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Intel's Robson controller will bring NAND to notebook motherboards. SnowGrass is the exact same technology but for desktops - Courtesy AnandTech
Solid-state storage finally comes into mass production; although prices are still sky-high

Last week at IDF, we reported that Intel's next major mobile platform, called Santa Rosa, will feature NAND flash memory technology in order to allow devices to startup and execute programs. This technology, dubbed Robson, will improve boot times, reduce paging and be used as a general buffer between storage devices and system memory. 

Interestingly, Intel also mentioned that Robson will have a version for desktop computers called Snowgrass. The technology is currently in the works and is planned to be released after Robson. Motherboard makers will have designs that contain a slot designed to take a Snowgrass NAND module. This opens the door for users to customize their motherboards with various sizes of modules for whatever purposes they choose, and also allows the ability to upgrade NAND as it gets less and less expensive.  Remember when L2 cache used to sit on the motherboard?

Intel's current Snowgrass specification calls for a modular design, but it now appears that motherboard makers have the option of integrating the technology directly on board. There is no word yet on capacities, but for Snowgrass or Robson to really have any value over the purchase of a faster hard drive, we would have to speculate that the cost of such a module cost less than a few gigabytes of system memory.  We would not be surprised if Robson and Snowgrass have similar price  points and capacities as USB NAND at the time of launch.  Today, 4GB pen drives using NAND flash memory cost approximately $100.

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Somewhat skeptical
By segagenesis on 3/13/2006 10:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
Last I checked flash memory was still slower transfer speed wise than a good hard drive... so unless this is faster than your existing disk in the computer I'm at a loss to see this giving a large performance boost.

I commend the idea at least in concept... as I do remember COAST sticks on Pentium boards!

RE: Somewhat skeptical
By Zanfib on 3/14/2006 12:42:26 AM , Rating: 2
You're right transfer speed wise but in terms of response time it could be a fair amount quicker, drives take several ms to move the head and then wait for the start of the track (the reason why at 10,000 or 15,000 rpm drives are faster--reading/writing can start sooner), whereas solid-state storage can access it in nanoseconds.

RE: Somewhat skeptical
By ATWindsor on 3/14/2006 3:11:37 AM , Rating: 2
But you can create a kind of "internal raid" and get high transfer speed on the whole unit.

Personally i hope they release a harddrive based on flash at a reasonable price, and size (at least 16 GB), the lower acces time will improve performance in windows and key apps, and it will be very quiet.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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