back to article Apple MacBook Airs to get new, superfast 19nm Flash

Apple's revised MacBook Air notebook is set to get a speed boost by using very fast and very small new flash memory chips from Toshiba. According to a story in Japan's Macotakara site, Apple is set to use flash built on a 19nm process and transferring data at 400Mbit/s using the Toggle DDR2.0 interface. There is only one …

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Facepalm

Not thinking in binary today?

Going from 2-bit to 3-bit doubles the density , not increases it by 150%! (each cell has 8 states instead of 4). Unless I am being particularly stupid this evening.

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No, you're being particularly stupid.

You don't measure the capacity of a disk in terms of the biggest number it can store, you count how many bits or bytes it has. 3 bits per cell vs 2 bits per cell is 50% more in the same space.

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Facepalm

Ah yes. Of course.

Too late in the evening here.

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Anonymous Coward

With these components

It will be the best netbook in the universe !

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Happy

Well....

Depends what the alien overlords that seeded the planet millions of years ago, are using at present!

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Hmm...

400MBit/s doesn't sound too fast, especially on a parallel interface like DDR2. It's probably 400 MegaBYTE per second, isn't it?

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it is probably 400MBit/s

Each flash chip would have this 400MBit interface. The flash controller might access say 8 flash chips in parallel to get say 400MByte/s.

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Happy

Re: Getting one of these

>>Any comparable PC laptop would be worth very little in a year or so compared to this.

What do you mean by comparable? do you mean similar spec?

Let's assume (the current) entry-level MacBook Air (£900);

11" screen, 1.4Ghz CoreDuo, 2Gb RAM, GeForce 320, 64Gb SSD

- Faster proc, less RAM, slower GFX, very fast small capacity SSD

Compare it with a (say) Dell/Alienware entry level machine (£500);

11" screen, 1.3Ghz CoreDuo, 4Gb RAM, GeForce GT335, 500Gb HD

- Slower proc, more RAM, Faster GFX, slower large capacity HD

So, after a year the MBA will be worth about £650 and the Dell will be worth £300, or put it another way, you've lost £250 on the MBA and £200 on the Dell (although you saved £400 on the Dell, so still £350 up).

Yes, buying something which is more expensive (and maybe better quality) will depreciate slower (a porchse 997 compared to a peugeot 307), depends if it does the job then unless you have money to burn, why not have something that just does the job?

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Anonymous Coward

Why have something that just does the job...

when you can have more? It's horses for courses. Why do you wear Levi jeans and not Primark? Why have a VW Polo when you can have a Skodia Fabia, it basically the same car? There is of course a samll but significant elephant that you miss; portability. The Air weighs 1kg and is wafer thin while the Dell is twice as heavy and much thicker too. This may not mean much to you, but it is relevant to quite a few. You'll be lucky, BTW, to get a Macbook Air for £650 after a year or have a Dell depreciate by only 40% of it initial value.

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FAIL

Reason being....

"You'll be lucky, BTW, to get a Macbook Air for £650 after a year or have a Dell depreciate by only 40% of it initial value."

The reason? Line-up refreshes. In one year, you may get a speed bump (proc/ram) or a HDD size upgrade for the MBA/MBP line-up. In six months, the Dell, et al, laptop will have gone through 2 revisions, and in a year it will be shipping with the next-gen CPU (Ivy Bridge in this case). Who would want to shell out £350 for a second-rate, old-tech PC laptop when you could drop another £500 for the New Shiney, and still be barely more expensive than the original purchasing cost of that MBA? Granted, if you're speaking portability, the MBA does get around fairly easily, but there are PC counterparts to that. The point is more along the lines of why you can still get a last-year's MacBook for a high price: you can't get anything (much) better now. They just don't move that fast. Hence why the MBA was using a slow, underclocked ultra-low voltage Core2Duo (for three years) up until their SNB refresh a couple months ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Deprecation

If they both depreciate at the same dollar value rate, you might as well buy the Mac unless you are living paycheck to paycheck and need that initial ~$250 difference in cash. (Or you are counting on your laptop being stolen.)

