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.

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

17 Comments

  1. The memory people “need” is a moving target.

    By the time flash memory gets cost effective in the 80-100 GB range (what many people expect now in a business laptop) people will be expecting 200+ GB. Thus hard drives will rule the high end for many, many years to come.

    Apple has just shown (and Samsung’s announcement just supports) that for less than 5 GB hard drives are no longer the only cost effective solution. Is the cost of 4 GB of flash memory more than a 4 GB hard drive? Absolutely. However, it is close enough for mass production for Apple to do the iPod nano. Will we see a 60 GB iPod using 100% solid state memory within the next five years? I would be extremely surprised if we did.

    People are not worried about the limit on the number of rewrites on their flash devices unless they are trying to use flash as if it were just a non volitile version of DRAM. People don’t change the contents of their iPods on an hourly basis (or even a daily basis for most users). The batteries will wear out before the flash chips will.

    The issue really is cost. It is physically possible to do a 60 GB version of the iPod in totally solid state memory even today. However, no one will pay $4,000 for a solid state iPod with that much memory.

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