NAND Flash Motivation Becomes Clear

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 66
    Intel's announcement of getting into flash production along with Apple's up-front investment in the project suggests to me that this will be something other than just another supplier for Apple's iPods.



    I don't believe that Intel is interested in making flash chips to compete with Samsung et al for MP3 players. What I do believe is that this will be used by Intel to make the VIIV platform be "instant on".



    So how will Apple use this in a way that justifies their investment? My bet is that Future Apple computers, especially notebooks, will load the entire OS into high speed flash and run it from there.



    Space for this flash won't be an issue so Apple will use multiple low cost flash chips to get the capacity they need to put OSX in there with enough space left over to write the machine's current state to it for instant return from sleep mode, just like VIIV machines. By putting the entire OS in it, Apple will also feature "instant" boot-up from a cold start as well.



    I can't say whether this will be ready for the first Mactels, but it is coming, and soon.
  • Reply 42 of 66
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    Viiv achieves instant on by simply not powering down. It goes into a deep sleep state and just turns all its lights off. Nothing particularly earth shattering.



    As for Intel's investment in flash they have been in NOR flash for a long time but the market has shifted towards NAND flash. Intel's a public company, they move where the money is.
  • Reply 43 of 66
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    the bane of laptops which is where the growth and profit margin are....durability, battery life. flash memory addresses this. can you imagine apple making a "tough book" those of you who have lost critical data and need more battery life should see this as an elegant answere. can you imagine the army using apple laptops....contruction....field managers....joe clumsy???

    so what would the battery life of a laptop where say 32 gigs were on a "removable" flash drive and the hard drive could be used as backup or vice versa therefore used minimally???

    could you break 8-12 hours or more with this set up? and God forbid you dropped it. it seems like the future.

    that would also differenciate apple pb from others.



    one day i must replace my work dell 8100 before apple announced intel, i'd get an ibm for the inherent durability or a toughbook.



    apple could make a tough book

    also lets not miss the opportunity for use in a home system that's durable. as above instant on would be huge!!! and necessary to convince the masses to jump



    ok using flash memory what kind of battery life could we get in a 13 wide or 15 wide pb??
  • Reply 44 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Telomar

    Viiv achieves instant on by simply not powering down... Nothing particularly earth shattering.



    As for Intel's investment in flash they have been in NOR flash for a long time but the market has shifted towards NAND flash. Intel's a public company, they move where the money is.




    The earth shatters when the power goes down, not everyone has UPS's for their home theaters. Intel will offer their NAND chips to VIIV builders as a product differentiator, something Apple needs to achieve to succeed in Intel-land.



    A big part of Intel's interest in Apple is to use it's platform as a way to showcase Intel technologies and sell more chips. If Apple's portables use this NAND technology to achieve better battery life and instant start-up then the Dells of the world will surely follow.



    Apple has pretty well cornered the market for flash chips, this is why competitors MP3 players of equal capacity cost more than Apple's. This is also why Apple has invested in the Intel NAND production, they want to keep their current price advantage.



    Moving NAND into laptops will give them the same price advantages they have in flash MP3 players. Apple needs product differentiation from the other players, and also give OSX "the snappy" that it needs to compete with Vista.



    Always having the OS in NAND will make the whole system more responsive for all operations. Intel's investment in NAND is obvious, how do you explain Apple's?
  • Reply 45 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Aphelion

    The earth shatters when the power goes down, not everyone has UPS's for their home theaters. Intel will offer their NAND chips to VIIV builders as a product differentiator, something Apple needs to achieve to succeed in Intel-land.



    A big part of Intel's interest in Apple is to use it's platform as a way to showcase Intel technologies and sell more chips. If Apple's portables use this NAND technology to achieve better battery life and instant start-up then the Dells of the world will surely follow.



    Apple has pretty well cornered the market for flash chips, this is why competitors MP3 players of equal capacity cost more than Apple's. This is also why Apple has invested in the Intel NAND production, they want to keep their current price advantage.



    Moving NAND into laptops will give them the same price advantages they have in flash MP3 players. Apple needs product differentiation from the other players, and also give OSX "the snappy" that it needs to compete with Vista.



    Always having the OS in NAND will make the whole system more responsive for all operations. Intel's investment in NAND is obvious, how do you explain Apple's?




    iPod
  • Reply 46 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jimbo123

    iPod



    Perhaps, but what caught my eye was the volumes involved. iPod alone would account for a large part of that, but another way of looking at that is leveraging iPod volumes to also get a big discount on Flash for Macs. It works all ways around, use the Flash only for iPods or add it to Macs and add to the volume order. Either way, it would have a strategic value for Macs and Apple is already getting it at about half or less of the cost of the others. I cannot see Apple passing on the win-win. Using the iPod demand gets Apple into the volumes that Dell would use if they were to add flash to their kit, but Apple already has the deals in place so Dell will be paying up to compete with Apple. So by signing those deals Apple has driven up the costs for their competitors and down for them. So why not twist the knife by adding some of that very cheap Flash to Macs, and give them a strategic value while further securing the market for iPod.
  • Reply 47 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Brendon

