Solid-state NAND Flash hard drives inch closer to portable computers

“IM Flash Technologies is boosting the capacity of its NAND flash memory chips, pushing the chips another step closer toward being able to take a starring role in PCs,” John G. Spooner reports for eWeek. “The Intel-Micron Technology joint venture, based in Lehi, Utah, announced July 25 that it has begun sampling 4-gigabit NAND flash memory chips manufactured using a new, 50-nanometer process.”

“Higher data storage capacity or density, largely determined by the number of memory cells present in a standard-sized flash memory chip, allows manufacturers to make music players that can store more songs or cell phones that can take more pictures. But it’s also the key to creating reasonably affordable solid-state hard drives for use in notebook PCs, memory makers say,” Spooner reports. “The 50-nanometer manufacturing, which is scheduled to reach high volumes in 2007, will help to accelerate increases in NAND chip densities, speeding the arrival of chips with capacities as high as 16G bits. Previously, IMFT had been limited to producing 8G-bit chips. A 16G-bit chip can hold about 2GB of data each, while an 8G-bit chip holds about 1GB of data, Shirley said. Later, using even finer manufacturing technologies for a 35-nanometer process will again double NAND flash densities to 32G bits, allowing a single chip to hold 4GB of data.”

“Hybrid hard drives, which incorporate 64MB or 128MB of flash as a buffer for storing files, are expected to be produced by numerous drive makers and used widely in notebooks in 2007. The onboard memory is said to speed boot times and increase battery life by allowing a notebook to turn off its hard drive for long periods of time while operating on battery power,” Spooner reports. “Intel, too, has devised a flash-booster for notebooks, dubbed Robson Technology. Robson places a flash memory module on a notebook’s motherboard. It will be a feature of Santa Rosa, a new notebook chip platform due from Intel in the first half of 2007.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Samsung launches 32GB Flash disk in 1.8-inch form factor for portable computers – March 21, 2006
Intel demos NAND flash memory laptops – March 08, 2006
Flash memory poised to replace hard disk drives? – September 14, 2005

16 Comments

  1. I don’t know . . . maybe it’s just me . . . but that headline is as troublesome as Michael Jackson filling in as a crossing guard. I mean, my “hard” drive is certainly “solid”, but I’m not real comfortable with de “inch” and “portable” references. Know what I mean?

    Kind of makes me feel like Lance Bass in a women’s locker room.

    Come onnnn, I keed. I keed de long time gays who’ve just de-closeted. Speaking of which . . .

    “Hello. Paging Mr. Cruise. Paging a Mr. Tom Cruise. Your gayness is showing. Give Suri a decent life and come out with your palms open!”

    Yeh-heh-hehessssss . . .

  2. I say, anything that doesn’t have moving parts *COUGHEXISTINGHARDDRIVESCOUGH* is worth a shot. I’ve had more hard drive problems than I can remember. Nothing actually wrong with the content- just the physical disk itself.

    You’d think with a technology that everyone uses somewhere in their life, hard drives would be unbelievably reliable. Sadly, no. Not reliable enough.

    I think that if we can squeeze some decent size out of these chips (maybe with more than one chip strung together?), than I have two words:

    Flash Me! (not you MJ, sorry ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> )

  3. Thorin: “Uh, I think I read about Samsung putting out a flash memory “drive” in a notebook. It was exclusive to South Korea though.”

    —> Yep, beat me to it on that one – and its got 32GB to boot!

    On a related topic, there have also been changes to standard hard drive technologies. This is one of those cases where it is so obvious that you wonder why no one had thought of it before:

    Previous hard drives recorded bits like this (each dash is a bit): ———————– (horizontal recording)

    Newer drives are incorporating perpendicular recording: |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| (vertical recording = more info per square inch).

    Related article here:

    http://www.seagate.com/cda/newsinfo/newsroom/releases/article/0,,2949^,00.html

  4. ^^^ Just to clarify the horizontal or perpendicular recording is still done around (circular) the platter – no were not going back to tape storage. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  5. @ OzzysCross101: Maybe you should stop drop-kicking your HD around, or flinging it against the wall. My notebook HD has been unbelievably reliable for me. But then again i know it’s a delicate device and treat it with kid gloves. YMMV.

  6. It is shame ppl miss real possibility on this.

    Imagine carrying your portable workdrive that has a 250GB HD and a 64GB flash personality unit. After a long flight across the Atlantic you get your hotel room and plug said workdrive into the room’s microcomputer framework. The framework has a processor, monitor, keyboard, speakers, network connection and a mouse. When you plug in your portable workdrive OS X comes up because you 64GB personality unit is made by Apple and has iTunes as a flash updated option. So all ppl will need to compute in business and travel is their portable workdrives.

    I think the hybrid approach would be cool.

    Just my $0.02

  7. Why can’t we store all the data on the net and just carry essential stuff with us, then 32 GB would be absolutely enough for an OS+cache of my most-used documents.

    I could work offline, save my work and then it syncs up with the net on next chance. Not a solution for everyone, but most people to web+email+office documents on their notebooks, 32GB and some web-enhanced storage would be enough for these cases.

    Also the web would be acessible from any machine and provide a natural back up for you.

  8. “64GB flash personality unit’

    Does that mean I finally will have to get that

    Firewire port cranial installation procedure

    performed? Is it costly, painful? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue rolleye” style=”border:0;” />

  9. This is storage. Maybe it takes the place of a Hard Drive where ruggedness, power and size are primary concerns. It is NOT a Hard drive. It is Solid State. Hard Drives are mechanical. You are confusing Job Description with Technology.

    Anyone else out there remember when a Core Dump was a listing of what was in Core memory? Back in the 60’s and early 70’s, Core Memory was a Technology – we didn’t have Solid State Memory yet. 64K of Core was about the size of your skull and would crack your skull should the two meet – a sort of porous metal block consisting of lots of wires and ‘donuts’ that only the keenest eyes could distinguish without aid. Most of the Systems people who muck through “Core Dumps” today, seeking clues as to why the system crashed, have never seen a system that actually used “Core” – and most of those who have saw it in a museum.

    Let’s not do this again. Call it Flash Memory – or just Flash – if you want. Let the computer-ignorant call it their “hard drive”.

  10. if my sony memory stick has 1 GB on a chip that is ~3cm x 2cm x 1mm, and now they are making 2 GB versions, why couldn’t they just slap a whole bunch of those together and get about as many GB as notebook hard drive within that same space.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.