New Apple laptop to feature Intel Robson cache technology?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Although Intel only demonstrated its Robson cache technology in the fourth quarter of last year, DigiTimes is citing sources who claim that Apple Computer will launch a laptop in the middle of January that utilizes the NAND flash based cache memory technology.



The publication, which has been less than accurate in its predictions of future Apple hardware over the last couple of years, said sources did not say which line of Apple notebooks would implement the technology.



Robson cache technology, which Intel demonstrated during the Intel Developer Forum Taipei this past October, relies on NAND flash instead of a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) for starting up a computer or launching frequently used applications. Some of the benefits of the technology are speedier computer boot time and improve battery life.



Industry observers told DigiTimes that there are three possible ways Apple can deploy Robson technology in its notebook, the most convenient of which would be to equip the device with a NAND flash disk on module (DOM) that would plug into an ATA slot.



"Another method would be a combination memory solution, whereby Robson is deployed on the HDD," according to the publication. "HDD makers would provide an addition density area that would be assigned to NAND flash."



The last solution, which may also the most direct solution, is to embedded the Robson-flash into a chipset or create an additional slot on the motherboard for such memory, DigiTimes said.



Sources have previously told AppleInsider to expect the first Intel-based Macs at next week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, which may include the first 15-inch Intel PowerBook.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    I'll see it when I believe it.
  • Reply 2 of 41
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    Hard to imagine if the benefits would be worth the additional cost, especially considering most Mac users just put their Macs to sleep anyhow, thus negating boot times entirely already. And launching an Application is generally also a one-time thing per session. As someone mentioned in another thread, for the cost of the NAND chips why not just make more RAM standard?



    Unless of course the use of the NAND chip is for a device that doesn't have a Hard Drive at all, like a Media Center Hub that streams all content from other locations.
  • Reply 3 of 41
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    We all know how accurate DigiTimes has been...
  • Reply 4 of 41
    I wish. but from a development pont of view, I don't see why or how they would take up 2 new technologies (new to them) at the same time, too many thing can go wrong....
  • Reply 5 of 41
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    I can see the partial substitution option used for most-read files, but not a complete switch is a way off.



    This isn't like flash memory replacing the 1" drives, those were very expensive for their storage anyway, so the low relative cost difference made it a logical switch for portable audio players.



    Flash is still way too expensive to be useful for laptop mass storage unless you keep a very small OS and don't carry much data. I think it needs to cost 5% or less of it is now to be able to be anywhere near competing. At retail, laptop hard drives are pretty close to $1/GB now, flash is pretty close to $40/GB.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,982member
    This IS going to happen. I just depends on whether it will be Apple or someone else.



    It's not implausable. This is one of those things that Intel is pushing that Apple is positioned to use.



    January might be early. But I wouldn't be surprised to see it by the middle of the year.



    About pricing, they are only talking MB's not GB's. It shouldn't cost that much.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    rolorolo Posts: 686member
    I'll only say that the Robson thing is one of the keys to what I've been talking about if you've been following my posts on another thread. The concept is simple, implementation not difficult.



    This is just too freakin' good! My brain's about to leap outta my skull!



    Prepare to be amazed. Floored would be more like it. Save up your money for something cool. Very cool!



    I know, easier said than done. Just got my natural gas bill. Yow! Time to double up on the black turtlenecks.
  • Reply 8 of 41
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Rolo

    I'll only say that the Robson thing is one of the keys to what I've been talking about if you've been following my posts on another thread. The concept is simple, implementation not difficult.



    This is just too freakin' good! My brain's about to leap outta my skull!



    Prepare to be amazed. Floored would be more like it. Save up your money for something cool. Very cool!



    I know, easier said than done. Just got my natural gas bill. Yow! Time to double up on the black turtlenecks.




    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ



    Still waiting for that ThinkSecret update...
  • Reply 9 of 41
    This would be a great way to differentiate the iBooks and Powerbooks, seeing as they're going to have to have close to the same level of CPU's inside.
  • Reply 10 of 41
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JeffDM

    At retail, laptop hard drives are pretty close to $1/GB now, flash is pretty close to $40/GB.



    With LaCie's Carte Orange, it's $18.75/GB on the 8GB model, if it is, in fact, a flash-based device. I have the silly thing and I can't tell if it is. There is no drive noise, and it doesn't even get room temp.



    http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10268
  • Reply 11 of 41
    macslutmacslut Posts: 514member
    You mean like the following, only substituting "Windows Vista" with "Macintosh":



    External memory devices



    Adding system memory (RAM) is often the best way to improve your PC's performance. More memory means more applications are ready to run without accessing the hard drive. However, upgrading memory is not always easy. You must learn what type of memory you need, purchase the memory, and open your computer to install the memory?which sometimes can invalidate your support agreement. Also, some machines have limited memory expansion capabilities, preventing you from adding RAM even if you are willing to do so.