    Perhaps, but what caught my eye was the volumes involved. iPod alone would account for a large part of that, but another way of looking at that is leveraging iPod volumes to also get a big discount on Flash for Macs. It works all ways around, use the Flash only for iPods or add it to Macs and add to the volume order. Either way, it would have a strategic value for Macs and Apple is already getting it at about half or less of the cost of the others. I cannot see Apple passing on the win-win. Using the iPod demand gets Apple into the volumes that Dell would use if they were to add flash to their kit, but Apple already has the deals in place so Dell will be paying up to compete with Apple. So by signing those deals Apple has driven up the costs for their competitors and down for them. So why not twist the knife by adding some of that very cheap Flash to Macs, and give them a strategic value while further securing the market for iPod.



    We keep hearing about ultra thin note books just maybe this is one of the reasons behind such a move. It does look like a master class move by Apple
  • Reply 48 of 66
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    can you imagine the following--microsized hd perpendicular drive as backup, primary memory is flash say 16-32gig even removable what kind of battery life could that be...what must be done to get real world 8-10hrs battery life.



    also how does apple differentiate her products against the masses??? flash would be one of them



    the above discussion by brendon on the strategie for apple is one of the best i've read--bravo. they have been planning on this for some time.



    which intel laptop is apples target..ibm, sony....dell...toshiba what do you think. so many laptops out there when the customer see's no difference they go by price.
  • Reply 49 of 66
    lorrelorre Posts: 396member
    What I am about to say might be wrong, so please correct me if so.



    Powerbooks currently support up to 4 GB of Ram



    Yonah is 32 bit if I'm not mistaken, so it can only address upto 4 GB of memory.



    ...how on earth could you add virtual memory on a NAND chip or hardrive to that? The processor can't address it...
  • Reply 50 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally posted by NOFEER

    can you imagine the following--microsized hd perpendicular drive as backup, primary memory is flash say 16-32gig even removable what kind of battery life could that be...what must be done to get real world 8-10hrs battery life.



    also how does apple differentiate her products against the masses??? flash would be one of them



    the above discussion by brendon on the strategie for apple is one of the best i've read--bravo. they have been planning on this for some time.



    which intel laptop is apples target..ibm, sony....dell...toshiba what do you think. so many laptops out there when the customer see's no difference they go by price.




    16-32gig is not in the near future, but it could be more like 2-4gig and that is plenty. There is no way to replace HD storage costs, but they can lower HD spin ups and lag. Imagine more like having 1gig RAM and then having 2-4gig Flash and a large HD. What you could do is work in ram and have anything you may need stored in flash and save work to the HD. So if you were working in PS the OS would sit in Flash and be responsive quicker and when you click on PS it would load the .app into ram and then all of the libraries into Flash. Now when you need a tool bar, the HD does not have to spin-up, because all of those files are loaded into Flash. So how does this impact really large files, like 25gig files? Does not that much. That kind of work will be HD bound, but if you are woking on a desktop you can install more drives and RAID them up. But for the most part Flash will be a good thing. And like most everything else, we will wonder how we lived without it.



    Here are the system requirements for PS, as you can see the whole app could be easily loaded into Flash and still have plenty of room for the OS and then you would have all of RAM to work in.



    Macintosh

    PowerPC® G3, G4, or G5 processor

    Mac OS X v.10.2.8 through v.10.4 (10.3.4 through 10.4 recommended)

    -->320MB of RAM (384MB recommended)

    -->750MB of available hard-disk space

    1,024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card

    CD-ROM drive

    Internet or phone connection required for product activation



  • Reply 51 of 66
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Lorre

    ...how on earth could you add virtual memory on a NAND chip or hardrive to that? The processor can't address it...



    It's virtual memory. It doesn't get addressed; it merely serves as an additional space. To address it, you need to move it into the actual physical RAM and shift something else out.
  • Reply 52 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Lorre

    What I am about to say might be wrong, so please correct me if so.



    Powerbooks currently support up to 4 GB of Ram



    Yonah is 32 bit if I'm not mistaken, so it can only address upto 4 GB of memory.



    ...how on earth could you add virtual memory on a NAND chip or hardrive to that? The processor can't address it...




    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chucker

    It's virtual memory. It doesn't get addressed; it merely serves as an additional space. To address it, you need to move it into the actual physical RAM and shift something else out.



    So to extand that, let's say that something has to be moved out, or swaped out, since it is most likely going to be comming back soon. So the OS is in Flash and so are the swap files, so when you need something that would usually be on the HD it does not need to spin up, thus saving energy and time/pauses.
  • Reply 53 of 66
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chucker

    It's virtual memory. It doesn't get addressed; it merely serves as an additional space. To address it, you need to move it into the actual physical RAM and shift something else out.



