Apple looks to use Intel’s Robson tech instead of Samsung’s hybrid flash technology for Macs

“Apple Computer has reportedly turned down an offer to incorporate new flash-enhanced hybrid hard drives from Samsung into its Mac computer line, likely proceeding with plans to use technology from Intel Corp. instead,” AppleInsider reports.

AppleInsider reports, “Like several other PC manufacturers, the Cupertino, Calif.-based Mac maker has been working on a next-generation notebook design that will incorporate NAND flash memory to enhance the speed of some operations while simultaneously delivering longer battery life. Apple, as AppleInsider reported this past September, is said to be working closely with Intel on the matter, leveraging a feature of the chipmaker’s upcoming Santa Rosa notebook platform dubbed Robson.”

“However, a report over at APC claims that somewhere along the way Apple was approached by Samsung, which pitched its own proprietary solution called flash-enhanced hybrid hard drive… ‘We did propose the HDD (hybrid disk drive) concept to Apple,’ said Chuck Kang, an engineer from Samsung’s the Flash Memory Planning Group, ‘but Apple’s opinion is that they’re not going to use HDD for their systems… they won’t support it.’ The report, rather speculatively, implies that Apple will instead introduce systems with Intel’s Robson technology “one year from the introduction” of its first Intel-based notebook, the MacBook Pro Core Duo,” AppleInsider reports.

Full article here.

Related article:
RUMOR: Apple to employ Intel’s ‘Robson’ NAND flash tech to create ‘instant-on’ Macs – November 22, 2005

20 Comments

  1. Question Guy…

    I just got a 2GB Lexar Professional 133x flash card one to replace a 1GB SanDisk Ultra II, which are only 60x, and there’s a big difference in download speeds. You’ll notice that write speeds are faster than “normal” cards, which helps save a bit of camera battery life.

    Also, get a FireWire or USB II card reader.
    Iogear makes a line of Pocket Card Readers, thumb drive size, that are quite compact and flexible.

    http://www.iogear.com/main.php?loc=product_category&category=usb

  2. Don’t expect Flash to completely replace your hard drive just yet. Flash has a limited number of write cycles, so eventually it just wears out with use. If it were used for seldom updated data such as system code or applications, fine, but if it’s used for your entire drive it will get hammered to death in a relatively short period of time. I certainly wouldn’t want a 100% Flash drive, not yet.

  3. “If Flash is sooooo fast… how come it takes 20+ minutes to unload my 2GB Nikon camera flash drive?”

    This might be do to the connection and not the drive(flash) itself. Also, it take me 2-3 minutes to unload a 4g San Disk(regular, not extreme) into Aperture(9600 video stock card).

  4. pjanders and ApplePi, I don’t see Flash actually replacing Hard Drives in the near future. Not for the vast majority of uses. Look at Mopheus‘ comment (tongue in cheek?) for an explanation ‘why’. GB on Flash still cost over $10 per while they are often under $1 per on a HDD. Thus “Hybrid”. Use expensive Flash to provide a few GB of storage for the ‘most-used’ stuff and as a buffer for the HDD and suddenly the HDD is spinning a lot less, using less energy, creating less heat, making less noise, and (the pair) responding faster – especially when waking up or launching.

    DLMeyer – the Voice of G.L.Horton’s Stage Page

  5. Hey Neil,
    Me and you
    Are subject to
    The blues now and then.

    Also, Samsung burned me years ago in a class action lawsuit for a sh!∏y DVD player. They never followed up, repaired or replaced, or cash valued it.

    It’s hard, but I try to avoid them.

    “DOWN WITH THE MAN!!!!”

    MW:choice, as in “Between Samsung and Intel, I choice Intel.” I know that ain’t right, but Darvoset® makes it better…

  6. It’s not just the port you use or the speed rating of the card that you use, either. Download speed also depends upon the camera that you are using. If you go to dpreview.com, they post the download speeds of many cameras.

  7. There has been a lot of disinformation about the use of Flash as a replacement for Hard Drives. Let me put this in context for you.

    The mean time to failure (MTF) of flash is usually given as 100,000 read/write cycles. This does NOT mean that reading a section of flash 100,000 times destroys is ability to work. On the contrary, a reading does not affect the integrity of the flash memory in any significant way. What DOES affect the flash drive is a write.

    Since flash is based on a common ferroelectric cyrstal phenomena called a dipole moment, Flash is nothing more than a collection of ferroelectric memory cells that exhibit a dipole moment change upon a write cycle.

    Now putting aside all the details, what this means to you as the consumer is simply you can only write to a given flash cell so many times. In fact, if you put the average life of a hard drive at 5 years, and the average number of days of use at 365 days per year, that means you would have to write to a given flash memory cell 55 times per day for it to fail.

    Now, my Mac on startup has a swap file of 64 MB. Lets throw that out the window and say that on any given system your computer writes its temporary files on a 1 GB section (assuming base-10). This is for ease of numbers, I could care less what the real number is. Now if you were to write to that 1 GB section 5*55 times per day, or 225 times (225 GB per day), you would lose 1 GB of your flash drive after 1 year. Assuming you had a 40 GB flash drive you would after 1 year lose 1GB of that, leaving you 39 GB functional. So, assuming you were to actually have a need to write to an entire 40 GB hard drive 225 times per day, or 9 TB per day of writing, you would then lose your HD after roughly 1 year. Of course by this time, you will have written a total of 3,285 TB of information.

    I think some of you lose sight over this magical 100,000 read/write cycles. Please note a cycle consists of a read AND a write. Reading a section of flash memory does not in any significant way degrade the information contained in a given flash memory cell. Writing to a flash cell IS a significant change of state of a flash memory cell and does contribute to the eventual degradation of the flash memory cell.

    I hope this helps clear up some common misconceptions regarding the use of flash memory over standard hard drives.

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