Intel plans to put flash memory into notebooks next year

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Intel plans to put NAND flash memory chips into notebook PCs beginning next year, the company revealed at the Intel Developer Forum this week.



According to a report published on TheStreet.com, the Santa Clara, Calif., chipmaker said Tuesday that the NAND flash feature in its forthcoming notebook platform, dubbed Santa Rosa, would offer the main benefit of almost instantaneous PC boot times.



NAND flash is a type of computer memory that retains data even without a power supply -- a technology that has proven especially popular for the new generation of consumer electronics devices, such as digital media players and cameras.



"We need to have devices that boot up very rapidly," Sean Maloney, the head of Intel's mobility group, told developers. "The same way you come off a plane and get a cell phone signal immediately."



In his presentation, Maloney demonstrated the advantages of flash technology in PCs, by booting up two PCs on stage, one with 256MB of flash memory, and the other without, TheStreet reports. The PC with flash reportedly booted in about half the time and also consumed slightly less power than the non-flash PC.



According to Maloney, the technology can scale way beyond a 256MB flash buffer, potentially running a PC's entire operating system from flash instead of from the hard drive. "It just comes down to what's the cost curve on NAND," he said.



Still, Maloney noted that it is still unclear how much flash would be incorporated into the forthcoming Santa Rosa platform, an updated version of the company's popular Centrino brand scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2007.



Word of Intel's intentions to extend NAND flash technology to PCs comes roughly three months after Apple gave the chip maker and its flash memory manufacturing partner Micron a cool $500 million in prepayments to secure a supply of the memory chips through 2010, presumably for iPods.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    robin hoodrobin hood Posts: 513member
    Interesting, although my MacBook Pro already "boots up" from sleep in under a second!
  • Reply 2 of 35
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Robin Hood

    Interesting, although my MacBook Pro already "boots up" from sleep in under a second!



    How long does the battery last when sleeping?



    I think this is pretty nice, especially when using peripherals that don't allow a computer to sleep well when connected.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    ishawnishawn Posts: 364member
    So much memory... Video, RAM, now this. Crazy. I'd like to see it, but how much more space would it consume/need? I think we'd all like the features of current Powerbooks with the MacBook Pros.



    Very cool. I hope Apple adopts this. Would there be any benefit for desktops with this? How about launching programs user-specified quicker with this technology? I know Apple Music uses would like Logic to boot up in about half the time!
  • Reply 4 of 35
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    I look forward to this technology. Anything to increase the real world speeds is a good thing to me.
  • Reply 5 of 35
    zengazenga Posts: 267member
    Maybe Apple can incorporate or better said take advantage of this new technology in Mac OS 10.5 "Leopard"

  • Reply 6 of 35
    fuyutsukifuyutsuki Posts: 293member
    I love this technology - getting rid of platter drives is the holy grail of laptop and TABLET computing!



    Ever run a Pismo from Flash? Ever run Linux from RAM? Ever played an iPod nano and been impressed with the lack of seek times, vibration and BULK?



    The future is in flash. Platter hard drives are great for huge data stores that you want to be fast, re-writable and of course cheap. But the age of tugging one around with you all the time and fearing the worst when you drop your computer or left it stored in the cold is coming to an end.



    Apple first!
  • Reply 7 of 35
    why is this "new"? hypothetically, as long as my boot loader could see the memory (like on a usb flash drive, or something along those lines), i could say, put a Linux kernel on it, and boot from there. The only difference I see is this is soldered to the board.



    While this could be loaded without having to spin up the disk, the kernel still has to initialize and go through its boot process. Will parallelizing the hard drive spin up really make a difference?



    putting OS libraries and files on a separate physical disk (whether its flash or platter-based, especially one that rarely needs writes), is bound to speed up any application, is this a potentially cheap and efficient way of doing just that?
  • Reply 8 of 35
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fuyutsuki

    I love this technology - getting rid of platter drives is the holy grail of laptop and TABLET computing!



    I realized that this was basically what they touted as Robson several months ago. It isn't dedicated flash drive but a hybrid caching system using as little as 128MB of flash to store some often used files with low latency. Running Tiger and any current software on a flash drive is still very unrealistic unless you have a lot of money.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    The "switch" to Intel has made the Mac roadmap a bit more interesting. Gone is the secrecy we had with IBM and Apple on future processor and related technologies. It's nice to on a winning team for a change.
  • Reply 10 of 35
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JeffDM

    I realized that this was basically what they touted as Robson several months ago.



    Actually, it's still touted as Robson.



    I might be holding off my MBP purchase until Santa Rosa.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    nathan22tnathan22t Posts: 317member
    RAM DISK!
  • Reply 12 of 35
    soopadrivesoopadrive Posts: 182member
    ha! i knew it
  • Reply 13 of 35
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,501member
    Whose paying for this "feature?"



    The consumer is going to get stuck with this feature at a price point that will no doubt raise the prices of MacBooks.



    Hell we can't get a $40 add-on BTO video card option yet these memory chips will be almost that much for a laptop. Of course this will be billed as a "feature."
  • Reply 14 of 35
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by mdriftmeyer

    Whose paying for this "feature?"



    The consumer is going to get stuck with this feature at a price point that will no doubt raise the prices of MacBooks.



    Hell we can't get a $40 add-on BTO video card option yet these memory chips will be almost that much for a laptop. Of course this will be billed as a "feature."




    I doubt the cost of a 256MB flash chip is anywhere near $40.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    i thought apple would be the first to do this with the macbook pro line, we really shouldn't have to wait a year, what about apple doing this later this year??? and get one up on the competition. i don't want to delay my purchase till next year.... unless we have to wait that long to run windows on a mac
  • Reply 16 of 35
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    Right now, they are only talking about a couple dollars of Flash.



    Don't get too excited!



    It will take time before Flash can replace HD's. Its write lifetime is way too short, and the price is way too high.
  • Reply 17 of 35
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    the idea is for apple to leapfrog other pc makers by having a hybrid system to improve boot and dramatically increase battery life. maybe even a replaceable flash
  • Reply 18 of 35
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I almost never reboot my PowerBook, and don't care about boot times. But I like the idea of NAND not being prone to physical failure.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    sjksjk Posts: 603member
    Like nagromme, I don't reboot often and boot times aren't important.



    What really matters to me is being able to quickly suspend and resume login/application sessions. Normal sleep is still the best option for that since none of my systems support safe-sleep. I'd like to use safe-sleep for longer durations of system inactivity and if NAND flash made that faster I'd might use it even more often.



    I keep a Windows laptop hibernated for months at a time, power it back on, and resume everything right where I left it (well, until the inevitable updates download and I end up rebooting anyway after they're installed). And my Solaris box now lives in sys-suspend most of the time, but still ready to be resumed in the state I left it.



    I'd rather see more sophisticated session management features than faster system boot times.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    smirclesmircle Posts: 1,035member
    I am somewhat concerned about the lifetime of this flash buffer. If it is used to more or less constantly write data to it to create a complete copy of the running OS so that sleep and wakeup is seamless, how long will it last? Flash is notorious for a limited number of write-cycles, after all.
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