    Windows Vista introduces a new concept in adding memory to a system. USB flash drives can be used as External Memory Devices (EMDs) to extend system memory and improve performance without opening the box. Your computer is able to access memory from an EMD device much more quickly than it can access data on the hard drive, boosting system performance. When combined with SuperFetch technology, this can help drive impressive improvement in system responsiveness.



    EMD technology is both reliable and secure. You can remove an EMD at any time without any loss of data or negative impact to the system; however, if you remove the EMD, your performance returns to the level you experienced without the device. Wear on the USB drive is not an issue when using it as an EMD. A unique algorithm optimizes wear patterns, so that a USB device can run as an EMD for many years, even when heavily used. Finally, data on the EMD is encrypted to help prevent inappropriate access to data when the device is removed.



    Hybrid Hard Drive



    A Hybrid Hard Drive is a new type of hard drive with an integrated non-volatile flash memory buffer. If your machine is equipped with a Hybrid Hard Drive, Windows Vista takes advantage of this hardware to boot, hibernate, and resume use more quickly. Hybrid Hard Drive technology can also improve system reliability and battery life.



    The hybrid drive is intended for mobile PCs running Windows Vista. Your data is written to the flash memory, which saves work for the mechanical hard drive?saving you battery power. The hybrid drive helps Windows Vista resume use faster from Sleep because data can be restored from flash memory faster than from the mechanical hard drive. And since the mechanical hard drive is not working when you are in Sleep state with the Hybrid Hard Drive, you have less risk of hardware problems with the hard drive when you're on the move. Windows Vista takes advantage of Hybrid Hard Drives to save battery life, resume use faster from hibernation, and improve reliability.
  • Reply 12 of 41
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,982member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by macslut

    You mean like the following, only substituting "Windows Vista" with "Macintosh":



    External memory devices



    Adding system memory (RAM) is often the best way to improve your PC's performance. More memory means more applications are ready to run without accessing the hard drive. However, upgrading memory is not always easy. You must learn what type of memory you need, purchase the memory, and open your computer to install the memory?which sometimes can invalidate your support agreement. Also, some machines have limited memory expansion capabilities, preventing you from adding RAM even if you are willing to do so.



    Windows Vista introduces a new concept in adding memory to a system. USB flash drives can be used as External Memory Devices (EMDs) to extend system memory and improve performance without opening the box. Your computer is able to access memory from an EMD device much more quickly than it can access data on the hard drive, boosting system performance. When combined with SuperFetch technology, this can help drive impressive improvement in system responsiveness.



    EMD technology is both reliable and secure. You can remove an EMD at any time without any loss of data or negative impact to the system; however, if you remove the EMD, your performance returns to the level you experienced without the device. Wear on the USB drive is not an issue when using it as an EMD. A unique algorithm optimizes wear patterns, so that a USB device can run as an EMD for many years, even when heavily used. Finally, data on the EMD is encrypted to help prevent inappropriate access to data when the device is removed.



    Hybrid Hard Drive



    A Hybrid Hard Drive is a new type of hard drive with an integrated non-volatile flash memory buffer. If your machine is equipped with a Hybrid Hard Drive, Windows Vista takes advantage of this hardware to boot, hibernate, and resume use more quickly. Hybrid Hard Drive technology can also improve system reliability and battery life.



    The hybrid drive is intended for mobile PCs running Windows Vista. Your data is written to the flash memory, which saves work for the mechanical hard drive?saving you battery power. The hybrid drive helps Windows Vista resume use faster from Sleep because data can be restored from flash memory faster than from the mechanical hard drive. And since the mechanical hard drive is not working when you are in Sleep state with the Hybrid Hard Drive, you have less risk of hardware problems with the hard drive when you're on the move. Windows Vista takes advantage of Hybrid Hard Drives to save battery life, resume use faster from hibernation, and improve reliability.




    Well, yeah.
  • Reply 13 of 41
    Wasn't there discussion a while back about a Mini for the living room, and a patent for streaming video "that never touches the hard drive"?



    Does NAND flash have any value there?
  • Reply 14 of 41
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by melgross

    This IS going to happen. I just depends on whether it will be Apple or someone else.



    ....




