example, such a smart file system would not need TRIM added on as a hack to the OS and the SATA protocol - it would simply be integrated.

Intel's controller understands NTFS and FAT, so it knows what areas the filesystem has tagged as deleted. No controllers (that I know of) understand HFS, so they don't know what parts of the SSD aren't in use. That's the idea of TRIM, the OS that understands the filesystem can tell the SSD the areas that can be erased.

Some SSDs (Sandforce-based in particular) use extra space that's not visible to the host, so they always have some blocks erased ready to be written to. That's much faster than having to erase blocks for each write. Makes things more expensive though, as the drives have extra space that's effectively wasted by the wear-levelling mechanism.

A filesystem that's tailored for SSDs in general would be good, as it would end up being more efficient than the old filesystems designed for HDDs. Having a filesystem tailored for specific SSDs however, wouldn't really provide much improvement. It'd require you to use Apple SSDs, as the OS wouldn't be able to talk to generic ones. Either that, or Apple would have to write firmware for every SSD on the market. I guess they could use a special filesystem for Apple drives, and fall back to a less specialised one for generic SSDs though.
post #37 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

As usual, most of the comments here are 'glass half empty' criticisms based on unsubstantiated speculation.

And that's the good side of the AI crew!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post

I think the bottom-line is that MBAs with Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt are likely to be an insanely desirable pice of technological hotness.All the more if 19-nanometer process gives us 400MBps and 512 Gb of memory.

I doubt if we'll get the 512GB (but I'd take it! )...

I've had my pennies saved for a Sandy Bridge/Thunderport MBA since I returned one of the latest 13" MBPs in February, when they were first released.

C'mon, Apple! The cash is burning a hole in my pocket!!!! [taps fingers on desk impatiently]

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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post #38 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

If I get six good years out of a laptop, I'm fine with that. I'm interested in the MacBook Air because I'm leaning towards an Air instead of an iPad. But being as the Air would cost twice as much as an iPad, longevity is much more of a factor because I'm not a high wage earner.

I understand that. When I had my company, I used to replace my own, at home, PowerMac, every two years, and upgrade between. But when we sold the company in 2004, and I retired, I'm replacing my Mac Pro less often, maybe four years. I'm fortunate to be able to afford it, but I understand the more tightly controlled buyers of others.

SSD's are still a new technology. Right now, their reliability is, on average, no better than a HDD. intel's are much better, and OCZs' are much worse. It's hard to understand why, but as flash memory on iPods seem to be lasting for along time, with admittedly many more reads than writes, it's thought that the reliability of these drives are due to some other factor, since many are using the same chips and controllers.
post #39 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

If this memory is soldered directly, does this mean that when it fails one either spends a lot of money to repair the unit or throw it out to buy another one?

Not sure what the expected lifespan of this tech would be but if we're talking two or three years, it's unacceptable to have a $1,000 device that would basically have a three-year lifespan. Not sure about others but I can't afford to drop $1,000+ into a new machine every couple of years.

I can see this sort of scenario playing out with a $300 iPod but not a $1,000 MacBook.

First, I do understand the shock and annoyance at not being user serviceable, but I think Apple is not in the wrong here at all...their goal is to make the MBA as small and powerful as possible, this is done by removing adapters and cabling whenever possible. Most people do toss their computers and get tew ones when HDDs fail, people dont wanna fix them generally...check out how many broken laptops you can get that just need a new HDD if you toss an ad on CL offering ppl $20-50 for non working laptops.

as to the $1000 every couple years, I dont know, the MBA is basically just a web surfing notebook, and many ultra portables that i know of from 08-09 with earlier gen SSDs still work great with win7 and IE9....I dont see why these would be any different 2 years down the road unless apple does a planned obsolescence model where it makes new OS features that everyone needs and cant run on those models.

if you need to get work done, and want upgradability, get a macbook pro...remember, the word pro is there for a reason -- it means something, or at least it did until the recent final cut release...
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post #40 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Apple doesn't have to do it - Intel has done it in an OS-independant way already: Intel Smart Response technology.

I'm not so sure about that. Z68 is hardware but the SRT (Smart Response Technology) Intel offers is part of the firmware. I think this means it has to be catered to each OS.

Even though the new iMacs have the Z68 chip they do not, as far as I can tell, support SRT. I suspect they never will because Apple is in a unique position to offer their own solution that is cheaper and easier, and potentially better than letting Intel take care of their smart SSD caching.
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