Having gone from a PC to an 11.6" MBA, I will say that I appreciate the Apple differences more than expected. It might not have as much RAM etc. but the unibody Al construction is great for just grabbing it by a corner, the charger makes plugging it in that much faster, the giant glass trackpad is a pleasure to use, and the size and weight difference is extremely noticeable. (With a laptop this small and light, I am constantly holding it with one palm or balancing it on one knee when it makes for more comfortable reading, or handing it to friends to look at web pages or whatever, etc.)

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Linux

Except...

Except it is not really more. It's more about hype and conspicuous consumption more than anything else. You just want to show the world you've got money to burn.

I don't care about first year depreciation on computers or cars because I expect to keep and use both for long enough that neither has any "trade in value".

That's one thing that you can do when you "buy quality". You spend less over the long haul and the fact that you throw less stuff into landfills is just a nice hippie bonus.

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Anonymous Coward

The leaves Dell out

"why not have something that just does the job?"

So that leaves Dell out.

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WTF?

Err, what?

Not a comparable pair

one ultraportable thin laptop versus one mongrel dell gaming machine*. you may as well compare the air with some cheap and cheerful EEE netbook or something that only weighs a kilo.

cost is likewise irrelevant : buy to task, and if you'rte too dim or too peer pressured to do that, get whicher makes you happier and stop crying about depreciation : its hardware; its the same as a car. you pull it out of the wrapped or drive it off the forecourt, it suddenly loses 40%. big whup.

*im not getting into how asinine gaming laptops are.

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Trollface

You can't compare this with a Windows PC

No question, it's a nice piece of hardware. But FFS, you have to use MacOS. It's so rubbish hardly anyone could be bothered writing software for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Would love one but..

No usb and no ethernet are both deal breakers. I'd also rather see an Arm processor in there.

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Stop

Look at the photo

Right hand image, second port in. It's a USB.

Can't help you on the Ethernet though. And while ARM might be a nice idea, it'll be some time before ARM can get close to the current crop of mobile Intel chips in terms of power. It's not like the Air has a poor battery life either.

I'd love one of these, but can't think of any decent reason/excuse for having one. Oh well.

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Headmaster

No USB?

Did you mean USB3? My Air has 2 USB 2.0 ports...

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Anonymous Coward

Right

Sorry, yeah, meant USB 3. Add in lack of HDMI as well :) Ridiculously overpriced add-on adapter cables need not apply.

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Anonymous Coward

Mini displayport to HDMI

The cable is only $6.50 on Monoprice. I would shell out for the Apple USB<->Ethernet adapter though since it doesn't cost that much more than the competition and it's way smaller (and better looking).

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Linux

A usb NIC dongle?

Besides being just plain ugly and not terribly portable, it's just plain slow.

A proper GigE card is one of the better interfaces for moving around lots of bulk. If you've got disks that are screamers, then you need interfaces to match. eSATA would also be handy.

USB anything holds out the slimmest prospects for keeping up with a really speedy SSD.

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Anonymous Coward

Slow?

1) Check out the Apple USB<->Ethernet adapter. It looks pretty small and sleek to me.

2) USB 2.0 can sustain 20 MB/s which is waaaaay more than enough for Internet use. My premium cable Internet service rarely goes above 1 MB/s.

I don't know why you need to move so much data around, but you might entertain the possibility that a 2.3 lb ultraportable with a small SSD is not intended for that task.

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Coat

Is this how they make them thin?

24nm - 19nm = 5nm less. So it must be thinner?

I'll get me coat. Its very lightweight.

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Go

@Zef et al

USB 3, 2. Gb ethernet. Try looking up the specifications on the Thunderbolt interface (Intel Light Peak) http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm?wapkw=%28thunderbolt%29 and then argue about peripherals as this will do all that and run and external, beyond HD monitor.

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Devil

Gold plated latinum cables

Yeah, thunderbolt sounds impressive and all except for the $50 cables.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh I see

That's awesome. So can I use it? What's that? No devices? Ah, well that sucks.

