Samsung intros 256GB SSD that may reach MacBook Air

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Samsung has introduced a 256GB solid-state drive that promises to kickstart the industry with twice the storage and twice the speed of earlier disks while also costing less to manufacture than past models -- and having a chance of landing in future Apple notebooks.



Simply called the 256GB FlashSSD, the Serial ATA drive reads in-order data at 200MB per second, or double the rate of Samsung's past 128GB drive. It also boosts write speeds, often a bottleneck on solid-state drives, from 70MB per second to 160MB.



But the real advancement, Samsung says, is in the manufacturing process. Past drives, including the 128GB model, have depended on flash memory using a technique known as single-level cell storage. While quick and reliable, the inability to store more than one bit of data in each cell results in a high cost per drive. The prices of single-level cell drives have often been a hurdle to notebooks, with options for the MacBook Air and other systems frequently costing $1,000 or more to switch to the faster technology.



The 256GB drive changes this by switching to a new approach to multi-level cell storage that allegedly solves the problems of the format. The technology allows data to be much more densely packed, but has traditionally been slow and short-lived. However, a new drive controller not only gives it the same speed as single-level storage but gives it the same kind of longevity, at roughly one million hours before a failure occurs.



As it's more efficient in storing data, the multi-level cell technology is also "considerably" less expensive to make, though Samsung has stopped short of revealing the exact difference.



Until now, Apple has left multi-level cell flash memory to its iPhone and iPod devices, which are less dependent on speed and heavy disk access, but whether the MacBook Air or other Apple portables will use the the storage is unknown. Samsung plans a 1.8-inch version of the 256GB drive that will ship before the end of the year, and has been Apple's sole choice for the MacBook Air's solid-state drive to date: a 64GB drive is used inside Air models configured with the SSD storage option.



Other potential candidates have surfaced since the introduction of the ultraportable, however. Intel is reportedly preparing its own line of high-speed drives for release in the next quarter, while smaller rival STEC is claimed to have wrested the contract for the MacBook Air away from Samsung.



The Korean memory chip producer itself doesn't provide any direct clues, but mentions that it's "actively involved" in helping integrate solid-state drives into the systems of every top computer manufacturer in the US.





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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    fishyesquefishyesque Posts: 725member
    *mind explodes*



    I've just noticed how awfully empty my wallet is.
  • Reply 2 of 46
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    And it will likely cost twice as much as the laptop itself.
  • Reply 3 of 46
    bwhalerbwhaler Posts: 260member
    I love my Air.



    But a 256gig drive, with the upcoming faster Intel GPU, would be killer. (A better battery life would be a cherry on top.)



    I suspect I will be buying the next MBAir upgrade.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    bobertoqbobertoq Posts: 172member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feynman View Post


    And it will likely cost twice as much as the laptop itself.



    Did you even read the article?

    Quote:

    As it's more efficient in storing data, the multi-level cell technology is also "considerably" less expensive to make, though Samsung has stopped short of revealing the exact difference.



    This is absolutely awesome. I really hope it will be used in the MacBook Air

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BWhaler View Post


    I love my Air.



    But a 256gig drive, with the upcoming faster Intel GPU, would be killer. (A better battery life would be a cherry on top.)



    I suspect I will be buying the next MBAir upgrade.



    oh definitely. I can't imagine the joy of using a MacBook Air with 2 GB of RAM, 2.0GHZ+ Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 256 GB SSD, aaand longer battery life..... ooohhh geek lust.
  • Reply 5 of 46
    Given Samsung announced the spinpoint m6 500g at the end of 2007 and (but for France) you still can't buy one - my guess is there will be many competitor options available by the time this is actually shipping... if it ever does...
  • Reply 6 of 46
    mcdaviesmcdavies Posts: 43member
    Slightly off topic, everyone seems to be real happy with their MacBook Air. I remember a lot of negative comments when it was launched.
  • Reply 7 of 46
    zeasarzeasar Posts: 91member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by McDavies View Post


    Slightly off topic, everyone seems to be real happy with their MacBook Air. I remember a lot of negative comments when it was launched.



