Apple looks towards flash-enabled notebooks

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 74
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    I appreciate the effort, but FRAM is actually quite different from NAND Flash memory, so that quote doesn't really apply at all. Furthermore, while I merely skimmed through the paper, the terms "NAND" and "NOR" don't appear at all, and when they say "FLASH" (which they write in upper case for no good reason), it's unclear what type of it they refer to. Much of the information appears to have been written several years ago, whereas this market is one that develops very quickly.
  • Reply 42 of 74
    Bootup will be the main target. Because that can handle enough writes when installing OS'es over the say max 5 year lifespan of the machine. It would also handle the reads on bootup.



    Hibernate will be the secondary target but Apple Mac Sleep does that pretty well.



    I suggest we'll see this tech for Bootups introduced alongside Crapsta (Vista) and gain traction towards the end of 2007.



    Apple will use this towards the end of 2007 for superfast Bootups. Hell, 2GB Flash for Booting up the OS is more than enough. EFI on, Boot up off NAND, dump to OS kernel and processes, etc, into RAM, you're ready to rock. Yeah, maybe frequently used applications but that eats into the lifetime of the NAND so I'm keeping to OS installs as the write-functions we need to be concerned about at this stage.



    Other companies will have some inane obvious marketing name like "Insta-Boot" technology but Apple will quietly update their laptops with this feature, with a sexy name like (work with me here peoples):



    Wake

    Demand

    One

    On Demand

    Wakeup

    Start (heh. Windows "Start" menu)

    Abracadabra

    OpenSesame

    Steve

    Startup

    ClickStart

    SnapStart <--- okay this is the best one so far



    "Featuring the new MacBook 13" glossy widescreen with 1GB of RAM and SnapStart"
  • Reply 43 of 74
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    SnapStart seems a reasonably good name.
  • Reply 44 of 74
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland


    If nand on the motherboard makes things faster, then why wouldn't they be interested in doing it with the desktops too?



    Because many people never reboot desktops, or even put them in hibernation like laptops. My desktop is always available almost instantly, if I wait it's usually for the screen.



    And for apps, you can just add more ram and have the OS completely load them into ram and have the same thing, but better.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DHagan4755


    umm, how about Apple just worries about catching up to the competition and getting a notebook out the door with a Core2 Duo.



    They'd probably be more worried if their notebooks weren't flying off the shelves faster than they can make them already. It will happen one of these days, if you really need merom just wait for it.
  • Reply 45 of 74
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by palegolas


    The best would be to replace the harddrive completely with.. say, 8x8GB flash memories connected to act like one volume. And then you could have a free slot around the battery or something for insertion of secondary flash drive.



    In the future, when it is reliable enough.
  • Reply 46 of 74
    Honestly speaking on this issue, has anyone posting here heard about M-Systems IDE on Flash or even RAM modules which retains the memory even when the power is off. The Technology is not new I think. What I suspect here is that there would be a new form factor for this technology which would find themselves into laptops and desktops. The advantage would be the faster access time or some addressing innovation. Nuff said.
  • Reply 47 of 74
    I am not sure I have understood the whole thing.



    Is this a matter of hard disk technology only, or general update of motherboards, chipsets etc?



    If it is all about hard disk, everyone can buy one!
  • Reply 48 of 74
    Just FYI,



    I make my living in the NAND testing industry, and AFAIK, the write-cycle problem is getting WORSE, not better.



    The methods they are using to acheive increased NAND density (bigger for less $$$) are almost always connected with smaller program cycling life. (smaller litho, multi-bit cells)



    I've asked around, and even posed this question at one of these "developer conferences" and I have never heard a satisfying answer.



    Frankly, I am begining to suspect it is a case of planned obsolescence. \





    Oh, and NAND doesn't need to be re-written after every read. (DRAM, however, does work that way, as does FRAM, apparently). The cycles we are talking about are changing the data. Reading the same data is only subject to the devices data-retention span (which I beleive is spec'd around 10 years).



    So, for a digital camera, on a 1GB card, you can be taking a few 1000 pics a day for many years before having a problem. Having an OS swap virtual memory during normal use would burn through 100,000 cycles in no time.



    So, as mentioned above, this seems feasable for boot, and maybe even app/dll storage, but I still don't understand how the SSHDD (solid-state HDD, replaceing a mechanical HDD with NAND) will fly. It seems that OS's would have to be written with extensive planning to minimize the HDD writes.
  • Reply 49 of 74
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Transcendental Octothorpe


    Just FYI,



    I make my living in the NAND testing industry, and AFAIK, the write-cycle problem is getting WORSE, not better.