1) When I drop 1k on a netbook I _insist_ on a minimum set of features. Usb, ethernet, hdmi out are some of these features.

2) Thunderbolt is nice and all but there's no devices for it. End of story.

3) Dropping 1k on a netbook and then being asked to spend 50 pounds on an adapter just so you can use USB or ethernet is frigging bullshit. See 1).

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Anonymous Coward

HDMI etc.

DisplayPort -> HDMI cable: $7

Apple's USB<->Ethernet adapter: $29

Problem(s) solved?

How often do people even use Ethernet these days anyway? Are you in one of the east Asian countries where the use of Wifi is legally restricted? You could make the same argument about an optical drive. You might need one occasionally, so an expensive laptop should include one. But there's an obvious form factor problem there. Well, there's a form factor problem with adding ANY more ports to the 11.6" MacBook Air. Look at the teardown photos--the front 70% of the computer is taken up by batteries, and it may be too thin to house any ports anyway.

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Linux

When would you not take advantage of the better option?

> How often do people even use Ethernet these days anyway?

When ever it's available.

If your device is not lame and intentionally crippled, why not take advantage of a Gigabit connection? You would have to be some sort of stupid fundie type person not to.

Using the best technology available and the highest quality components. Imagine that?

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FAIL

erm no

Why would you need a Gigabit connection all the time? Do you walk into Starbucks and suddenly start craving gigabit speeds to check your email?

Do you have a WAN connection capable of matching it's speed? (I'd bet money that you don't). In which case you must be obsessed with transferring large files around a local network? In which case why would you be interested in a MacBook Air?

> If your device is not lame and intentionally crippled, why not take advantage of a Gigabit connection? You would have to be some sort of stupid fundie type person not to.

Do you really notice a difference connected by 1000Mb/s or 100Mb/s for most tasks you do online? You word that as though your likely less than 50Mb/s Internet connection is suddenly faster over gig?

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Thumb Up

how often to people use Ethernet on a ultra mobile laptop

I have owned dozens of laptops and the MBA 2010 is by far the best laptop I have ever owned. I have never connected any laptop to Ethernet so don't miss it at all. The 3x3 Wifi N with dual band is super fast, always delivers well over 100MB actual throughput so why would I want to plug into a cable. Surely the whole point of a ultra mobile is to untether yourself from the cables in the first place. With the 7 hour + battery life I charge once and easily go the whole day without any cables at all. The only complaint about the current models are:

-Slow CPU, which will be fixed in the new model

-Lack of a an add on battery for long flights. When I travel 20+ hours I really would like to be able to take a battery slice type add on with me. Other than that it is perfect.

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Linux

Silly fanboy excuses.

Yes. For many things I can and do notice the difference in network speed.

It's really easy to do if you bother to push the technology and try to get the most out of it.

Wireless is slow, unreliable, and insecure. With the exception of a marginal bit of convenience, it is clearly inferior to wired networking in every way.

Not everyone has a 80s approach to computing.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Silly fanboy excuses.

No, tired strawman. Resorting to name calling really just shows that you point is either wrong or at best (like in this case) entirely moot. It also show your true colours; a troll.

"Not everyone has a 80s approach to computing." Oh do fuck off.

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Horses for courses

Put the handbags away people.

I am the very opposite of a Mac fanboy. I hate many of their products, hardware and software, but at the same time there are a few that are very good.

The MBA is one of them. The negative point with the current model is of course the slow CPU which will be fixed with the Sandy Bridge update. For its intended niche it does the job admirably

Regarding the wireless vs. wired debate, I can see the point of having ethernet, but only in situations where I want to transfer a LOT of stuff over in one bang and these machines simply aren't really intended for that. They have very little storage anyway and for whatever you want to transfer the wireless-n is just fine. It is in every conceivable situation faster than your broadband connection anyway, so...

Gigabit ethernet in this situation is just not required.

I will be getting one of these when the refresh comes out and putting Win7 on it simply because I love the hardware itself (can't stand MacOS).

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