    There is still a lot of negative comments. Trust me, by the time it gets the speed/battery/storage upgrades some people would still rant.
  • Reply 8 of 46
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member
    This story is a classic example of why people find the tech sector so fascinating to follow.



    What blows us away today will be commonplace tomorrow. It seemed to take a lifetime to go from SSDs with 2 Gb of capacity to 8 Gb. The sheer speed with which we've gone from 8 Gb to 64 Gb and from 64 Gb to 256 Gb is mind-blowing.



    So, come Q4 we'll get a revised MacBook Air with Intel's Centrino 2 running at 1.86 Mhz consuming 17 versus 25 watts of power to provide more computing power and lower power consumption. Add a 256 Gb and suddenly the traditional macBook is only competitive on one dimensions; price. But even that barrier will come down. The MBA will have come a long way in one year. Technology will have finally caught it up.



    What is also significant about Samsung's new drive isn't that it will make it into the MBA, but that it will probably be offered on the MacBook Pro.



    Bring it on!
  • Reply 9 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feynman View Post


    And it will likely cost twice as much as the laptop itself.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobertoq View Post


    Did you even read the article?



    It very well could be twice the price of the MBA. There are currently no 128GB 1.8" SSDs and the 2.5" 128GB SSDs can be had for around $3,000. Even if you cut the price of 2.5" drive in half per GB (which is a considerable price drop) the price is still $3,000, and that doesn't even take into account the shrinking to 1.8".
  • Reply 10 of 46
    mimicmimic Posts: 72member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


    This story is a classic example of why people find the tech sector so fascinating to follow.



    What is also significant about Samsung's new drive isn't that it will make it into the MBA, but that it will probably be offered on the MacBook Pro.



    Bring it on!



    I'm hoping it makes its way into the Canon HF10 HD Camcorder which is limited to 16GB at the moment.
  • Reply 11 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MiMiC View Post


    I'm hoping it makes its way into the Canon HF10 HD Camcorder which is limited to 16GB at the moment.



    Good point! HD camcorders can really benefit from these capacity increases and price drops.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


    This story is a classic example of why people find the tech sector so fascinating to follow.



    What blows us away today will be commonplace tomorrow.



    Bring it on!



    Soooo true.



    You bring my 5 MB Apple Profile Hard Drive to mind on my 256 KB RAM Apple /// ... Did that ever make my three floppy disk drive Apple ][ look lame!



    Talking of future possibilities ... I can't wait to see if the Wi-Fi manufacturers get hold of the current standard TV spectrum when the FCC auction it off. I've read (but can't believe even though I'd like to) it could enable a five mile radius personal wi-fi range.
  • Reply 13 of 46
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zeasar View Post


    There is still a lot of negative comments. Trust me, by the time it gets the speed/battery/storage upgrades some people would still rant.



    The rants about the lack of optical drive/ethernet ports will probably subside when competitors follow suit. Just like the removal of the floppy drive, Apple leads the way.



    That said, the MB and MBP's need to remain fully featured and hopefully a touch lighter in their next revisions.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MiMiC View Post


    I'm hoping it makes its way into the Canon HF10 HD Camcorder which is limited to 16GB at the moment.



    It's not limited to 16GB, you can stick an SDHC card into it too, up to 32GB, which is SDHC's maximum allowed, though it could have been 2TB max. Anyway, 32GB + 16GB would give it a total 6 hours at its highest bitrate.



    I didn't buy that model because the upgrade really wasn't that good of a deal, I bought the HF100. Name brand class 6 SDHC cards run $20/4GB, for the additional $200, it's trivial to buy more than twice that, and not have to deal with the irritating cable-intensive camera connection using the on-board memory requires, vs. just using a card reader. I've bought some 4GB cards so it's easy to archive a pristine duplicate of the original video file on a single layer DVD.
  • Reply 15 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by satchmo View Post


    That said, the MB and MBP's need to remain fully featured and hopefully a touch lighter in their next revisions.