    I quite agree. This has been going to happen by Apple or someone else for nearly 30 years.
  • Reply 15 of 41
    bshortbshort Posts: 25member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Rolo

    I'll only say that the Robson thing is one of the keys to what I've been talking about if you've been following my posts on another thread. The concept is simple, implementation not difficult.



    This is just too freakin' good! My brain's about to leap outta my skull!



    Prepare to be amazed. Floored would be more like it. Save up your money for something cool. Very cool!



    I know, easier said than done. Just got my natural gas bill. Yow! Time to double up on the black turtlenecks.




    Yeah, conveniently enough, you were so vague in that other thread that you could claim that any new technology was what you were talking about. If you're going to spread completely fabricated rumors then you really need to work on your sell. It's too vague to be believable.
  • Reply 16 of 41
    The LaCie Carte Orange looks like a miniature hard drive device to me, 6mm thick and no noise to speak of ... remind anyone of an iPod?



    I for one am praying for the move away from platter drives. They fail too much. They break first on impact. They age. And they suffer from extreme cold and extreme heat way before the other components of a computer do. All this is simply because they have moving parts! Get those the hell out of my computer! I want it all solid state, with wi-max for the really big stuff.



    Apple are so much going to be at the vanguard of the switch from HDD. Their laptops and of course iPods are the first place it's going to happen. The living room PVR Mac won't be able to record for itself without a hefty standard hard drive for the time being, and the desktops will take a while to move in general. But NAND is getting there. I'd love to see the Xserve complete this move before the decade is out!! But I'll settle for the laptops first.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Unfiltered

    With LaCie's Carte Orange, it's $18.75/GB on the 8GB model, if it is, in fact, a flash-based device. I have the silly thing and I can't tell if it is. There is no drive noise, and it doesn't even get room temp.



    http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10268




    That's actually pretty neat, I didn't expect to see that, but it's not clear exactly what it uses. I don't see a latency rating that would suggest a Microdrive type or a write cycle rating that would suggest a flash type device. The thickness is consistent with CF II sized devices, thick enough to house and protect a CFII drive if that is what is in it.
  • Reply 18 of 41
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,982member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mr. Me

    I quite agree. This has been going to happen by Apple or someone else for nearly 30 years.



    That's cute, but not relevent.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,982member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fuyutsuki

    The LaCie Carte Orange looks like a miniature hard drive device to me, 6mm thick and no noise to speak of ... remind anyone of an iPod?



    I for one am praying for the move away from platter drives. They fail too much. They break first on impact. They age. And they suffer from extreme cold and extreme heat way before the other components of a computer do. All this is simply because they have moving parts! Get those the hell out of my computer! I want it all solid state, with wi-max for the really big stuff.



    Apple are so much going to be at the vanguard of the switch from HDD. Their laptops and of course iPods are the first place it's going to happen. The living room PVR Mac won't be able to record for itself without a hefty standard hard drive for the time being, and the desktops will take a while to move in general. But NAND is getting there. I'd love to see the Xserve complete this move before the decade is out!! But I'll settle for the laptops first.




    The first problem is that Flash, any kind, has a limited number of times it can be written to. It's one thing to use it for a camera, or even a music player, but as a replacement for a HD? Right now, that would be pushing it. To store a desktop of computer state is fine.



    The other problem is that the money adds up pretty quick. A 10 GB drive sounds neat. But when you're comparing it to a 500GB drive, it doesn't seem so neat anymore. The price gets out of hand pretty quickly.



    $18.75 per GB (if correct) looks good. Cut the price in four=$4.75,for volume, and multiply by 500. That gives us $2370.00. That's a bit rich for most people.



    As the price comes down, so does that of HD's. There will be a severe price premium for a long time to come. This hasn't been the first time that HD's were predicted to leave the scene because of some new technology.



    Anyone remember bubble memory?
  • Reply 20 of 41
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,982member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JeffDM

    That's actually pretty neat, I didn't expect to see that, but it's not clear exactly what it uses. I don't see a latency rating that would suggest a Microdrive type or a write cycle rating that would suggest a flash type device. The thickness is consistent with CF II sized devices, thick enough to house and protect a CFII drive if that is what is in it.



    Flash is also slow compared to HD's. I know that it doesn't sound right, it being solid state, and all. But it is.



    Look at the fastest NAND out there. SLOW!



    Remember how they rate the memory? By the number of times it is faster that a 1 speed CD reader. 1 speed = 150KB/S.



    The fastest flash out there now is 120 speed, for medium size chips. That's 18MB/S.



    As I said, slow.



    DRAM is MUCH faster. So are HD's. That's why we won't see NAND replace either RAM or HD's anytime soon if performance is an issue.
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