    The methods they are using to acheive increased NAND density (bigger for less $$$) are almost always connected with smaller program cycling life. (smaller litho, multi-bit cells)



    I've asked around, and even posed this question at one of these "developer conferences" and I have never heard a satisfying answer.



    Frankly, I am begining to suspect it is a case of planned obsolescence. \





    Oh, and NAND doesn't need to be re-written after every read. (DRAM, however, does work that way, as does FRAM, apparently). The cycles we are talking about are changing the data. Reading the same data is only subject to the devices data-retention span (which I beleive is spec'd around 10 years).



    So, for a digital camera, on a 1GB card, you can be taking a few 1000 pics a day for many years before having a problem. Having an OS swap virtual memory during normal use would burn through 100,000 cycles in no time.



    So, as mentioned above, this seems feasable for boot, and maybe even app/dll storage, but I still don't understand how the SSHDD (solid-state HDD, replaceing a mechanical HDD with NAND) will fly. It seems that OS's would have to be written with extensive planning to minimize the HDD writes.



    It won't work. Not yet.
  • Reply 50 of 74
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland


    If nand on the motherboard makes things faster, then why wouldn't they be interested in doing it with the desktops too?



    Desktops use faster drives so the gain is less notable and this is as much if not more about saving battery life than speed.
  • Reply 51 of 74
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by a_greer


    Desktops use faster drives so the gain is less notable and this is as much if not more about saving battery life than speed.



    That's right. NAND is slower than laptop drives, but MUCH slower than desktop drives.



    Battery power is a major consideration.



    But the Samsung technology, when available, will make desktop use far more feasable.
  • Reply 52 of 74
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunilraman


    Other companies will have some inane obvious marketing name like "Insta-Boot" technology but Apple will quietly update their laptops with this feature, with a sexy name like (work with me here peoples):



    Wake

    Demand

    One

    On Demand

    Wakeup

    Start (heh. Windows "Start" menu)

    Abracadabra

    OpenSesame

    Steve

    Startup

    ClickStart

    SnapStart <--- okay this is the best one so far



    "Featuring the new MacBook 13" glossy widescreen with 1GB of RAM and SnapStart"



    Perhaps Apple's partnership with Nike will take it to the next level: "Just Use It"
  • Reply 53 of 74
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by a_greer


    Desktops use faster drives so the gain is less notable and this is as much if not more about saving battery life than speed.



    This is mainly for booting up. Faster drive or not, the hard drive still has to start rotation and then actually seek the data. Flash drives do not move, so it just seeks, cutting down the time.
  • Reply 54 of 74
    How fast are NAND flash memory in terms of access speed? Compared to RAMs I mean... I'm thinking... one of the big advantages of going to a 64bit system is the availbility of truly stupendously large memory addresses. At the moment, getting more then a few gigs of ram is not viable in terms of cost. If these flash memories can provide the same level of access speed, couldnt NANDs effectively replace rams? If so, the NAND enabled systems would go hand in hand with a 64bit system... me thinks...



    J
  • Reply 55 of 74
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DuckofPrey


    How fast are NAND flash memory in terms of access speed? Compared to RAMs I mean... I'm thinking... one of the big advantages of going to a 64bit system is the availbility of truly stupendously large memory addresses. At the moment, getting more then a few gigs of ram is not viable in terms of cost. If these flash memories can provide the same level of access speed, couldnt NANDs effectively replace rams? If so, the NAND enabled systems would go hand in hand with a 64bit system... me thinks...



    NAND cannot replace RAM, not with anything like what is available now. It's considerably slower, and the problems with rewrites with flash drives gets WORSE with RAM because memory gets rewritten very often. I am not certain, but NAND might require you to rewrite in large chunks of memory, RAM lets you change much smaller chunks, like a few bytes rather than a few kilobytes.
  • Reply 56 of 74
    i saw a review of a flash based harddrive, and it was incredibly fast in real world use, even though the actual throughput wasn't faster than a fast HD. the reason was that the seek times are like 0.02 ms instead of 10 ms. this makes a ton of operations that happen on the machine all the act much more instantaneous. any application that makes a lot of reads and writes to files will be seriously boosted. I'm not sure what apps those would be...



    this is it.. btw, this will just work in a lappy.



    http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/09/...ve_obsoletism/
  • Reply 57 of 74
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lust


    This is mainly for booting up. Faster drive or not, the hard drive still has to start rotation and then actually seek the data. Flash drives do not move, so it just seeks, cutting down the time.