    I predict that the MB/MBP line will remove the optical drive after the next case overhaul.
  • Reply 16 of 46
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,910member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I predict that the MB/MBP line will remove the optical drive after the next case overhaul.



    Then you would need an external optical drive or another computer with an optical drive. Otherwise you couldn't update the OS. I have an 800 G4 w/no optical drive and I had to jump through hoops to upgrade to Tiger. I didn't like the idea of paying circa $100 for an external OD or even $30 for an internal OD just to upgrade.
  • Reply 17 of 46
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I predict that the MB/MBP line will remove the optical drive after the next case overhaul.



    If that's true, then I hope an overhaul wouldn't happen this year. I'm skeptical that a pro notebook would drop the optical drive so soon if it's this year. Maybe consumers can largely do without, but remote drive seems more complicated than it really needs to be. I would hope Apple offers a pilot program to sell their consumer software as a download by then.



    Installing or upgrading pro software is irritating enough without having to deal with a separate drive just to install it. Final Cut Studio 2 is like 8 DVDs, then there's the need to write videos or do backups.
  • Reply 18 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sequitur View Post


    Then you would need an external optical drive or another computer with an optical drive. Otherwise you couldn't update the OS. I have an 800 G4 w/no optical drive and I had to jump through hoops to upgrade to Tiger. I didn't like the idea of paying circa $100 for an external OD or even $30 for an internal OD just to upgrade.



    That is the mindset that you have to use a DVD drive for software installs. Besides the ever increasing internet footprint and speeds for all things digital, you could always use a USB flash drive to install apps. They are small and are getting cheaper every day. And even though the size of apps are growing the price is dropping and capacities are increasing at faster rates.



    I'm not sure, but I think there are even some HW-based security measures that can be put in place on a Flash drive that can't be done with an optical disc.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    If that's true, then I hope an overhaul wouldn't happen this year. I'm skeptical that a pro notebook would drop the optical drive so soon if it's this year. Maybe consumers can largely do without, but remote drive seems more complicated than it really needs to be.



    By "after the next", I meant after the one that is most likely happening later this year or early 2009. So I figure around 2011. I apologize for being equivocal.



    Quote:

    Installing or upgrading pro software is irritating enough without having to deal with a separate drive just to install it. Final Cut Studio 2 is like 8 DVDs, then there's the need to write videos or do backups.



    There is always something that won't meld well with future tech. A 128GB flash drive (or 2x64GB) will still probably be prohibitively expensive for use an installer in a few years. However, the example you provided wouldn't have to utilize such technology as fast since a good portion of the product would probably get burned to the ubiquitous DVD or up and coming Blu-ray.
  • Reply 19 of 46
    zeasarzeasar Posts: 91member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    That is the mindset that you have to use a DVD drive for software installs. Besides the ever increasing internet footprint and speeds for all things digital, you could always use a USB flash drive to install apps. They are small and are getting cheaper every day. And even though the size of apps are growing the price is dropping and capacities are increasing at faster rates.



    I was gona say USB drives but you beat me to it. Having the system recovery files on a USB has its advantages. For example, when you update your system online, plug in the factory supplied USB and it gets updated too. And you dont have to download all the updates if you need to restore your system, plugs in the USB, and BOOM.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 446member
    Hooray for bike-to-work week!

    And what a lovely article to wake me up on a Monday morning! (Wow I sound peppy... like, cheerleader-peppy. My apologies.)



    Someone already mentioned it, but I think the rate at which flash is advancing is really impressive, let's hope we see these in MBA's before the year is done. Personally I'd love an iMac with a big fat 1TB of SS (or larger), but that seems a little ambitious for now. Either way nice work on Samsung's part, that's a nice advancement, and a beautiful looking drive!



    Jimzip
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