MacBook Air now uses PCIe flash, so will the workstation-class Mac Pro, but who’d Apple buy it from?

“Apple’s next iteration of its workstation-class Mac Pro will use PCIe flash memory, as will the new MacBook Air. Cupertino’s move towards flash memory could set a precedent other consumer manufacturers may follow,” Chris Mellor reports for The Register. “PCIe flash is closer to the system’s processors than SATA or SAS-connected SSDs, and thus data transfer is faster. The flash is likely to be expensive and there are several Thunderbolt ports [on the Mac Pro], so external disk drives could be used for bulk storage.”

Mellor reports, “The new MacBook Air also uses PCIe flash; it comes with either 128GB or 256GB of it. Anandtech describes a PCIe Gen 2 interface with sequential read/write performance of almost 800MB/sec. The report says it is a Samsung controller flash card – possibly a version of the 2-bit MLC 840 Pro – with SanDisk having a product for Apple as well. Tech-stripping websiteifixit dismantled a new MacBook Air and found: Samsung S4LN053X01-8030 (ARM) flash controller; 8 x Samsung K9LDGY8SIC-XCK0 16GB flash storage; 512MB of Samsung RAM.”

Mellor reports, “Apple is one of Fusion-io’s biggest customers for its PCIe card-format flash memory, but it looks like Fusion-io is not being used for MacBook Air PCIe flash – and possibly not for the Mac Pro flash either. If Fusion-io is supplying memory for the Mac Pro, that would be a great win for the flash firm… Fusion’s chief scientist is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak but we don’t know how much pull he has in Apple HQ right now. Probably not a lot. If Apple is not using Fusion-io flash in the Mac Pro then Fusion-io might rue the day it didn’t win that supply contest.”

Read more in the full article here.

11 Comments

  1. It’s truly annoying that no one can match Samsung on a quality and availability basis when it comes to matters such as these. I’m sure Apple would love to buy elsewhere, but their quality and volume needs limit them to Samsung alone.

    1. Samsung was never exclusive or even majority supplier for RAM and flash memory. Elpida, Toshiba, and others are always used, too.

      However, if Samsung has good quality and prices, then there is no sense to completely cut them off.

  2. I’d wager a guess and say that FusionIO sells a lot of their server-grade hardware to Apple for use in their various datacenters.
    From the numbers posted recently, Apple must be buying thousands of cards from them – they’d be nearly out of business otherwise I’m afraid.

  3. What I don’t understand: why doesn’t Apple buy a Flash making company to avoid buying from Samsung. Yes it might be costly and difficult to find the right one, but I never understood why Apple is so keen not to have own factories at least for such high profile items. I feel incredible sorry that a part of my money goes to Samsung when I buy an Apple product. They simply doesn’t deserve it, only Apple does.

    1. For the same reason that Tim Cook outsourced all the assembly to Foxcon et.al.
      Korean companies have traditionally been highly vertically integrated and rely less on 3rd-parties.
      It’s really a question of philosophy.
      Apple thinks, its strength lies in running a dev-shop, not a sweat-shop,

  4. So Goosung managed to infect even more systems. I think Apple should go as far as it needs, build its own Controllers if it have to just to get rid of Goosung.

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