Flash memory poised to replace hard disk drives?

“Who would have thought a few years ago that flash memory chips would one day be poised to replace hard disk drives? But after Samsung Electronics announced it developed a 16 Gb flash memory chip, the product is poised to revolutionize everyday life,” The Chosun Ilbo reports. “The new 50 nanometer 16 Gb NAND flash memory was introduced on Monday, integrating 16.4 billion transistors on a chip the size of a thumbnail. By combining 16 of these, manufacturers get 32 Gb of flash memory that can store more than 32 hours of HD video files, 8,000 digital music files (670 hours), or 200 years of daily papers. Samsung is planning to start mass production later next year.”

“Products such as Apple’s iPod Nano MP3 player… rely on flash memory technology,” The Chosun Ilbo reports. “The fact that Samsung is already working on the development of 30 nanometer types with 32 Gb, 64 Gb, and 128 Gb suggests the sky is the limit for the technology.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Apple iPod nano 32GB possible in second half 2006? Samsung unveils new flash memory NAND chips – September 12, 2005


  1. So, um… what yer sayin’ is that technology seems to be making things like electronics smaller and cheaper, and current technology (CD, DVD, hard drives, etc.) will be replaced with something faster and with more capacity? Er… ummm… where’s the news in this?

    1 Terabyte Pocket Flash Drives
    Quad 64-bit CPU Mac mini
    Spoken User Interface

    This isn’t news, it’s just a matter of time.

    (…but MS Windows’ “save” icon will still be a floppy disk!)

  2. Yep, I checked, and Apple’s Calculator confirms this, but I decided to give my Sanyo calculator a go, and sure enough, it too says that 16 x 16 is 256…

    now, let’s see… if I divide 32 by 16, I come out with two… so, let’s see… I think that means that 2 16GB chips does work out to 8000 songs … unless Sony uses it, in which case, it would be their entire catalogue, right?


  3. Doesn’t FLASH have some limitations that an HD does not?

    For example:

    You can’t boot a Mac with a Nano, but you can boot from an iPOD in disk mode that has a copy of OSX on it

    The Nano can not be updated with firewire. Why? I suspect it is because the FLASH can’t handle the data rate.

    True? False?

    Personally, I think the HD still has a few years of life ahead of it before we see a non mechanical alternative replace it.

  4. You can’t start up a Mac with an iPod mini either, even though it has a hard drive. That is a limitation of the mini’s firmware.

    In the case of the nano, Macs don’t support starting up from USB. The nano only does USB, so it can’t boot a Mac.

    There is nothing inherent in flash RAM that would prevent a computer booting from it. Hell, Macs used to boot from floppies, for Pete’s sake…

    Magic word is “first”. Hah! The irony!

  5. Incorporating FireWire into the iPod nano requires a chipset, which means circuit board real estate. Given the size of the nano I bet they simply didn’t have room for the FireWire chipset. Given the choices, USB2.0 made more sense because it is more common to both Mac and PC. This wider implementation also means that the USB2.0 chipset is cheaper than FireWire.

    They make FireWire flash card readers/writers for CompactFalsh, etc. The data will transfer as fast as the media will allow. It has nothing to do with the maximum data rate that FireWire is capable of.

  6. with all these iPod updates..anyone ever wonder why
    Jonathan Ive has never said a peep regarding design and build? — I mean, it seems like eons since I last heard from him….and let’s not forget who the chief in command for all of Apple’s industrial designs is….Jonathan Ive.

    iPod’s are great and fun — but they are iPods…and not Powerbooks, G5 Tower, iMac G5’s — etc.

  7. The most exciting thing about this is the possible usage of combining RAM flash Memory and HD in a system to make the OS more effecient and speed up acceess of files.

    Solid state memory is MUCH faster than even the fastest hard drives, the problem has always been that solid state memory was size limitations. Having lots of fast access Flash storage would make writing large files so much faster, make the OS and programs load faster. It would even make the system more efficient by reducing the need to move data in and out of RAM. Mechanical HDs would be used for basic storage and archiving data. The OS could even move data between the two based on usage frequency.

    The possibilities are much more exciting and farther reaching than a simple music player.

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