    No. You really do need more than 32 address bits to have a virtual address space larger than 4GB. It is necessary to have big enough integers to address EVERY address in the address space, you don't need to physically provide RAM for all those addresses. The swapping part just handles what portion of the address space is in physical RAM, it doesn't do anything to change those addresses.
  • Reply 54 of 66
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    thanks for the above perspective, other than instant on, and such what about battery life, how would your system of 2-4gig flash improve battery life. is real life 8hrs coming this year??
  • Reply 55 of 66
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    This is not the case there are a number of ways to extend the address space and maintain a 32 bit real address space for programs. In effect this is what OS/X does at the moment in one manner. On intel 32 bit systems it is possible to have the OS also manage greater than 4GB's of memory.



    Sure the applications space is still 32 bit but it is still possible for more memory to be addressed.



    Thanks

    Dave







    Quote:

    Originally posted by Hiro

    No. You really do need more than 32 address bits to have a virtual address space larger than 4GB. It is necessary to have big enough integers to address EVERY address in the address space, you don't need to physically provide RAM for all those addresses. The swapping part just handles what portion of the address space is in physical RAM, it doesn't do anything to change those addresses.



  • Reply 56 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally posted by wizard69

    This is not the case there are a number of ways to extend the address space and maintain a 32 bit real address space for programs. In effect this is what OS/X does at the moment in one manner. On intel 32 bit systems it is possible to have the OS also manage greater than 4GB's of memory.



    Sure the applications space is still 32 bit but it is still possible for more memory to be addressed.



    Thanks

    Dave






    yes, this is absolutely true. if any of you type "top" in a terminal window you will see what wizard69 is talking about. At the moment on my 'book with 1.25GB physical RAM, I have over nine and a half GB virtual memory:



    VM: 9.61G + 170M
  • Reply 57 of 66
    Uh... I think you've all missed the boat on this one. Flash memory doesn't need to be addressed by the processor as part of the memory space if it is being used as a disk. Instead a controller device sits between the processor and Flash memory, just like it does between processor and a hard disk. This controller is responsible for converting read/write commands into Flash memory operations. The device consumes no significant portion of the processor's address space (just enough for control registers). The Flash memory can be as big as the controller's ability to address it, which can be quite large because these devices are usually organized in some kind of a banked fashion.
  • Reply 58 of 66
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Its always been my belief that Apple would enter the Tablet market when the technology was mature enough for it to be 'insanely great'. Large flash capacities are part of that.
  • Reply 59 of 66
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    You are correct, on the surface most harddisk caching systems of the past where managed by the controller or the harddisk itself. This does not have to be the case however when you have a processor with 36 bits of address space in 32 bit segments. It would be entirely possible to map an entire 32 bit address spaces as a cache and not have it impact the space available for applications. In any event I'm not convinced that the "cache" is to be used in the way that we commonly think about these days.



    This off course assumes that one is still going to make use of a processor with 32 bit addressing. Frankly I'm not to sure how long such processor will remina viable. I still see a rapid transition to 64 bit hardware. It certainly looks like Apple will remain 32 bit in the portable arena for atleast another 6 months, that seems like a short period of time to invest in novel caching arraingements.



    Unfortunately I have not been able to find the page at www.intel that highlighted some of its developement technology again. I did not derive enough detail to know exactly what they where doing in this dierection, but it is clear that Intel has investigated some sort of caching of system software. Frankly I is one of those pages I wished I had saved a link to. On the other hand I don't think we have long to wait at all to see what Apple's future direction is.



    Dave







    Quote:

    Originally posted by Programmer

    Uh... I think you've all missed the boat on this one. Flash memory doesn't need to be addressed by the processor as part of the memory space if it is being used as a disk. Instead a controller device sits between the processor and Flash memory, just like it does between processor and a hard disk. This controller is responsible for converting read/write commands into Flash memory operations. The device consumes no significant portion of the processor's address space (just enough for control registers). The Flash memory can be as big as the controller's ability to address it, which can be quite large because these devices are usually organized in some kind of a banked fashion.



  • Reply 60 of 66
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    I thought you were going to segmentation. Isn't it funny that it doesn't get used though? It's a technique in search of a problem it can solve without screwing things up more. It's been available for damn near forever, and consistently gets misused so thoroughly that the most sane coders want nothing to do with it. The hardware folks avoid it just as thoroughly because they can't seem to find enough coders who can make it work with enough reliability to assume the risk.



    Segmentation works fine within an address space as a means of applying read/write security. [Well at least when you have an organization that gives a crap about coders security habits.] There only the memory manager code has to deal with it. Go to enlarging an address space beyond the size of the native pointers (which are integers) and then the application has to do it's own thing and manage not to fight the OS while doing it. Always very dicey, and one of the main reasons, along with precision, we have 64-bit CPUs.
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