    Drives in desktops often continue to rotate. Laptops have power considerations that desktops don't.
  • Reply 58 of 74
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freakboy


    i saw a review of a flash based harddrive, and it was incredibly fast in real world use, even though the actual throughput wasn't faster than a fast HD. the reason was that the seek times are like 0.02 ms instead of 10 ms. this makes a ton of operations that happen on the machine all the act much more instantaneous. any application that makes a lot of reads and writes to files will be seriously boosted. I'm not sure what apps those would be...



    It depends on what you are doing. If use use a database where you have many small files, then you will benefit fron reduced seek times, if available. But when using larger files, the seek times become less important, as long as you have enough room on your drive so that most files are not severely fragmented.



    Most drives these days have seek times in the low milliseconds, so, even there, seek times aren't usually much of a problem.



    The computer spends most of its time waiting for input from us. Most of the time, the file is found as soon as your finger is lifted from the key that selected it.



    Reading the data from the drive can take an order of magnitude longer than finding it. And, that's if it's a small file. a long file can take several orders of magnitude longer.
  • Reply 59 of 74
    sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    A thought came while I was jogging today. This technology could go into desktops within the next few years as NAND capacity and price drops.



    For example, you could have a generic motherboard, and a PCIExpress expansion card that has an array of slots for NAND chips, much like slots for RAM.



    The key is to view the NAND as a consumable, in the sense of somewhere between a DVDR and a Hard Disk.



    The NAND Drive Array Manager would be essential for SnapStart(tm) of, well, whatever you choose. Booting Windows, firstly. Next, for example, your favourite applications. Then, for PC Gamers, their favourite games. Starting a game and level load times will be TehUltraSnappy(tm).



    The first key is to have the NAND Drive Array Manager as an expansion card to slot into the machine, allowing you to add NAND modules as needed, and remove it as needed when the write cycles are consumed. Yes, as you may have thought, the second key is for the NAND Drive Array Manager software to report on read and write cycles left (in a sexy Aqua-esque usage bar thingy) so you as a power user or desktop support/ deployment IT dude can tailor your NAND Drive Array usage accordingly.



    Budget enthusiasts and mid-size enterprise would use say 2GB to 4GB to have Windows and most used apps on NAND with mostly-read operations only once the initial install of Windows and apps are done. Adding apps to the NAND shouldn't be too painful. The key is that Windows and the apps use the hard disk and RAM for memory access and swapping, not the NAND. In this case the NAND modules need not be changed in less than 2 years if at all.



    Harder enthusiasts and maybe mid-to-high-size enterprises would use bigger blocks on the NAND Drive Array, say an 8 x 2GB array - in this case, the Gamers would have their favourite games loaded up on the NAND, and the enterprise could have major file servers serving stuff off the NAND rather than hard disk. In this case, managing the usage (consumption) of NAND modules would be monitored and considered carefully, a balance of cost of modules, speed of loading stuff, and how frequently you can add and change stuff on the NAND modules.



    Intel has pioneered this with Santa Rosa, but I think there are many an American and/or Taiwan and/or Korean company that can get a foot in the door - there are many applications for the consumer through to the high-level enterprise markets. The keys are:



    1. Flexible modular addition of NAND modules

    2. High capacity per cost of NAND modules

    3a. Highly flexible and usable software management of NAND Drive Array

    3b. Highly accurate reporting on write and read cycles left for each NAND module

    4. Improvements in write and read cycle capacity of NAND modules

    5. Load-into-RAM speeds far ahead of the desk/laptop hard disk speed growth curve

    6. Adoption of hard disk RAID configurations applied to NAND modules

    7. High-speed channel of NAND Drive Array to Motherboard BUS.

    Remember this channel can be asynchronous as READS are more important.



    Just to reiterate, the insight I want to add is to say, let's not futz around arguing about how fast and how long NAND modules last. The key is a system of hardware and software that allows modular expandability and close monitoring and management of how the NAND is performing and how the NAND is consumed . This system should also be scalable as NAND technology marches on.



    .........................

    .........................
  • Reply 60 of 74
    lustlust Posts: 83member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross


    Drives in desktops often continue to rotate. Laptops have power considerations that desktops don't.



    Continue to rotate when the power is *off*? I said booting up not waking up.
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